Terms and Conditions
Legal Fees and Duration of Services
The firm complies with Law Society costs transparency rules to ensure you receive essential costs information before you instruct the firm. We have set out below details of how our fixed fees operate together with the timescales involved for each type of case.
Not guilty plea cases
We charge a preparation fee and a representation fee.
We offer a two hearing discount on the preparation fee for not guilty plea cases.
The preparation fee for not guilty plea at the first hearing is £165 (discounted from standard £705 preparation fee) provided we deal with the second hearing.
The representation fee for the first hearing is £495. All figures include VAT.
Total discounted charge for the first hearing £660. Travel expenses may be payable where the Court is not local to the lawyer.
Guilty plea cases
We offer an early booking discount for guilty plea cases.
The preparation fee for guilty plea is £375 (reduced from standard £705 preparation fee) provided we are instructed to deal with a guilty plea before the date of the first hearing.
The representation fee is £495. All figures include VAT.
In guilty plea cases the representation fee includes attendance and representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court.
Total discounted charge for a single hearing is £870 inc vat. Travel expenses may be payable where the Court is not local to the lawyer.
If the matter concerns an appeal for a single hearing the standard preparation fee is £705 inc VAT and the representation fee is £510 inc VAT.
Assistance without Court representation
If we are not required to attend Court but we help prepare your case for example preserving CCTV evidence or providing support the standard rate for the preparation fee is £705 for a single hearing. This includes where we are initially instructed to attend Court but representation is no longer required for any reason including where the case is discontinued.
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 £510 inc vat.
Total charge for not guilty plea (based on two hearings with the discounted preparation rate) is £1875 inc vat.
Total charge for an appeal is £1215 (single hearing) or £2430 (based on two hearings).
Travel expenses may be claimed where the court is not local to the lawyer.
Payment plans are available for legal fees after the first hearing. Please enquire with our team if you require time to pay.
Recovering your costs
If we successfully defend your case we may ask for a defence costs order which will reimburse a proportion if not all your legal fees. This is claimed back at an hourly rate under Government rules.
Duration of services
Guilty plea cases usually take 0 to 2 months.
Not guilty plea cases usually take 3 to 6 months.
Appeals take on average 2 to 4 months.
The timescale depends on the Court listings.
The hearing may take anything from 5 minutes to half a day unless the hearing is a trial listed for full day. The lawyer will meet you before the case is called into Court and discuss the outcome with you.
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.
Most guilty plea cases are dealt at the first hearing or two hearings if the case involves special reasons or the Court needs to adjourn before sentencing which is unusual. Appeals will require a single hearing for straightforward cases or a minimum of two hearings if against conviction.
Some not guilty plea cases are discontinued after the first hearing avoiding the need for a second hearing. We may ask the prosecution to drop the charges before the first hearing in appropriate cases saving you the worry of attending Court. 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. Hearings may be dealt with administratively in writing in the absence of the parties or legal representatives. 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.
The covid-19 outbreak may result in delays to the case being concluded and this may necessitate additional hearings. If a non-trial hearing does not proceed due to covid-19 on one occasion, then we will not charge again for the preparation fee for the next hearing if this is the same hearing type. In this situation, we may invoice for work to begin on the trial on a date to be confirmed if your instructions are to avoid a driving ban. If there are further ‘holding dates’ or rolling hearings after the next adjourned hearing we may charge a preparation fee but this will count towards any effective hearing before trial. If a trial or other contested hearing is adjourned due to covid-19 then a further fee will be payable to reflect the additional work associated with trial preparation.
Our services will continue after each hearing until the conclusion of the case.
Expert reports are optional for which the expert may charge separately. It may be possible to avoid a ban without the need for expert reports.
Costs range from around £70 to £600 (scientific reports) or £260 to £750 (medical reports)
If it is 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 advocate lawyer appointed to represent you at Court.
A substantial proportion of our successful cases are achieved through the reviewing lawyer persuading the prosecution to discontinue the case before trial but for those clients who want to maximise their chances we provide options for choosing the level of seniority of the advocate lawyer.
For the firms standard fees on the basic package an independent advocate 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.
You will be given the option of upgrading your level of service for a more senior advocate lawyer (10 years plus).
The preparation fee £165 for the first hearing and the representation fee is £885. After the first hearing the fees per hearing are £705 preparation fee and £900 for the representation fee (all figures include VAT)
We can arrange for one of the firms’ in-house advocate lawyers to attend Court.
In-house advocate lawyers are less likely to give conflicting advice and deal better with hostility at Court.
The preparation fee is £675 for the first hearing and the representation fee is £945. After the first hearing the fees per hearing are £1410 preparation fee and £1200 representation fee (all figures include VAT).
Gold service (trial hearings only)
You may also have an advocate lawyer for the trial who has demonstrated excellence.
This will increase your chances of avoiding a driving ban if the case proceeds to trial.
The fees for single hearing are £1410 preparation fee and £2400 representation fee (all figures include VAT).
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 or those involving trade unions. 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 firm
DDS is a trading name 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: 3rd Floor, 51/52 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 5AS. VAT number 795 3482 83. Full T&Cs are provided with our welcome pack.
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 email@example.com 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.