The increase in speeding penalties

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We’d like to address something that four fifths of motorists are unaware of: the increase in speeding penalties. As of April 24th, offenders will face tougher fines of up to 175% of their weekly income!

Penalties

The majority of people speeding will be classed as committing a ‘minor offence’ and will still receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of a £100 fine and three points on their licence. You can usually avoid the points and opt for a speed awareness course instead (if it’s your first speeding offence or if you haven’t attended an awareness course within the last three years.)

Remember! You will find yourself in court to be sentenced if you are issued a FPN and ignore it.

In some instances, however, the punishment can be more severe and you may be prosecuted in court leading to a significantly higher fine, more points on your licence or even a driving suspension or disqualification.

Whether or not you’re prosecuted is down to the police officer’s discretion. The police will usually only opt to prosecute if you are considered a ‘serious offender’ and have either severely exceeded the speed limit or have repeatedly committed the offence.

If you are found guilty in court, as of April 24 2017, your sentence will follow these guidelines:

Legal speed limit (mph) Recorded speed (mph) Recorded speed (mph) Recorded speed (mph)
Band A Band B Band C
20 21-30 31-40 41 and above
30 31-40 41-50 51 and above
40 41-55 56-65 66 and above
50 51-65 66-75 76 and above
60 61-80 81-90 91 and above
70 71-90 91-100 101 and above
Points disqualification 3 points Disqualify 7-28 days OR 4-6 points Disqualify 7-56 days OR 6 points
Fine 50% of relevant weekly income* 100% of relevant weekly income* 150% of relevant weekly income*

*This is what you can expect but the magistrate can fine you anywhere within a range of 25% on either side of that figure, meaning serious offenders could face a fine of 175% their weekly income. This fine, however, is capped at £1,000, rising to £2,500 if you are caught on a motorway.

Minor Offences v Serious Offences

It is actually only the sentencing structure for the most severe offenders which has been revised…

Minor offences: (as before April 24th)

  • If you think you have been flashed by a speed camera, you have to wait 14 days for it to be confirmed or not: that’s how long the police have to issue a ‘notice of intended prosecution’.
  • It is sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle – worth bearing in mind if you drive a company car!
  • For minor offences, the police will often offer the chance to take a speed awareness course, instead of issuing fines and penalty points.
  • You have to pay for this – and it usually takes half a day – but it does help keep your licence clean.
  • Those who already have points are rarely offered this opportunity.

Serious offences: (sentencing guidelines revised on April 24th)

  • Speed awareness courses are rarely offered for more serious speeding offences. The minimum here is a £100 fine and three or six penalty points on your licence. The police give 28 days to nominate the driver and pay the penalty; points will then be issued against the driver’s licence.
  • If you don’t reply within 28 days, the matter can be referred to court. Very serious speeding offences are referred to court anyway, where the penalty could be as high as £1000 – or £2500 if you were caught on a motorway.
  • If you collect more than 12 points in any three year period, you face disqualification from driving; you can apply to have points removed after four years.

If you’ve been caught speeding and it’s referred to court, you could face an instant ban. Generally, magistrates will only consider imposing a ban if you’ve been caught at more than 45% over the speed limit.

Disputing a speeding fine/ticket

If you think you have been given a speeding ticket unfairly, you can appeal it by filling out the correct section on the Notice of Intended Prosecution within 28 days.

Consider carefully whether you have grounds for dispute beforehand though, because if the police do not accept your appeal, you will have to go to court to contest the conviction.

If this happens, be prepared… If it doesn’t go your way – you will probably end up with a much heavier fine than in the first instance!

Acceptable grounds for dispute:

  • Some successful speeding fine appeals are on the ground of technicalities, such as missing or incorrect details provided on the NIP, or incorrect, absent or obscured road signs.
  • You can also appeal if you weren’t the one driving, or you believe you weren’t speeding and can prove it.
  • If the road signs were unclear, you will need to provide photographic evidence to prove that.
  • If you are confident you weren’t speeding, the only way to prove your innocence will be to go to court. There you can ask for the relevant calibration certificate for the speed camera that caught you to be produced in court.

Unacceptable grounds for dispute:

  • Prosecutors have heard every excuse under the sun for speeding. Excuses that won’t cut it include not being aware of the speed limit, saying the roads were quiet as it was late at night, or being in a rush and saying it was an emergency.
  • If you accept you were caught speeding, some of these ‘excuses’ could be used as mitigating factors, however, which could result in a more lenient penalty if you plead guilty in court.