Whenever you are facing a prosecution you are looking at potentially incurring legal costs, this in itself can be a strong incentive to simply pay the fixed penalty, unless you believe you can overturn the conviction, but if you are on a low income or receiving benefits then you may qualify for legal aid under certain circumstances. Unfortunately when it comes to motoring offences the law does not see these as serious enough to qualify for legal aid in most cases except when there is a criminal prosecution, like in the case of drink driving, dangerous driving or if the driving offence is only one of several offences that the person is facing, in which case then legal aid could be possible.
Depending on your circumstances you may get free legal aid or for a proportion of your legal costs. This can depend on your income and how much capital you own in the way of savings, even the value of your home. The costs you will need to have covered could be the cost of legal advice, representation and court costs if you do not win the case.
In order to qualify for legal aid you have to apply for it in writing and give full details regarding your income and capital, if you are ion benefits like for instance jobseekers allowance, pension credits, disability allowance, income support then you would no doubt qualify. If you have an income from employment or are self employed then the income limit is £2,657 after national insurance and income tax. If you have dependent children then the limit is increased by £222 per child. This is inclusive of any income received by a partner or co-habiter.
If your income is below this limit then a solicitor or legal adviser who is working on your behalf will then help you to calculate what your disposable income is which is the amount you have left over after all necessary expenses have been deducted. The limit for legal aid purposes for personal disposable income is currently £733 - providing you do not earn more than this then you would qualify for a full legal aid award. Otherwise you may qualify for a percentage of your legal costs to be paid by you and the remainder by legal aid.
If you have savings of over £8,000 you will not be eligible for legal aid and this includes the value of your house depending on how much of your mortgage has been repaid as this is considered to be capital also. This can be decided depending on the value of your house, there are a number of factors that go into consideration such as the true market value of the house, the cost of selling, the mortgage interest and if the house is singly or jointly owned or if you are over the age of sixty in which case the capital aspect is disregarded. If you are sixty or over then your entitlement to legal aid is purely calculated on your income unless your disposable income is over £315 then the capital limit is £100,000.