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.

 

First hearing

 

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. 

Total discounted charge for the first hearing £660.

Travel expenses may be payable where the Court is not local to the lawyer. 

All figures include VAT at 20%.

The fees include attendance and preparation, initial advice based on your instructions, considering evidence if available, taking your instructions and representation in the Magistrates Court. The fees do not cover representation at an appeal or optional experts fees. 

 

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.

The fees cover attendance and representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court.

Total discounted charge for a single hearing is £870.

Travel expenses may be payable where the Court is not local to the lawyer.

All figures include VAT at 20%.

The fees include attendance and preparation, considering evidence if available, taking your instructions, advice on obtaining supporting letters and character references, advice on likely sentence, representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court and advice on appeal. The fees do not include representation at a special reasons hearing or appeal or experts fees (which are unusual in guilty plea cases involving a single hearing).

 

Assistance without Court representation

If we are not required to attend Court but we help prepare your case 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.

All figures include VAT at 20%.

The fees may include requesting CCTV or evidence, considering initial disclosure of evidence if available, taking your instructions and advice on obtaining supporting letters and character references. This list is not exhaustive. The fees do not include representation or appeal or experts fees. 

After the first hearing

 

Fixed fees per hearing are payable after the first hearing.

The preparation fee is £705 and representation fee is £630.

Total charge for not guilty plea (based on two hearings with the discounted preparation rate) is £1995.

Fixed fees apply to further hearings however if the case is discontinued 7 days or more before the second hearing you will not be required to pay £630 representation fee for this hearing.

All figures include VAT at 20%.

Travel expenses may be payable where the court is not local to the lawyer.

 

Payment plans

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 and Key Stages 

The following key stages apply to your case when you have been given a date for your hearing. 

Not guilty plea cases

We will provide initial advice on whether there are grounds to defend the charges before the first hearing based on your instructions. We will provide full advice on the strength of the evidence and the chances of success after reviewing all the evidence in the case which may be from around 6 weeks after the first hearing up to trial. We will represent you at Court and in most cases you will continue to drive after the first hearing on a not guilty plea assuming your have a full driving licence and are not subject to bail conditions. The fees cover preparation work including file reviews, considering available evidence, advice and updates as and when there are developments on your case and representation at Court. 

A substantial proportion of successful cases are achieved by writing to the prosecution to ask them to review the evidence before the trial. The charges may be dismissed at trial after presenting legal argument. In some cases the prosecution can be persuaded to discontinue charges before the first hearing saving you the worry of attending Court. Other cases may be dealt with by plea bargain where the prosecution accept a guilty plea to a less serious charge with penalty points or relatively short discretionary ban instead of the mandatory minimum 12 month ban. 

Guilty plea cases

You will meet with the advocate lawyer at Court to confirm instructions on what happened and we will consider initial disclosure of evidence if available and provide advice. We will provide advice on how to obtain supporting letters and character references if necessary and 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 preparation work, obtain further instructions from you if necessary and answer any follow up queries you have. We cannot specify the time when your hearing will take place, as this usually depends on how busy the court listing is for that day. We will attend court on the day and meet with you before going before the court. We anticipate being at court for up to half a day in most guilty plea cases but these cases can run into a full day if there is waiting involved. We will discuss the outcome with you and advise on appeal at no additional cost. 

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 if there is a trial. 

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.

Some 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 additional hearings may be 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. Hearings may be dealt with administratively in writing in the absence of the parties or legal representatives.

Appeals will require a single hearing for straightforward cases or a minimum of two hearings if against conviction.

The covid-19 outbreak may result in delays to the case being concluded and this may necessitate additional hearings. We may waive fees at our discretion for the next hearing taking into account the time until the next hearing, the work to be undertaken and the amount of fees paid to date.

Our services will continue after each hearing until the conclusion of the case.

Experts fees

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 £800 (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. These estimates exclude VAT at 20%.

 

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.

 

Bronze service

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.

Occasionally there may be limited availability for bronze level lawyers due to location or when instructed at short notice. In this case there may be additional fees around £200 to £400 or we may offer a silver or platinum level lawyer to secure representation for the fees shown below.

 

Silver service

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 £960 for the representation fee. All figures include VAT at 20%.

If the case is discontinued 7 days or more before the trial the representation fee £960 is not payable. 

 

Platinum service

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 at 20%.

If the case is discontinued 7 days or more before the trial the representation fee £1200 is not payable.

 

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 to £3000 representation fee. All figures include VAT at 20%.

The higher preparation fee for platinum or gold service reflects the need to work alongside a more senior advocate lawyer.

If the case is discontinued 7 days or more before the trial the representation fee £2400 is not payable.

 

Appeals

If the matter concerns an appeal the fees are the same except the representation fee is £900 for bronze cases and £1050 for silver cases. All figures include VAT at 20%.

 

Complex cases

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. All figures include VAT at 20%.

 

Alternative funding

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 RegulationAuthority SRA499283. 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.

Your Rights

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 enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or by post Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Their website is www.legalombudsman.org.uk. The Solicitors RegulationAuthority 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 RegulationAuthority here.

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.

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