Convicted in your absence
Convicted in your absence
If this has happened to you, do not despair, but act quickly.
If you have received a notice of a conviction and sentence from the magistrates for an offence you knew nothing about you will be quite rightly extremely concerned. Particularly, if you have been disqualified in your absence which is unusual but not unknown.
Don’t worry a minute longer call one of our specialist solicitors who will be able to advise you on your next steps and if instructed, they will be able to help you every step of the way to get your case re-opened or appealed so that
you can get your licence back or the sentence reduced or set aside completely.
What is a Statutory Declaration?
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 did 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.
Reopening the case at the Magistrates' Court in the interests of justice
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
- Whether there is any delay in the application to reopen the case being
How do I get my case re-opened?
To re-open a case a formal application must be made to the Magistrates’ Court that convicted you. Although there is no strict time limit for making the application it is recommended that this is made within 28 days of the conviction.
As soon as you become aware that a mistake has been made you should make an application as a matter of urgency. The less delay in making an application under Section 142 the more likely it is to be successful.
If you wish to request the Magistrates to use their powers under Section 142 to re-open your case you will need to speak to the Court Listings Department so that you can attend Court and make an application.
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.
What can I do if the court refuse to reopen my case?
If you are unsuccessful then your only option is to appeal to the Crown Court. There is normally a strict time limit of 21 days but you may appeal outside this time limit if you have a good reason and apply for leave to appeal out of time.
What is the criteria for making a successful statutory declaration?
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 (in which case the 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.
How can I make a statutory declaration?
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
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).
What happens after I have successfully made my statutory declaration?
Once the declaration has been made, the conviction and sentence will be set aside. The case should start from scratch and the summons should be re-issued.
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. This is the most common route.
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.
Unsure what to do next?
Many of our clients when they first call us are unsure of their options and are extremely anxious about the outcome. They are unaware of any legal defences that may be available and find it difficult to believe that it might be possible to defend offence they face by using loopholes.
We are always more than happy to chat things through with potential clients Free of Charge. Call us now on Freephone 08000 55 66 31 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.
We are not the only specialist motoring lawyers but we offer the best advice and support but dont take our word for it have a look at our testimonials
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were fantastic. From the first telephone conversation where I enquired about the services and cost involved everything was totally clear. Both Andrea and Lloyd who I dealt with were professional but warm, reassuring and were always available to answer any concerns or questions I had. Right up until the day I entered court they were there for me. My barrister who represented me in court, Lisa, was again also fantastic.
Right down to value for money (and I did look around) I really cannot fault the service I got from Auriga Advocates.
Auriga Advocates Ltd is a limited company,
registered office Electra House, Electra Way, Crewe, CW1 6GL, telephone number 01270 509496
Registered No 08928546 and is a law firm authorised and regulated by Solicitors Regulatory Authority SRA No 614279.
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