It is an offence to use a mobile phone whilst driving, even if the vehicle is stationary and the engine is running. Using a mobile phone can constitute making or receiving phone calls, reading or sending texts or email, and even using internet data on the phone. This offence carries 6 penalty points and a fine of to £1000. However, the fine could be up to £2500 if you are driving a goods vehicle adapted to carry 8 or more passengers. In the alternate, the court has the discretion to give a short ban in isolation for the offence. This may be a preferred option where you are a new driver and are at risk of a driving revocation or where you are in fact at risk of facing a ban under the totting up provisions. If so, it is important that you give us a call so that we can discuss these options with you.
If at the time of the offending your manner of driving is affected, you could also or instead be prosecuted for a more onerous offence of careless driving.
You can be prosecuted for this offence as a passenger if you are using a mobile phone whilst supervising a learner driver.
You can also be prosecuted for this offence as an employer if you are allowing or expecting your employees to use their mobile phone whilst driving.
Hands free devices such as an in car blue tooth system to make or receive calls are permitted for use under the law provided you do not actually hold the mobile phone. However, if the use of this affects your manner of driving, you can still be prosecuted for the offence. The same principle applies to Satnav systems the use of which too is permitted under the law.
You may have a defence in the following circumstances:
· You were not in fact using a mobile phone – ‘Using’ is broadly defined under the law and should constitute an interactive communication function;
· You were not driving at the time of use; or
· You were using a mobile phone to make a genuine emergency call and it was unsafe or impractical to stop
The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were in fact using your mobile phone whilst driving. However through cross examination, if we can cast any doubt in this regard for example by showing that the officers may have been mistaken in what their claim to have witnessed or that you were not in fact ‘using’ your mobile phone then, you should be found not guilty of the offence.
If you are facing prosecution for a mobile phone offence, it is vital that you make contact with us to establish if you have a defence. We have a vast amount of experience in this area. We are confident, if you seek our representation where you have a valid defence, you will be found not guilty.
Call our Motoring solicitors for a free consultation on 0800 644 1544
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