Wednesday, 23 April 2014

St George, Dragons and Road Rage!

Guest Blog by Ali Ashworth

St Georges’ day is our opportunity to celebrate all things British, and our opportunity to celebrate our patron saint, who famously slew a dragon….. Or so they say.

One of the oddities which the English are renowned for is our nervously polite disposition, and common sense of courtesy. Who has not had the experience of being brushed past in the street from another person and then actually said “sorry” themselves?

Unfortunately this polite disposition is sometimes tends forgotten as soon as people turn on their engines.
In the days when St George was alive, the only method of transport was by foot or on horseback. Both left you pretty exposed. However these days, many people get into their cars feeling protected, and free to be as rude or aggressive as they want without consequence.

However, letting your “inner dragon” take hold when you’re behind the wheel can in fact have some very serious legal consequences.

Many of us have witnessed a driver being cut up, or pulled out on by another driver. On many occasions the drama ends with a beep of the horn. However if a matter is allowed to get out of hand, the all-out war with drivers gesturing at each other and shouting, and more seriously making dangerous manoeuvres, could not only put their own safety at risk but also the safety of others.

Image courtesy of

Careless, inconsiderate or even dangerous driving are the likely charges which will follow if the driver(s) are caught by the police driving aggressivley as a result of some form of road rage, with penalties ranging from points to a potential disqualification and a custodial sentence.

This problem is so well recognised that there is even a specific offence which deals with this type of road rage where an injury results as a consequence; wanton and furious driving.  If your driving is so reckless that it should have been foreseeable to you that harm would be a possible result, then you will be on your way to Crown Court, looking at a possible prison sentence of up to two years in the most serious cases.

It is hard to imagine a scenario of a driver aggressively tailgating, or repeatedly breaking in an attempt to “teach another driver a lesson” where possible harm would not be a foreseeable result.

Whilst the majority of drivers move on quickly after they’ve been irritated by another driver, there are still far too many who think that we are back in St George's era; where charging after someone who had wronged them was an acceptable solution to resolve their anger.

With the potential penalties in mind, along with a celebration of the polite idiosyncrasies which make us British, it would be nice if from now on, the only dragons which we faced were the ones in the story books, not on the roads.

If you are accused of a motoring offence that could see you lose your licence, or in extreme cases, lose your liberty! Our team of motoring law experts will be able to guide you through options that you may not know to be available and bring relief to what we understand can be a very trying time. Give us a call on 08000 85 27 84 for a no strings chat if you are in need of advice on any motoring matter.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Guestblog by Vicky Miller

For some, it can be all too easy to let your guard down over the bank holiday weekend.  With most people having 4 days off with their family and friends and with the nice weather that is predicted it may be too tempting to have the odd tipple or three! Also with Easter also signifying the end of Lent many will be looking forward to having that treat that they have deprived themselves of for the last 40 days, whether that’s alcohol or other indulgent treats.

Not only do people tend to drink more, they drive more too. Many families, couples and friends will be setting off in their cars for UK breaks to make the most of the time off work together and hopefully the sunshine!

Here at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors we want to make sure that everyone is safe and on the right side of the law this Easter.

After all, even the Easter Bunny is not above the law! Last year in Detroit this bunny rabbit motorcycle driver was pulled over by the police for wearing his bunny costume that obstructed his view and of course he did not have a helmet on!

Even The Easter Bunny Is Not Above The Law!

Here are our top five tips to make sure your Easter driving is a happy one!


Be cautious that over indulging with alcohol can cause you to remain over the legal limit some 24 hours or more after your last drink. The “2 pints and you can drive theory” is completely misconceived and the amount of ‘acceptable’ alcoholic drinks is completely different from person-to-person. When you know you are drinking alcohol do not make plans to drive at all even if it is the next day and always plan your journey home in advance.


With the traffic likely to be worse than usual, allow an extra 30 minutes to arrive at your destination on time. This will prevent road rage and the temptation to speed or jump a few amber lights.


If you find yourself in that dreaded traffic jam on the M1 remember that you are still in control of your vehicle whether it is stationary or not. This means you still cannot use your mobile phone or any interactive communication device whilst the engine is still running.


