According to the UK law, excessive and inappropriate speeding is one of the four key behaviours, which contribute to avoidable deaths and injury by making collisions more likely, and by making the resultant injuries worse. The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your licence. A motorist could be disqualified from driving if he or she builds up 12 or more penalty points within a period of 3 years.
If a motorist has been stopped by the police for a speeding offence, the police can either send the motorists the details of the penalty or send the case straight to court. If the motorist was not stopped by the police for the speeding offence – for example, the offence was caught by speed camera – the vehicle’s registered keeper will be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP – see our blog on what to do if sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution) within fourteen days of the offence. The registered keeper may have to go to court if this notice is ignored.
Most people speeding will be classed as committing a “minor offence” and will receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 and three points on their licence. Usually the motorist can avoid driving licence points by opting for a speed awareness course if it is their first speeding offence, or, if the motorist hasn’t attended a speeding awareness course within the last three years. However, sometimes the punishment is more severe.
Occasionally, the motorist may be prosecuted in court which will lead to a higher fine, more points on the motorist’s licence and even a driving suspension or disqualification. It is also worth noting that if the motorist is still within two years of passing their driving test, the motorist’s driving licence will be revoked (withdrawn) if he or she builds up six or more penalty points.
The RAC found that in 2015, more than 790,000 people were issued penalty notices for speeding. It is also worth noting that while many people are under the impression speeding laws changed in April 2017, which is not true. In fact, it is only the sentencing structure for drivers prosecuted for speeding which has been revised. The penalties for speeding have been split up into three different bands: Band A, Band B and Band C.
If a motorist is speeding over the speed limit within the bracket of 1mph to 11mph (for example, doing 37mph in a 30mph speed limit), the penalty for speeding would be within the Band A category. If the motorist is sentenced within the Band A for speeding, the motorist will receive 3 driving licence points and a fine of about 50 per cent of the relevant weekly income.
If a motorist is speeding within the bracket of 12mph to 22mph over the speed limit (for example, doing 47mph in a 30mph speed limit), they will fall into the penalty Band B. This will result in a motorist receiving 4 to 6 driving licence points or being disqualified for 7 to 28 days. Receiving a Band B sentence will also result in a fine of usually around 100 per cent of the motorist’s relevant weekly income.
If a motorist is speeding within the bracket of over 22mph over the speed limit (for example, doing 51mph and above in a 30mph speed limit), they will fall into the penalty Band C. This will result in a motorist receiving 6 driving licence points or being disqualified for 7 to 56 days. Receiving a Band C sentence will also result in a fine of usually around 150 per cent of the motorist’s relevant weekly income.
The fines that are listed above are what you would usually expect from a speeding offence. But the magistrate can fine a motorist anywhere within a range of 25 per cent on either side of the motorist’s relevant weekly income. For instance, this means that serious offenders could face a fine of 175 per cent of their weekly income. This fine, however, is capped at £1,000, but it can rise to £2,500 if the motorist was caught speeding on a motorway.
Many motorists wonder whether the 10 per cent leeway for speedometer inaccuracies still applies to speeding offences. To answer that question, in the law’s eyes a motorist is liable for a speeding offence or fine as soon as they exceed the limit. For example, if a motorist is doing 21mph in a 20 limit or 72mph on a motorway, the motorist is breaking the law. But the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) recommend that the police allow a leeway. However, this is only a recommendation that police give motorists a “10 per cent plus 2” leeway, which means that it is not an absolute.
Most speed cameras have to be manually set to trigger at a speed. However, it is still unconfirmed whether speed cameras are actually set to 10 per cent above the speed limit. When a motorist is caught speeding by a mobile camera, it is up to the police officer’s discretion to penalise the motorist if he or she is over the speed limit in any way. The police officer can choose to take the NPCC’s guidance, but they do not have to, because even one mile an hour over is still breaking the law.
If you have been given a NIP and believe that the speeding ticket is unfairly given, you can appeal against it. You do this by filling out the correct section on the notice within 28 days. However, you must consider carefully whether you have grounds for dispute beforehand as you will have to go to court to challenge the conviction. If this happens, it is best to seek professional legal advice to make the best case of defence. But you must be aware that if the court rules against you, you might end up with a heavier fine than in the first instance.
The police and prosecutors have heard every excuse under the sun for speeding. Defence cases such as arguing that the motorist wasn’t aware of the speed limit, or the roads were quiet as it was late at night, or it was an emergency are unlikely to stand in court.
However, at Driving Solicitors our team of specialist driving offence solicitors can put together a strong defence for your case.
Some speeding fine appeals can be won on the technicalities of the offence. For example, one possible technicality could be that that there were missing details on the ticket. Another could be that the signs were obscured or incorrect where the incident happened. Finally, a technicality commonly used to appeal is whether it can be proved that the registered keeper was actually driving in the first place.
If you decide to dispute the speeding fine, the case will go be heard at a magistrates’ court. Although you can also argue your case by letter, you should consider attending in person. This is because the court might be more sympathetic to your case if you show you’re remorseful and outline any mitigating factors. Your solicitor will help you to make your defence case but sometimes it is best to admit that you made a mistake with perfectly acceptable reasons for doing so.
if you are at risk of losing your licence, for example if you already have points on your licence from previous offences, outline the consequences you would be facing if should this happen. These consequences could include losing your job as you drive for a living or commute to and from work.
Our team of specialist driving offence solicitors at Driving Solicitors have the experience and expertise to guide you through receiving a speeding ticket or being reported for summons of a speeding offence. So, if you have received a speeding ticket and want professional help to put together a good defence case, then do not hesitate to contact Driving Solicitors on 0203 488 2551 and get expert legal advice from a specialist motoring solicitor today.
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Written by: Miriam Rhodes-Leader