New legislation which will remove a cap on fines could see highly-paid individuals – such as Premier League footballers – having to pay well into six figures for a wide range of motoring offences, including careless driving, Loophole lawyer Nick Freeman has warned.
Under the current legislation magistrates’ courts can only fine defendants up to a maximum of £5,000 for a “level 5” offence. However, under the new laws, which come into effect tomorrow (Thursday March 12), this cap is removed with fines becoming “unlimited”.
Other motoring offences that fall into this category include drink driving, failing to provide a specimen, failing to stop or report an accident, dangerous driving and driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs.
Mr Freeman, who has defended a plethora of A-List celebrities, including David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson and Colin Montgomerie, said: “This is an unfair tax that will penalise the successful and lead to the wealthy paying a disproportionate amount of fines.
“This will result in a huge disparity in financial penalties simply based on the depth of one’s pocket.
“It will be open season for wealthy sports stars who could be fined £375,000 for an offence of careless driving.
“The perverse irony is that if someone is caught driving at 140mph on the motorway, and they are summonsed with speeding, the maximum fine is £2,500 because the new legislation does not touch this type of offence.
“Since this will swell the public coffers, I can see the prosecuting authorities using alternative charges to maximise the potential penalty.”
Mr Freeman added: “In my view, it is immoral to penalise the wealthy in this way since the punishment should substantively reflect the type of offence rather than the weight of one’s wallet.”