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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are specialist Driving Offence Solicitors and experts in Convicted In Absence cases. Call our team of expert motoring solicitors for some free initial advice.

If you have been convicted as a result of a mistake or you did not know about the case against you, we can arrange for the case to be reopened. Having the case reopened is not the same as an appeal but using this method we can effectively start again and prepare the case for you. This is only worth doing if you actually want to defend the charge against you or improve the sentence that was passed by the court first time around.

There are two methods of re-opening your case in the Magistrates’ Court. The first is where the case ought to be re-opened in the “interests of justice” due to a mistake or error and the second by making  a statutory declaration to confirm that you knew nothing about the court proceedings.

1. Reopening the case at the Magistrates’ Court in the interests of justice

This route is most commonly used where an offender believes the sentence or conviction they have received is invalid or mistaken. It is a power the Court have to rectify and amend errors or mistakes.

Some examples of cases we have reopened using this strategy are:

The court will only re-open a case if it is found to be “in the interests of justice”. There is no strict definition of this and the court will look at a number of factors such as why the mistake was made, whether there are any more appropriate appeal routes, the impact this will have on any victim or other party and whether there is any delay in the application to reopen the case being made.

To re-open a case a formal application must be made to the Magistrates’ Court that convicted you. Although there is no strict time frame for making the application it is recommended that this is made within 28 days of the conviction. The court will normally list the matter for a hearing and an oral application will be made. If the court agree to re-open the case, in the case of a guilty plea, the sentencing will most likely take place at the same time. Therefore, it is essential that all preparations for this are done in advance and the best possible arguments can be put forward to obtain an improved result.

2. Statutory declarations

A statutory declaration is a formal application to the court to have a case re-opened where you knew nothing about the prosecution. The most common example of this is where a person is stopped for a motoring offence and some months later they are summonsed to attend Court but they do not receive the Court summons. In this situation you would be completely unaware of the court proceedings until the conviction and sentence letter is received some days later.

Unlike the re-opening of a case above, there is a strict time period to make a statutory declaration and a form to complete for the court.

The following criteria must be met for the declaration to be successful:

  • the case started with a summons or requisition;
  • the defendant did not know about the case; and
  • not more than 21 days after finding out about it (which time limit can be extended) the defendant delivers to the court a statutory declaration that he or she did not know about the case until after the trial.

Your declaration can be made before anyone who is authorised in law to hear it (for example, a solicitor), or before any Court. We always recommend that you make the application at Court if you are able to as it will normally speed the process along. The person who hears the declaration does not have to enquire into the truth of it. Their function is purely to hear the declaration, and certify that you have done so by signing it. If the declaration turns out to be untrue, you may be punished for committing perjury and so it is essential that you must only make this when you knew nothing about the court hearing.

We can assist whether you just want us to hear and sign the statutory declaration or you would like us to deal with the whole matter (from first hearing to trial or for sentence only). Once the declaration has been made, the conviction will be quashed and the case will be sent back to the Police or Crown Prosecution Service for them to issue a new court summons or postal requisition. However, some Courts have been known to quash the conviction but re-list the matter straight away rather than insisting the case is started again from scratch.

There is no time limit for the Police or Crown to reissue the Court summons or requisition and it could take a number of months before it is back before the court.

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Not Sure What to Do About Being Convicted In Absence?

Most people who get in touch with our team of motor offence expert solicitors are uncertain of their options. They are unaware of any legal defences that may be available and find it difficult to believe that it might be possible to defend the drink driving offence charge they face by using loopholes that apply to the rich and famous! We do represent celebrities but we also represent many hardworking motorists like Brian and we want to help you make the right choice about what you do next.

We are always more than happy to chat things through with potential clients Free of Charge. Call us now on Freephone 0800 1389 123 to speak to one of our specialist motoring offence solicitors. It is only once you decide to instruct us that payment will become necessary and we can often arrange installment plans to assist you. Many satisfied clients have thanked us for offering this free consultation service as it has prevented them from following inaccurate non-expert advice which could have led to them accepting a driving ban unnecessarily.

If you would like to spend more time browsing on the site before you get in touch, make sure you have a look at our specialist motor offence guidance features such as our drink driving ban calculator which will help you to determine the penalty you may face if convicted and our money saving calculator which helps to outline some of the hidden costs of accepting a conviction.

We think we are simply the best in the business but if you are not satisfied in taking our word for it, our unique “ask our clients” testimonials scheme allows you to contact previous clients of the firm to seek a completely independent reference about us and what we might be able to do for you.

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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are specialists defending drivers nationwide for all types of driving offences. Call our team of expert driving offence solicitors for some free initial advice.


Still not sure if you should instruct us to help you?

Try our Interactive Testimonial Scheme - “Ref Me” is a voluntary scheme we ask satisfied clients to participate in. Where you see the “Ask Our Clients” form, you can send an email to a previous client of the firm and ask them any question(s) you like about us.

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