If You Have Been Caught Speeding, What Happens Now?
New research carried out by Confused.com has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused speeding offence to sharply rise. While you may think that you have a valid reason for breaking the speed limit, you may face harsh penalties. For this reason, it is important that you understand the process of what happens when you are caught speeding and can use an expert solicitor to support you throughout the process.
During the pandemic, police forces recorded speeding at almost 100mph above the limit on the comparatively empty roads. These offences were recorded by the Metropolitan Police on the M1 and by Humberside Police on the M62 and found that more than 2.2million drivers were caught speeding in 2020 – equivalent to more than 6,000 offences recorded per day, on average. So, what happens if you have been caught speeding?
If you are caught by a speed camera
If you are caught speeding by a speed camera, then you will be sent two legal documents in the post. These are:
- A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)
The purpose of a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) is to inform a potential defendant that they may be prosecuted for an offence they have committed, whilst the incident is still fresh in their memory. When you receive an NIP, it doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to face prosecution, it is a warning that you may face prosecution. The NIP must be served on the driver within 14 days of the offence, otherwise the offence cannot proceed at court. If the details of the driver are not known, then it is sent to the registered keeper. In either case, if it arrives at the relevant address within the time limit, then the notice is valid. NIPs can also be issued verbally to the driver at the time of the offence.
- Section 172 Notice
Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act, 1988, gives the police power to serve notice upon the registered keepers of vehicles, to whom the section applies, of a requirement to identify the driver at the time of an alleged offence. This means that you should identify the driver of the vehicle, whether this was you or someone else driving your car.
You must return the Section 172 notice within 28 days, telling the police who was driving the car. You may have to go to court if you ignore the notice, and after you’ve sent the Section 172 notice back, you’ll be sent either a:
- Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)
- Letter telling you to attend court
If you are stopped by the police
If you’re stopped by the police, they can:
- Give you a verbal warning
- Give or send you an FPN
- Order you to go to court – you’ll be sent a letter telling you what to do
What to do when you have received a Fixed Penalty Notice
There are three types of fixed penalties. These are:
An endorsable ticket carries a fine between £60 and £200, and points will be added to your licence – usually three. This notice must be paid within 21 days. You must hand in your full driving licence, including the paper part, to your local police station within seven days of the offence.
A non-endorsable ticket is a fine of roughly £30, and these must also be paid within 21 days, but you do not need to hand in your driving licence.
Conditional offers are related to offences that are picked up by speed cameras, usually speeding. A conditional offer allows the driver to accept blame and pay a £60 fine, without the need for further action. You will also receive 3 penalty points on your licence.
When you get a FPN, you can choose to plead guilty or not guilty.
If you plead guilty to an endorsable ticket
You’ll have to pay a £100 fine and have 3 points added to your licence, unless you’re given the option to attend a speed awareness course. If you pay the fine, how you pay depends on where you were caught speeding. You can:
- Pay the fine online in England and Wales, or check the ticket for other ways to pay
- Find out how to pay the fine in Scotland
- Contact the Laganside Courts Complex to pay the fine in Northern Ireland
Your driving licence will have a code on it for 4 years.
You may be given the option of attending a speed awareness course if:
- The police decide it’s appropriate for your offence
- You have not been on a speed awareness course in the past 3 years
If you plead not guilty
You’ll have to go to court if you plead not guilty. You can potentially be fined more and get more penalty points if the court decides you’re guilty of speeding. The amount you’re fined depends on what the speed limit was and how much over it you were driving. It’s usually a percentage of your weekly income, up to a maximum of £1,000 (£2,500 if you were driving on a motorway).
You could also be disqualified from driving or have your licence suspended.
If you’re a new driver
If you’re still within 2 years of passing your driving test, your driving licence will be withdrawn if you build up 6 or more penalty points.
When it comes to road traffic offences, the number of variables can mean that the charges you face can vary widely. Getting a specialist solicitor involved can help to put your mind at ease, and make sure that the process is as efficient as possible.
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