You've Got A Speeding Ticket - What Can You Do?
There's always something new to learn every day. I've always wondered, when driving my car, exactly at which point would I get stopped for creeping over the set speed limit in the area I'm travelling through. I've set out some guidelines below, the limits that police officers will enforce speeding penalties, and also what choices you have when you've been charged to defend yourself.
According to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) - in the UK, an officer will enforce speeding penalties when a driver reaches a particular margin.
The ACPO also sets guidelines for when it wouldn't be appropriate to issue a speeding fine. Normally enforcement will occur when a driver exceeds the speed limit 10 per cent over the speed limit plus 2 mph. The ACPO also guides us on when to issue a summons instead of a Fixed Penalty Notice. However, police officers are advised to act fairly.
Below are the speeding limit guidelines* for police officers to follow:
Speed limit: 20 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 24 mph
Summons: 35 mph
Speed limit: 30 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 35 mph
Summons: 50 mph
Speed limit: 40 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 46 mph
Summons: 66 mph
Speed limit: 50 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 57 mph
Summons: 76 mph
Speed limit: 60 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 68 mph
Summons: 86 mph
Speed limit: 70 mph
ACPO charging threshold: 79 mph
Summons: 96 mph
If you feel that you were charged unfairly, even if you weren't sure that you were speeding, you must still respond to the charge within the specified 28 days by completing and returning the Section 172 Notice, using your name as the driver. You may be advised to use a motoring law specialist to fight your case if you have acceptable reasons, such as;
- Misidentified vehicle caught on camera
- No proper speed limit notice
- You weren't the driver
- You weren't speeding.
The police may shortly send you a Conditional Offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice, after receiving your Section 172 notice. These have no system for appeals - however, it is common practice for some police forces to accept informal letters of appeal, particularly if there has been an error (stolen vehicles).
If you find that your informal appeal has been rejected, then your two choices are to either;
- Pay the speeding fine or
- Formally contest the speeding offence.
To contest the speeding offence, you can request a court hearing by filling out the relevant section of the Fixed Penalty Notice, with an attached mitigation statement. - and send to the address on the 'request court hearing' slip. After this, you will receive a summons. Again, it is advisable to seek legal advice before sending your paperwork.
When you receive you summons, you will receive a 'Plea and Mitigation' form which you must fill out and return before your court appearance. You have two plea options to fill out on the form:
- Guilty with mitigating circumstances - you'll usually be allowed to plead guilty, setting out the circumstances that caused you to speed and set out reasons why you shouldn't be punished severely. The magistrate may impose a lighter penalty.
- Not guilty.
You will make your not-guilty plea at the initial hearing and you will be given the opportunity to call any witnesses and relist your case for trial. After this, you'll be given a new hearing date which you (or your legal representative) attend to set out your defence case. Hearings are normally brief which is why you don't necessarily have to attend - in some cases the process is moved on by post.
Ensure that you request evidence for the speeding offence from the police and prosecutor - you can use it if you believe mistakes were made, or can't remember who was driving. Your legal team can then examine the evidence and prepare you defence case.
At the speeding offence court appearance, the prosecution will attempt to prove the facts of the offence - including proving that you were the driver of the vehicle, and that you were exceeding the set speeding limit in the section of the road.
Your defending case will also include the facts based upon the same elements.
The outcome of the court case will be defined by being found guilty or not guilty of the speeding offence.
If found not guilty, no further action will be taken and you will be declared 'not guilty'.
If you are found guilty of the speeding offence, you may be charged more than the fine and the penalty points that are normally attached to a Fixed Penalty Notice - which is a risk to take. The law may impose a fine of up to £1,000 (however, if you were speeding on a motorway you may be charged £2,500), plus between three and six penalty points on your driving licence - with a possible disqualification if you were driving more than 30mph over the speed limit in the area.