Road traffic offences are one area of the criminal law (and yes they are crimes) where persons who would never in a million years come into contact with the Gardai do so as either victims or suspects.

This blog topic deals criminal defence side of motoring offences. The most serious offences normally prosecuted are dangerous driving causing death or serious injury, dangerous driving per se, reckless endangerment (in the manner of driving), hit and run (leaving the scene of an accident and related offences), drink driving, drug driving and careless driving. Cases will normally be dealt in the District Court unless a fatality or serious personal injury occurs. Other health and safety type prosecutions for professional drivers, may also have grave consequences such as overloading or failing to keep tachograph records etc.

In any traffic accident or occurence, where you are involved as a driver or a passenger for that matter, the initial feeling is one of shock and bewilderment as an instinictive human reaction to the situation. Where the Gardai are called to investigate an accident, it is in our human nature to be honest and have a sense of candour. Where the accident has been serious however silence is normally, the golden rule, just at that time at the point of detection. Drivers are required under our laws to provide certain information to a Garda such as your name and address, if the vehicle was yours, insurance details and in cases of alleged suspicion of drink or drug driving forensic samples by way of a road side breath test, blood or urine tests either in a Garda Station or at hospital. Failure or refusal to comply with a valid lawful demand from a Garda can attract criminal liability.

Forensic examination by way of vehicle inspection or a collision investigation frequently now form part of more serious cases. A driver should never make any incriminating statement as to the manner of their driving without getting legal advice. This is prudent advice especially at the scene of an accident. A Garda may feel aggrieved at your attitiude, but a driver should be firm and say that they would just like to speak with a solicitor prior to making any statement. In less serious cases the Garda may just take names and address and follow up with statement requests later giving you time to prepare and get legal advice. In serious cases arrest may be automatic and getting proper criminal law advice from a court solicitor is an absolute must at the Garda Station or even at Hospital.

Where a motor vehicle has been seized for examination, it is essential if you are a suspect to get advice on whether you need your vehicle or other vehicles examined as to their roadworthiness. Other evidential issues such as weather conditions, light and darkness, road surface conditions, traffic volumes, CCTV footage, witness details may come into play also in any prospective motoring offence or prosecution.

I have included a link from Keith Borer a UK based firm of forensic experts who peter connolly solicitors regularly use in criminal investigations to give you a snapshot from a forensic standpoint.

This blog post is a promotional tool only. If you are being investigated for an accident or have been arrested, summonsed to Court or charged please call peter connolly directly for immediate assistance. I offer immediate phone or attendance advice at Garda Stations in Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow 24/7 365 days a year.

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