At We Talk Law, we know that it’s not every day that you need a lawyer. However, we also know that you do come across the law every day – from what time you’re allowed to buy things on a Sunday, to drinking ages and road regulations. Because of this, we’re starting a new series of blogs on everyday legal advice. Today, we’re starting with speeding tickets – how they work and how to fight them.
If you are caught speeding
Now, as all drivers should know, exceeding the set speed limit is illegal. So, if you’re caught speeding by a speed camera or a police officer, there are several consequences, such as:
- You’re given a verbal warning. This could happen if an officer stops you on the road.
- You’re asked to attend a speed-awareness course, which you’ll be expected to pay for.
- You’re issued with a fixed penalty notice (commonly known as a speeding ticket), which is a £100 fine and means three penalty points on your driving licence.
- You’re prosecuted for speeding, which means you would appear in court and could be given a fine of up to £1,000 or £2,500 for speeding on a motorway. Between three and six penalty points will be added to your license, or you’ll face a driving ban.
Speeding fines depend on speed
How severe the punishment is usually depends on how fast you were driving at the time of being caught. Police officers can use their discretion in deciding how your speed relates to a punishment. The National Police Chiefs’ Council suggests the following when it comes to breaking speed limits:
As you can see, the margin of error is relatively small. That’s why it’s wise never to take the chance when it comes to speeding.
Contesting a speeding ticket
If you disagree with your speeding charge you do have the right to contest it. However, a fine is unlikely to be overturned unless you can prove one of the following:
- There was no proper notice of the speed limit.
- That vehicle caught speeding wasn’t yours.
- You weren’t speeding.
- You weren’t driving when the offence took place.
- Your car had been stolen.
Some police forces will accept informal appeals for speeding tickets they give out. Appeals should be sent as a letter and outline why you believe you shouldn’t have received a speeding fine.
If your local police force doesn’t accept appeals or your appeal was rejected, you can launch a formal appeal by requesting a court hearing. You can do this by completing the relevant part of your fixed penalty notice. We recommend seeking legal advice before you embark on a court hearing. Solicitors like We Talk Law can help you find out if you have a chance of winning your case, and explain the consequences, and (costs!) of losing.
Contesting a speeding ticket in court
These are the steps you may need to go through.
1. A plea and mitigation form
If a legal expert thinks you stand a chance of overturning your ticket then you’ll need to complete what’s called a plea and mitigation form. You can either plead guilty with mitigating circumstances or not guilty.
Guilty with mitigating circumstances – This enables you to make a “statement of mitigation”. This means you can outline why you were speeding and why this warrants a more lenient penalty. This information can be presented in court and could persuade a magistrate to give you a lighter punishment. You can also plead guilty by post if you aren’t facing a driving ban.
Not guilty – If you select not guilty, you have to plead this at a hearing. You’ll then be asked if you want to call any witnesses and your case will be scheduled for a trial. You or your legal representative can attend the trial to defend your plea.
2. Request evidence of the speeding offence
You can also ask for the police and prosecutor’s evidence of the offence before the hearing. This can be helpful if you can’t remember who was driving, think a mistake was made identifying the vehicle, or you think a mistake was made when your speed was measured. Depending on what you find, this may or may not help your defence.
3. Appearing in court
At the trial, the prosecution must prove you were the driver of the vehicle at the time the offence took place, and that your speed exceeded the speed limit. If you or your legal representative can defend this, and prove otherwise, you may have a chance of overturning the speeding charge.
4. Guilty or not guilty
If you’re found guilty you may be fined from £1,000 to £2,500, if you were speeding on a motorway. You will also receive between three and six penalty points on your licence and you could be disqualified from driving if you were more than 30mph over the limit.
However, if you’re found not guilty then no further action will be taken.
How to avoid speeding fines
As always, the easiest and safest way to avoid speeding fines is to pay attention to and obey the speed limit. However, as cars get better over time, it can be easy to creep over the speed limit, especially when you’re distracted by passengers or if you’re running late.
As well as paying attention to the road at all times, there are sat navs, mobile apps and some on-board car sat navs that alert you when you’re breaking the speed limit. This can help you slow down and stay safe. prompting you to slow down and stay safe. These solutions can also alert you when you’re near a speed camera, giving you time to check your speed and make sure you don’t get a fine. Some car computers also have a speed restrictor, or a speed alarm.
We hope this blog has shown you the ramifications of not obeying the speed limit, and outlined your rights when you are issued a speeding fine. If you’ve been caught speeding, and need legal advice on overturning the offence, give us a call for just £68. We’re much cheaper than a solicitor, but we offer the same expert advice. Call us on 0203 002 4898 today or email firstname.lastname@example.org.