Every ten years all motorists are required to update their licences with a new photograph so that they are easily identified by the DVLA and the police. If caught with an out of date licence you could find yourself in legal trouble, however as one man recently pointed out in court the police had illegally given points to people who had failed to update their licence in the required time.
During the court case in Lincoln, solicitor Michael Pace, an ex-traffic policeman, pointed out that the police had used the wrong section of the Road Traffic Act 2010 when issuing penalties to those with outdates licences. He went on to add that Section 87.1 of the Act deals with those that do not have a valid licence while Section 99 deals with not updating information including the photograph. Under Section 99 those being prosecuted can only be issued a one thousand pound fine, and cannot be issued points on their licence, have their car impounded or have their car insurance policy nullified.
Discussing the mix-up, Keith Peat from the Association of British Drivers said: “Points on licence can mean loss of job… it is an enormous story to emerge… an enormous mistake and it is obviously going to have to be corrected.” Meanwhile, Mr Pace added: “It is hundreds if not thousands of people who have been wrongly convicted around the country. That has to be a major issue – courts have not realised it is the wrong offence, the prosecutor has not realised it is the wrong offence, 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.”
Responding to the case, 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. The confusion has arisen as a result of the particular act and section which has been deemed to be breached. I can only reinforce that failure to have a current photograph or address on a driving licence remains an offence for which people can face prosecution.”