I’ve come into biking late, passing my test a year ago and buying a CBR600F.
Why didn’t I do this earlier, I’d think, every time I hopped on… until some blind young mum pulled out on me and I swerved to avoid her, putting me on the wrong side of the road and hitting a car head-on.
Consequently, Mr Plod hit me with a Dangerous Driving charge, which I’m going to fight, but the duty solicitor said I earn too much money to get Legal Aid, and even if I’m found not guilty, I won’t get my private legal fees back.
I earn £45,000pa and my wife earns £10,000 part-time. We’re just about paying our household bills. This seems so unjust.
Your duty solicitor is correct. If you’d been charged before 01/10/12 it would have been a different story, but The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 changed the rules.
If you’re a middle income household, you won’t get Legal Aid; but you do need legal representation, so you’ll have to pay if you want it. And even if the State’s case fails and you’re found not guilty, you’ll only get your legal fees repaid in line with Legal Aid rates, which will not cover costs, I guarantee it.
It’s like the State breaking your legs, forcing you to pay for private healthcare and then repaying you in-line with NHS rates. Unfair, but sadly that’s the way it is – a tax on the innocent in my view.
Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a ZZR1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.
About On 2 Wheels
The O2W legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast and his bike-riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.
The firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with motoring offences.
White Dalton lawyers have a vast knowledge of bike law - and they have full bike licences, too. They don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution.
White Dalton is Britain’s premier specialist motorcycle law practice, and if its professionals don’t know the answer to your question, there probably isn’t one. Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance-appointed solicitor – get proper independent advice.