McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Don’t get Cold Feet Over Taking Professional Advice

Like many people of a certain age, I eagerly anticipated the return to our screens of the much-loved comedy drama Cold Feet.

The old familiar cast were thrown back together (less the character of the now deceased Rachel) for a brand new series which started last night (5 September).

The main plot revolved around widower Adam’s return to Manchester to announce his impending nuptials with a new partner.

During the course of the episode, we are told that Adam’s friend David has a mini crisis: he has received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) over a speeding matter, for which he is likely to receive three penalty points. He is already on nine points, which will put him on twelve. His thoughts turn to an impending ban, and he suggests that his second wife Robyn, who has no points endorsed on her licence, agree that she was the driver, and takes the points instead.

Robyn, a divorce lawyer, sensibly refuses, indicating that she would lose her career and her liberty.

In desperation, David turns to his first wife Karen; she does not want to be lumbered with having sole responsibility for ferrying their two daughters about in her car should David lose his licence. She therefore agrees to this course of action.

We hear nothing further about this in the rest of the episode but it left me wondering whether this subplot will develop over the course of the series. I hope it does, because otherwise it could leave many millions of viewers with the impression that it is okay for spouses/couples/ siblings/friends/relatives to do this when faced with a similar situation.

In fact, it is patently very wrong to take this course of action, for to do so would amount to an offence of perverting the course of justice, a serious criminal offence which is indictable only, in other words, can only be adjudicated upon in the Crown Court.

It may seem nothing to take three points on your licence for a loved one or friend, especially if it would make life a lot easier for all involved, and will not cause you any serious inconvenience. Nobody is likely to find out, and it isn’t harming anybody, is it?

Regardless of this, people who have done this in the past do get found out, much to their regret. A recent example is the high profile case of former MP Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce in 2013, both sent to prison for eight months when, during their marriage in 2003, Ms Pryce took three points for Mr Huhne, so that he would avoid a six-month driving ban.

Quite rightly, the Court took this matter very seriously; it is one thing to take the blame for something you have not done, but it is entirely another when you do so in order to prevent the punishment of a guilty party.

Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce had both been described as having ‘stellar’ careers by the judge. That did not save either of them from a prison sentence.

Back in the world of TV drama, we are not given any other information about David’s driving history, other than that he is on nine points and could face a six-month ban once he reaches twelve. 

It may well in fact be that it is his first time that he will potentially be liable to a ‘totting up’ disqualification. If this is the case, then he could have an argument that a disqualification from driving would cause him ‘exceptional hardship’. If successful, he would get to keep his licence, but would not then be able to rely on the same argument if he falls foul of the same provisions within the next three years.

As long as David drives carefully thereafter, in the fullness of time the points endorsed on his licence should eventually diminish.

If you find yourself in such a position, the wisest course of action is to take legal advice from a professional, rather than following David’s example, which could result in the loss of your and a loved one’s liberty, reputation  and career, not just your driving licence.


Categories: Motoring Offences

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