Speeding

When it comes to speeding, the internet is a maze of misinformation and promises of supposed ‘loopholes’. Whilst some speeding allegations are indeed defendable, in many cases we advise that you accept the offence and mitigate to try to achieve the most lenient sentence possible.

In order to prove a speeding allegation the Crown Prosecution Service must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you were:

  • ( A ) The driver;
  • ( B ) driving a motor vehicle;
  • ( C ) on a road (or other public place);
  • ( D ) at a speed that exceeded the limit for the road in question.

To defend the allegation you will need to successfully cast a doubt upon one of these points.

You will either have been stopped and identified yourself as the driver at the scene, or you will have nominated yourself as the driver upon receipt of a S172 request for driver information. You will fail if you later try to argue in Court that you were not the driver. It is also likely that you were driving a motor vehicle, and that you were on a road (or public place) at the time.

The majority of contested cases are on the grounds of the speed alleged, and will usually rely upon either a procedural or technical error, or the admissibility of evidence.
If you do not have a defence available to you, the circumstances surrounding the offence may afford you a Special Reasons argument . This is a technical argument, which does not amount to a defence, but offers the Court the discretion not to impose penalty points or disqualification. The most common example of a Special Reason for speeding is emergency.

Our motoring offence solicitors are genuine experts at what we do, and will give you sound advice, having listened to your account and viewed the available evidence. We will only ever advise you to try to defend a matter if your argument has merit, and will ensure that you are fully aware of the potential risks and options available to you.

CHALLENGING THE EVIDENCE:

There are many methods of conducting speed checks, and a wide range of devices used. We are highly experienced in analysing the procedures followed, to establish whether the evidence is reliable or not. If your speed was detected by a GATSO (static speed camera) we can obtain the photographic evidence and carry out a secondary check, to ensure that the evidence is reliable. Other speeding offences are detected by an officer operating a handheld device, such as an LTI 20/20 or Pro-laser III or an in-car following / being followed speed check using a Vascar device or calibrated speedometer.

The CPS usually only provide sufficient evidence upon which to prove their case, which often consists of a Police Officer’s statement and photographic evidence. If you wish to challenge the evidence or conduct further checks it may be necessary to enter a not guilty plea, to trigger further disclosure. This can result in loss of credit in sentence should you later change your plea, or be found guilty. This is why it is so important to seek expert legal advice before entering a plea. Our legal team are used to considering the evidence generated by speed detection devices, and will be able to tell you whether the check was conducted and recorded properly, and calibration checks carried out correctly.

Note that S1 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 requires a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to have been served for this offence. This must be either:

  • ( A ) given verbally at the scene if stopped by a Police Officer;
  • ( B ) sent by post to the registered keeper of the vehicle involved within 14 days from the commission of the alleged offence
  • ( C ) a court summons must be served upon the driver within 14 days of the alleged offence (this rarely happens).

If the driver, or registered keeper, is not warned of the intention to prosecute in accordance with S1 RTOA 1988 then they cannot be prosecuted for speeding.

If you dispute the speed alleged, or do not believe that the NIP was served correctly, our road traffic offence team will advise you on the strength of the evidence and discuss your options with you. If you instruct us shortly after the incident, we can make representations to the Police that they consider taking no further action. If a summons has already been issued, we will work hard on your behalf to try to persuade the CPS to discontinue the matter. If not, we can represent you either at your trial in the Magistrates’ Court or at a Crown Court Appeal.

SPEED AWARENESS COURSE

Regardless of whether you were stopped at the scene, or later nominated as the driver, you may be offered a place on the National Speed Awareness course as an alternative to prosecution. The course is reserved for minor speeds (this varies from one Force area to another, but the general rule is 10% + 9). For example, for speeding offences committed within a 30mph zone the maximum speed that would be considered for the course would be 42mph.

You can only complete the course if you have not previously completed one within a 3 year period preceding the alleged offence. Participation on the course is an admission of guilt. You will be given a date upon which you must accept or reject the course, and a summons to court will be issued if you book a place on the course which you later do not attend, or fail.

The speed awareness course costs in the region of £100, although this varies from one Force area to another, and usually involves around half a day in a classroom environment. Successful completion of the course will resolve the matter, and it is therefore advisable to attend one if it is offered, and if you believe that you were guilty of the offence, as a means of avoiding penalty points on your licence.

If you have not been offered a place on the National Speed Awareness course, but believe that you are eligible, contact our motoring offence solicitors. Our legal team can make enquiries and try to persuade the Police to allow you to participate.

CONDITIONAL OFFER OF A FIXED PENALTY:

If you are not eligible for the Speed Awareness Course, the Police may issue a conditional offer of a fixed penalty. The Fixed Penalty offer for speeding is 3 points plus a £100 fine. As per the course, a fixed penalty offer is only made for modest speeding offences. Anything over the threshold for a fixed penalty will be referred to Court and you will receive a summons.

If the speed alleged was eligible, you have not previously completed the course, and if you have 8 or fewer valid points on your driving licence (valid points are those which were committed 3 years before the date of the offence in question) then you should be offered a fixed penalty. If you have 9 or more active points on your licence you will not be able to accept the offer, and the matter will proceed to court. This is because you will be at risk of a mandatory minimum 6 month disqualification for “totting up” 12 or more points within a 3 year period. When a defendant is at risk of disqualification they must appear before the Court.

Be aware that financial penalties in the Magistrates’ Court will exceed the £100 fine offered for a fixed penalty. Therefore if you accept the speed alleged and you do not wish to contest the matter it is advisable to accept the fixed penalty offer.

PENALTY LEGAL SPEED LIMIT EXCESS SPEED FINE
3 points 20 – 30mph
40-50mph
60-70mph
Up to 10mph
Up to 15mph
Up to 20mph
A
4-6 points OR disqualify 7 – 28 days 20-30 mph
40-50 mph
60-70 mph
From 11-20mph
From 16-25mph
From 21-30mph
B
6 points OR disqualify up to 56 days 20-30 mph
40-50 mph
60-70 mph
from 21-30 mph
from 26-35 mph
from 31-40 mph
C

  • We are specialist motoring defence solicitors, based in Plymouth in the South West. We provide expert legal advice and representation to clients both across Devon and Cornwall and nationally. Contact a member of our motoring legal team for an initial discussion about any road traffic matter.**