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Speeding Offence

When it comes to speeding offences, the old adage does not apply in that points mean prizes.

If convicted of a speeding offence, you will receive penalty points and a fine. In the more serious speeding cases, the court also has a discretion to impose an immediate driving ban, known as a discretionary disqualification.

Accumulating twelve penalty points or more renders you liable to a minimum six-month disqualification under the ‘totting-up’ process. Once you reach twelve points then the court can impose an immediate driving ban for a minimum of six months. This is known as a ‘totting-up’ disqualification. It is therefore possible to face a six month ban with only one previous conviction.

For example, if you previously received six points for a speeding offence and you have been caught again for a motoring offence where you can receive six or more points (using a mobile telephone whilst driving) then it is vital that you consider defending the case. It is only by avoiding a conviction can you avoid any further points, and thereby avoid a ban.

If you do accumulate twelve points then the only way of avoiding a driving ban is to put mitigation to the court and try to convince the Magistrates not to disqualify you from driving. The only reason that can be used to try and avoid a ‘totting-up’ ban is known as ‘exceptional hardship’. It is very important that proper evidence of ‘exceptional hardship’ is presented to the court. Simply standing in court and stating that you will lose your job probably will not be enough. If we can prove that ‘exceptional hardship’ would occur, then the court has a discretion not to ban you at all or to ban you for less than six months. There is more information below with regard to Exceptional Hardship.

Indeed, if the speeding offence is considered so serious, the offence itself may result in a disqualification being imposed. This is known as a discretionary disqualification and can be imposed by the Court even if you have a clean licence. This means that the court can impose an immediate driving ban even if you have less than 12 points on your driving licence.

If you find yourself with a speeding ticket, a court summons or a Single Justice Procedure Notice, then we would invite you to contact us to discuss your case as soon as possible.

Clarifying Speeding Offence Terminology

Notice of Intended Prosecutions – ‘NIP’

If you are stopped at the roadside, you will not receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution and s.172 request for driver information within 14 days of the offence.  The officer should inform you of their intention to prosecute you for the offence.

As part of this, the officer should ask you for your full driver details.

However, if you are stopped at the roadside and the alleged speed is such that the matter cannot be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice, then a Single Justice Procedure Notice should be sent to you through the post within 6 months from the date of the alleged offence. This is because the officer will have ‘laid the information’ in respect of the offence.

If you were NOT stopped at the roadside then you should receive an NIP within 14 days of the alleged offence. This arises when your vehicle will have been ‘flashed’ by a speed camera for example.

The NIP will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle and the recipient will be requested to confirm the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. Upon receipt of the NIP, please remember that if you are nominating somebody else then the nominee will receive their own NIP (addressed to them) in the post after you have nominated them.  This additional NIP will then need to be completed in by that person.

Section 172 Notice – Request for Driver Details

The Section 172 Notice accompanies the NIP. The importance of responding in time cannot be stressed enough.

For example, failing to respond in time with the information with regard to a speeding offence which would attract three penalty points, could result in you being the recipient of six penalty point as a consequence of this failure to reply. You will not get the points for the speeding offence as well.

Upon completing the s.172 Notice (request to confirm the identity of the driver), if you confirm that you were the driver then you are simply doing this and NOT admitting the offence.  You have simply confirmed that you were driving at the time and date detailed within the NIP. If it was not you driving at the time of the offence and you know who was driving then you cannot avoid a conviction by a failure to complete the s.172 Notice.

Should you not respond, then you could be charged with an additional offence of Failing to Provide Driver Information – see below.

Once you have returned the NIP you are then likely to receive a conditional offer of a fixed penalty. This will depend upon the speed involved. It is at this point that you can accept the offer then you must pay the appropriate fine or book the recommended driver awareness course.  If you dispute the alleged offence then you should not accept the conditional offer.  By accepting a conditional offer, you are effectively pleading guilty to the offence.  If you have 9 + penalty points on your licence you cannot accept a fixed penalty, you will have been sent the offer in error.

Single Justice Notice Procedure – ‘SJPN’ 

If you reject the conditional offer you will then receive the SJPN. You must receive the SJPN within 6 months from the date of the alleged offence.

If you have received an SJPN, then you can plead guilty by returning it in the post to save you having to attend at court.  Should you dispute the offence then you can plead not guilty by post. Once a not guilty plea has been entered the court will automatically list your case for a trial hearing.

If your speeding case is dealt with at Court, then when determining the appropriate penalty, the Court will be guided by the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines and both the fine and number of penalty points (or the length of disqualification) will be determined by the speed.

