New plans may let drivers plead guilty online

March 23, 2015 | By | In News

A new scheme currently being considered by ministers could see drivers able to plead guilty online to a number of minor motoring offences, in attempt to save time and expense taken up by court proceedings.

These plans could mean drivers caught by the police for minor crimes would be able submit a guilty plea online rather than having to attend court in person.

These suggestions follow a successful trial in Manchester where nearly a third of pleas to motoring cases were made online. Of a total of 6,000 notifications of prosecution, 1,770 of these were responded to online, reports The Times.

The online system allows drivers to access a secure website through a computer, tablet or phone, 24 hours a day, to make their plea, instead of having to send a postal plea or needing to attend court, as under the current set-up.

The new make-a-plea service is reducing case time and costs for the courts and the police, ensuring that they can focus on the most complex cases.

Ministers, however, are yet to decide which crimes would be covered under this new system, though current trials have applied to less-serious motoring misdemeanours, such as speeding or driving without insurance.

A number of non-motoring crimes could also be included under similar systems, such as minor assaults, damage to property and other public order offences that are typically treated with fines rather than custodial sentences.

Talking about the trials, courts minister Shailesh Vara told The Times: “The new make-a-plea service is reducing case time and costs for the courts and the police, ensuring that they can focus on the most complex cases.”

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