Getting someone to “take” speeding points for you is a very serious matter. But motorists can't help but try, something motoring lawyer Jeanette Miller is all too aware of.
Thanks to the ongoing saga involving allegations against politician Chris Huhne, most drivers now know that getting someone to “take” speeding points for you is a very serious matter.
It could not only lead to a possible criminal conviction for perverting the course of justice but it will almost definitely result in a spell in prison.
I have no doubt that many otherwise law-abiding citizens have tried this very dangerous and illegal strategy to avoid those dreaded penalty points. After all, it only takes 12 points in three years to be subjected to a six-month ban under the totting up rules.
However, it still amazes me when I read about the level of inventiveness some drivers will go to in an attempt to fool the police and courts into believing they weren’t behind the wheel at the time in question.
Most constabularies have special teams of officers to investigate suspected fraud. Here are details of my top five most stupid attempts to avoid penalty points:
The moving road sign
John Hopwood physically moved a 40mph speed sign from a road in Manchester, to a road in Rochdale that was actually a 30mph zone after he was caught by a speed camera twice in two days.
He was prosecuted for perverting the course of justice and was given an intermittent custodial sentence of 56 days.
Michael Bogdal was convicted of nine counts of perverting the course of justice. Bogdal wrote to the police blaming five different fictitious drivers in his replies to notices of speeding allegations.
He was caught out when the police noticed the same address was being used with different names. Bogdal argued that he thought the ticket office would know he was lying and he had done it as a "joke".
As the 10-month prison sentence he received shows, the courts do not see this kind of thing as a laughing matter.
Taking the rap
Abdul Musa was found guilty of earning £24,000 by taking the rap for more than 100 speeding drivers.
Musa charged clients who had been caught breaking the limit £200 a time, in return for which he would lie and confirm to police that he had been behind the wheel.
His scam resulted in 120 drivers evading speeding tickets. He was jailed for 16 months.
Surveyors Stewart and Cathryn Bromley spent more than £11,000 as a result of lies they told to the police that a driver from Bulgaria was responsible for driving their vehicle when it was alleged to have been speeding.
As police grew suspicious, 42-year-old Mrs Bromley travelled the 1,400 miles to Bulgaria to send a faked postcard from the fictitious driver they had named to back up their story.
The police were unconvinced and contacted Interpol and the British embassy in Sofia in an attempt to track down the driver.
The Bromleys eventually pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. Mr Bromley, was ordered to pay a £7,500 fine and £700 costs, while Mrs Bromley was ordered to pay a £1,700 fine and £1,200 costs as well as all defence costs.
The speeding solicitor
Last but not least we have a solicitor who really should have known better. Neall Simmons was found guilty in 2011 of two counts of perverting the course of justice after trying to evade fines from speed cameras.
When he received notices from the Safety Camera Partnership Unit about prosecution for speeding offences, Simmons downloaded a series of letters from the internet designed to help motorists unlawfully escape prosecution.
There are many lawful ways of avoiding a conviction or a driving ban for speeding offences. But if your strategy involves lying in any way, however, you are not just risking your driving licence, you are risking your liberty.
Motor lawyer Jeanette Miller, is the senior partner of Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, a UK firm specialising solely in defending drivers who face prosecution for motoring offences. She is also a member of the Association of Motor Offence Lawyers.