Speed limit (mph) Recorded speed (mph)
20 41 and above 31 – 40 21 – 30
30 51 and above 41 – 50 31 – 40
40 66 and above 56 – 65 41 – 55
50 76 and above 66 – 75 51 – 65
60 91 and above 81 – 90 61 – 80
70 101 and above 91 – 100 71 – 90
Sentencing range Band C fine Band B fine Band A fine
Points/disqualification Disqualify 7 – 56 days OR 6 points Disqualify 7 – 28
days OR  4 – 6 points
3 points
  • Must endorse and may disqualify. If no disqualification impose 3 – 6 points
  • Where an offender is driving grossly in excess of the speed limit the court should consider a disqualification in excess of 56 days.

To be convicted of an offence of speeding, the Police and Prosecution must prove each of these elements beyond reasonable doubt.

  • the driver’s identity
  • that they were driving a motor vehicle
  • they were driving in a public place or on a public road
  • That they were at the time exceeding the speed limit

We will be happy to discuss your case with you as there may be one or more defences available to you in respect of your case once we have given consideration to the facts of the case, such as –

  • Factual – you were not speeding
  • Expired time limits i.e. Notice of intended prosecution and summons
  • Signage – The speed limit was not identifiable
  • Speed detection devices – was it approved, operating correctly and operated co

Special Reasons in Speeding Cases

In all speeding cases the magistrates have a discretion not to endorse penalty points for the offence if they are satisfied that there were “special reasons” in connection with the offence.

For instance if you were driving at excess speed owing to an emergency, subject to the facts, it may be argued that penalty points should not be endorsed. There may be other circumstances that lead to you speeding and we will be happy to discuss your case with you and to advise if the explanation would be considered a special reason.

Failure to Identify the Driver

The registered keeper (or any other person) is under a legal obligation to identify the driver of their vehicle if the vehicle is alleged to have committed an offence (e.g. speeding) and they are asked by the police. If you do not identify the driver then you will likely be summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for an offence of “failing to identify the driver”.

If you do not know who the driver is, then it will be a defence if you are able to show that you did not know who the driver was and you have exercised all REASONABLE DILIGENCE to identify the driver.

This means that you will have to show firstly that you did not know who the driver was and secondly that you have taken all reasonable steps to work out who it was.

This will usually mean asking the police for photographic evidence, looking at the location of the offence, the time, speaking to all of the possible drivers and generally doing all that you can to work out who it was.

If you find yourself faced with a request from the police and unable to identify the driver you should write to the police explaining the difficulties that you are encountering and if there are a number of possible drivers, providing the names and addresses of these people.

If you are subsequently prosecuted for failing to provide driver information, this letter will provide valuable evidence that you have acted reasonably and done all that you can

Failure to identify driver penalty

Failing to identify the driver carries 6 penalty points or an immediate ban, and a fine of up to £1,000.

However, if handled correctly, you have a very good chance of winning your case. Notices requiring you to identify a driver or disclose driver details are sent out by the Central Ticket Office. This office is staffed by civilians, not police officers, and such notices are mass produced by computer. This means that staff from the Central Ticket Office often misunderstand and misapply the law, and there is often a margin for error.

If you have been charged with failing to identify a driver, or failing to provide driver details, there are several ways that the case can be defended.

 

EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP & TOTTING UP 12 PENALTY POINTS

By law if you accumulate 12 Penalty Points or more within a three year period you will be summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court and face disqualification for a minimum period of 6 months. This is commonly known as a “totting up” disqualification.

Motorists finding themselves in this position can make an application to the court not to disqualify on the grounds of “exceptional hardship”, which is best described as “real hardship”. Exceptional hardship will usually involve real hardship to the motorist or third parties who will be affected. Examples include:

  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of home
  • Disability
  • Inability to care for a loved one
  • Risk of redundancies

If you are at risk of disqualification and wish to advance an exceptional hardship to the Court then the Court will investigate and consider any request not to disqualify you. It is therefore important that any argument is thoroughly prepared and presented, along with appropriate supporting evidence.

We have dealt with numerous exceptional hardship arguments on behalf of our clients and fully appreciate and understand that the prospect of losing your licence and the potential consequences can be a worrying and frightening experience and as such we are here to help.

Thorough preparation and presentation of your case is essential to persuading the Court to exercise its power not to disqualify you.

If you are facing the prospect of a disqualification then please contact us to discuss your case so as we can advise of the options available to you.

 

Our motor law solicitor team cover all areas including Liverpool, Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire, Clwyd. We specialise in all motor offences including drink driving offences, drug driving offences, speeding offences, penalty point, failing to stop offences, using your mobile phone while driving offences. Contact us for a free initial telephone advice session with an experienced motor solicitor on 07398169441 or email motorlaw@levinslaw.co.uk