Terms and Conditions
Fees and duration of the contract for services
This is a summary of our standard terms to ensure transparency with our fees. Full T&Cs are provided with our welcome pack
The preparation fee is £165 (not guilty plea) or £375 (guilty plea) for the first hearing which is discounted from £705 provided we represent you at the first hearing on the anticipated plea and at any following hearing or we are the acting solicitors when you receive notice of no further action. Otherwise the non discounted rate will apply.
For example, if you only require us to preserve CCTV evidence or take other preparatory steps or provide advice and support or you initially require us to attend the first hearing but then decide you no longer require representation or you instruct the firm on a not guilty then change your instructions to guilty plea at Court, the non discounted preparation fee of £705 is payable for the initial steps carried out. On the other hand If we do attend Court on the anticipated plea you qualify for the discounted rate for the preparation fee as set out above. If the matter concerns an appeal or we are instructed after the first hearing the discount does not apply.
Most guilty plea cases are dealt with at a single hearingThe preparation fee will include taking initial instructions. We will ask you to comment on the evidence at Court and consider initial disclosure and any additional material.We will prepare witness statements if necessary. We will explain the court procedure to you so you know what to expect on the day of your hearing and the sentencing options available to the court.We will conduct any further preparatory work, obtain further instructions from you if necessary and answer any follow up queries you have.
We cannot provide a timescale of when your hearing will take place, as this depends on the court listing for that day.The representation fee for the first hearing is £435.In guilty plea cases the representation fee includes attendance and representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court. Special reasons cases or appeals will require a separate hearing for which an additional fee is payable.We will attend court on the day and meet with you before going before the court. We anticipate being at court from an hour up to for half a day unless the hearing is a trial listed for full day. The lawyer will discuss the outcome with you.Total charges for guilty plea for a case dealt with at a single hearing is £810 inc vat (discounted rate) or £1155 inc vat (non discounted rate).
After the first hearing
Fixed fees per hearing are payable after the first hearing. The preparation fee is £705 inc vat and representation fee is £450 inc vat.The minimum number of hearings necessary to deal with the case is one hearing for a guilty plea and two hearings for a not guilty plea or appeal.
Some cases are discontinued after the first hearing avoiding the need for a second hearing. Other cases may necessitate more than two hearings. It is not possible to be certain about the number of hearings as this will depend on whether the case is complex or there may be additional hearings requested by the Court or prosecution. We may agree a discount on fees where more than two hearings are necessary and an additional hearing is within a short time of the previous one.
Total charges for not guilty plea (based on two hearings with the discounted preparation rate) is £1755 inc vat plus travel if necessary
Travel expenses may be claimed where the court is not local to the lawyer.
Expert reports are optional for which the expert may charge separately (around £65 to £600 per report).It may be possible to avoid a ban without the need for expert reports.
If it necessary for the expert to attend Court they will claim their fees for attending from the Court. We may ask for payment on account to cover these fees in the event the Court refuses to authorise their costs which tends to be the exception. This may be in the region of £500 to £1000.
Choosing your level of service
Whatever level of service you select you will have the same supervising lawyer, reviewing lawyer and caseworker. You have a number of options for the lawyer appointed to represent you at Court. A substantial proportion of our successful cases are achieved through persuading the prosecution to discontinue the case before trial but for those clients who want to maximise their chances we provide options for choosing their level of seniority.
For the fees outlined above an independent lawyer (up to 5 years qualified) will be thoroughly briefed with the firms’ tried and tested methods to ensure the best possible outcome at Court on the basic package (Bronze service). You will be given the option of upgrading your level of service for a more senior lawyer (10 years plus) for an additional £450 per hearing (Silver level) or one of the firms’ in house lawyers to attend Court for an additional £1020 for the first hearing or additional £1455 per hearing after the first hearing (Platinum service). These lawyers are less likely to give conflicting advice and deal better with hostility at Court. You may also have a lawyer who has demonstrated excellence at trials for an additional £2655 for the trial which covers a single hearing (Gold service). This will increase your chances of avoiding a driving ban.
Payment plans are available for legal fees after the first hearing. All fees include vat. Our services will continue after each hearing until the conclusion of the case.
If your case becomes complex additional charges may be payable for preparing documents for use in Court from £60 to £180 in most cases. If you require us to appoint a senior lawyer to prepare documents the cost may be higher £500 to £1000.
The firm does not operate legal aid or deal with cases under legal expenses insurance. Other providers may provide such assistance however for reasonable fixed fees you will be represented by one of the very few, if not the only firm in the Country dealing in drink driving related cases and nothing else. This will substantially increase your chances of avoiding a driving ban and criminal record.
Information about the seller
DDS is a division of National Lawyer Services, a firm of Solicitors of England and Wales, regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority SRA 499283. You can access the SRA’s rules of conduct here www.sra.org.uk/code-of-conduct.page. Postal enquiries: Unit THU4, 1 Pacific Road, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 1LJ. VAT number 795 3482 83
About the Team
The firm’s Principal Gary Roberts, has been specialising in drink driving related cases since 2009, having qualified as a solicitor in 1998. Gary has dealt with over 4000 drink driving cases including fail to provide and drunk in charge. He will conduct your case before the first hearing and continue to supervise your case after the first hearing if applicable.
Laura Heywood (qualified 2011) and Sandra Cooper (qualified 2013) are the firms reviewing lawyers who will manage your case day to day after the first hearing. Both are qualified solicitors who are highly trained in the firms case strategies and specialise exclusively in drink driving related cases.
After the first hearing you will also be allocated a caseworker who will be responsible for providing updates and assisting the firms’ lawyers. A separate lawyer will represent you at Court as outlined above
A dedicated admin team will also work on your case before the first hearing and in a support role after the first hearing.
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem. In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and no more than six years from the date of act/omission or no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint. If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them on 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by post Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Their website is www.legalombudsman.org.uk
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
You may cancel our services at any time either in writing, by phone, by email or by using the cancellation form on our website. The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and additional Charges) Regulations 2013 give you the right to cancel goods and services within 14 days. Under Reg 36 this right will cease once we have commenced urgent work on your case. In these circumstances, the firm may charge the applicable fixed preparation and representation fees due under our terms of business. If no urgent work has been undertaken you owe us nothing and you will be entitled to a full refund of the fees paid in full. Urgent work includes requesting CCTV or preparing for appeal whether conviction or DVLA revocation of license. This list is non exhaustive.