Hundreds of drivers in the UK have been wrongly convicted for not updating their driver’s licence photo ID.
A case has been won in the Lincoln Magistrates Court by arguing the wrong section of the Road Traffic Act 2010 was used. The defendant was being prosecuted under the charge of not having a license when in fact she had not updated her photo or address.
The two offences carry significantly different penalties. Charging people under section 87 of the Road Traffic Act instead of section 99 means people have wrongfully had points added to their licence, cars impounded and insurance invalidated.
Points on a licence can mean the loss of a livelihood and can have a massive impact on family life.
Lincolnshire police issued a statement saying : “The issue of a person being summoned to court for the incorrect form of the offence is something which is of concern. We have issued clear guidance to all our staff to rectify this situation and have also raised the issue at regional and national forums”.
The courts have since dropped two cases where drivers were being charged with not having an up to date licence.
Chief Inspector Stewart Brinn said: “We have issued clear guidance to all our staff to rectify this situation and we have also raised the issue at both regional and national forums.”
Drivers have been prosecuted under the wrong section of the Road Traffic Act 2010 since 1998 meaning many claims will be expected. Motorists can apply to the courts to get back fines and solicitor fees if they believe they have been wrongfully convicted.
Ex-traffic policeman, Michael Pace, said: “It is hundreds if not thousands of people who have been wrongly convicted around the country. They have pleaded guilty and gone away thinking that justice has had its day when in fact it is a big injustice that has occurred here.”
According to the DVLA, there are two million motorists with out-of-date photocard licences.
Driving without an up to date license carries a fine of £1,000 and drivers can be disqualified for 6 months if 12 points are added to their licence.