Before taking any journey on the motorway make sure your tyre pressures, tyre treads, oil and water levels are correct. This will avoid the risk of breaking down, potentially causing a road traffic accident and facing charges for careless driving and driving a defective vehicle. Most driving offences are endorseable with points or a ban and often a hefty fine.


Again, on long journeys preparation is key. Set up your Sat Nav in advance and make sure any children in the back have toys or games to keep them entertained. You need to avoid as much distraction as you can to ensure you keep your eyes and mind on the road!

If you do find yourself facing a motoring charge this Easter, our solicitors will be available to take your call and advice you of your options. Even if it’s just to put your mind at ease so you can carry on gorging on those Easter eggs!

Our team is available throughout the Easter break on freephone 08000 85 27 84 and our website lists details of the personnel who will be answering the calls out of hours. We don't use a call centre but have members of our expert motoring law team on hand to assist you with your motoring queries day and night.

Monday, 7 April 2014

What's The Problem With Lawyer Jokes? Guest Blog by Paul Loughlin

Apparently today (08 April 2014) is ‘International Be Kind to Lawyers Day’. I wouldn’t have known either! No, it’s not another David Cameron inspired tag line akin to ‘Hug a Hoodie’. It actually appears as though it’s one of many marketing initiatives following the growing trend, probably created by lawyers to work on some of the negative stereotypes associated with those who practice law. Having started in America and now being rolled out across the globe, I don’t think it is likely to be made into a national holiday any time soon but I’d like to think it maybe makes people think about lawyers in a different way.

Photo Source  Kansas City Legal Examiner

As featured by Jeanette Miller in her recent blog, The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers, it is not uncommon for lawyers to be dismissed as cynical and dishonest presumably all in the aim of lining their pockets. As a Criminal lawyer myself I’m certainly not asking for any sympathy on that front. I like everyone else knew what I was signing up for. It one of those jobs seen as a vocation, not a 9 to 5, a way of life for many. It comes with its positives and with its negatives.
So, what is the main positive?

Well, believe it or not for me it is actually helping people and feeling like you have made a difference with what you have done with your day. Whether family and friends believe me when I say that I can’t say for certain but I can say that my clients do.

At Geoffrey Miller we want our clients to succeed. We buy into our clients’ goals and aims when they decide to pick the phone up to speak with one of the team. We don’t judge, we just try to look for the best solution for that particular client. Whether it be fighting to keep a licence for someone who will lose everything without it or trying to make sure a client gets a fair and just sentence, there is always an aim and always a solution that is best for that client that we like to think we will give all to achieve.

We know drink driving cases provoke a whole range of strong emotions and there are few out there who think that drink driving is a minor offence. However, surely, if you had made a foolish error of judgement, you would want your point of view presented to the court in the best possible way? The consequences of some of the more serious motoring offences are entirely at the whim and discretion of a bench of magistrates who can only call upon a potentially narrow personal experience and a set of sentencing guidelines when making a decision that could be the difference between 6 points or a life altering disqualification. In other cases we present mitigation to persuade the court to impose a community service in place of a potentially life ruining prison sentence. 

The Institute of Alcohol Studies published figures in May 2013 (yet to be updated this year) stating that in the previous year there had been 54,936 findings of guilt for offences of driving etc., after consuming alcohol or taking drugs. That is a lot of people affected as a result. Of those findings of guilt a very small percentage will have been represented because they felt that lawyers couldn’t make a difference. We know different. We help hundreds of motorists each year deal with the prosecution they face by providing the best possible representation for them at Court and ensuring that their objectives are met, sometimes even bettered. We act professionally and in accordance with our clients' instructions regardless of the allegation and regardless of the plea.

Surely it is correct that our job is not to judge. Our job is to do whatever is lawful and in the best interests of our client whilst complying with our duties to the court and professional obligations. I like to think that we use those principles to fight the corner of our clients whatever their predicament.  Whether you are kind to lawyers is not really the issue. Are you being kind to yourself by making your mind up about a service that could help preserve what you have worked so hard to achieve and dismissing that option before finding out what it is all about? I say you are. It is worth calling us at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors at the very least for some no obligation free advice. It could be the difference.