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Have you been offered a Fixed Penalty Notice? We’re here to help.
At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we specialise in representing motorists who have been offered a Fixed Penalty Notice for a range of offences.
The most common offences include speeding, driving with no insurance, careless driving and using a mobile phone (whilst driving).
What is a FPN (Fixed Penalty Notice)?
If you are suspected to have committed a road traffic offence, you may receive a Notice Of Intended Prosecution. This notice warns you that you may be prosecuted for an alleged motoring offence.
If this happens, you will be asked to provide the details of the person that was driving the vehicle in question at the time of the alleged offence.
For minor traffic offences, you may then be offered a Fixed Penalty Notice, often abbreviated to FPN. This is an alternative to prosecution, as part of the criminal justice system.
What offences can lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice?
A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) can be issued by the police for the following offences:
- Driving without due care and attention (careless driving)
- No insurance
- Using a mobile phone
- Failing to identify the driver
- Minor parking offences
- Defective brakes
- Opening car doors in a manner to cause danger or injury
- Driving with a dangerous load
- Defective Tyres
- Failing to comply with a traffic sign
- Failing to display excise licence
- Motorcyclist failing to wear a helmet
- Failing to display excise licence
- Construction and document offences
If you are suspected to have committed one of these offences, you may receive a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Endorsable vs Non-Endorsable FPNs
Fixed Penalty Notices can be endorsable or non-endorsable.
An endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice is one which consists of a fine, as well as penalty points being endorsed onto your driving licence.
A non-endorsable FPN is simply a fine, without any penalty points being endorsed.
Whether the FPN is endorsable or non-endorsable will depend on the alleged offence that is suspected to have been committed.
The fine for a Fixed Penalty Notice will be determined by the severity of the alleged offence. It will be either £50, £100, £200 or £300.
The most common FPNs include:
- Speeding (typically 3 points and £100 penalty)
- Using a mobile phone whilst driving (typically 6 points and £200 penalty)
- Driving without insurance (typically 6 points and £300 penalty)
- Careless driving (3 points and £100 penalty)
How much is the fine?
As we’ve already discussed, there are two types of FPN: non-endorsable and endorsable. Let’s take a closer look at the fine or penalty point endorsement that you could receive with each of these types of fixed penalties.
1) Non-endorsable FPNs
These are either for £50.00 or £100.00 and do not attract any penalty points.
£50.00 fixed penalties include:
- Neglect of traffic regulations (e.g. failing to conform to traffic signs – give way, roundabout vehicle priority, box junction road markings)
- Negligent use of a motor vehicle (e.g. not in proper control, driver not having full view ahead, opening the door as to cause injury)
- Vehicle registration and excise licence offences (e.g. registration mark not easily readable)
- Motorway offences (e.g. stopping a vehicle on the hard shoulder)
- Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition (e.g. windows not clear and unobstructed, no windscreen wipers)
- Neglect of pedestrian Rights (e.g. driving elsewhere than on the road)
- Lighting offences (e.g. lamps not showing steady light, misuse of head/fog lamps)
- Noise offences (e.g. causing unnecessary noise, sounding the horn at night)
- Load offences (e.g. exceeding weight restriction)
- Cycle and motorcycle offences (e.g. cycling on a footpath, not wearing protective headgear for motorcyclists)
£100.00 fixed penalties include:
- Failure to wear a seat belt whilst driving
- Vehicle test offence (use of a motor vehicle without test certificate)
- Miscellaneous offences (failure to display vehicle licence)
2) Endorsable FPNs
These are for either £100.00, £200.00 or £300.00 and also endorse either 3 or 6 penalty points.
£100 and 3 Penalty Points offences include:
- Speeding offences
- Motorway offences (e.g. reversing on a motorway, driving on hard shoulder/central reservation)
- Careless driving (e.g. tailgating, middle lane hogging)
- Neglect of traffic directions (e.g. not stopping at red traffic light)
- Neglect of pedestrian rights (e.g. stopping within limits of zebra/pelican/puffin crossing)
- Load offences (e.g. danger of injury due to the number of passengers or manner in which they are carried)
- Motorcycle offences (e.g. carrying more than one passenger)
£200 and 6 Penalty Points offences include:
- Using a mobile phone whilst driving
- Failing to give the driver information
£300 and 6 Penalty Points offences include:
- Driving a vehicle without insurance
‘On the Spot’ Fixed Penalty Notices for endorsable offences
If you are stopped by the police and they have reason to believe that a road traffic offence has been committed, you may be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice on the spot.
This can only be done if the police officer can establish that any penalty point endorsement would not result in the licence holder accumulating 12 or more points (“totting up”) within 3 years.
If you are issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice at the roadside, you will have 28 days to either accept the penalty notice, pay the fine and surrender your licence for endorsement, or to reject the notice, opting to go to court to defend your case.
If you are stopped at the roadside and the officer is unable to establish how many points are on your driving licence, then they may issue you with a notice that informs you that if you surrender your driving licence at your local police station within 7 days and it is shown that the endorsement of penalty points will not result in the accumulation of more than 12 penalty points, then you will be entitled to accept a Fixed Penalty Notice.
If in either case, the number of points already endorsed on your licence will mean that the addition of further points will mean that you have accumulated 12 or more points (“totted up”) within 3 years, then a Fixed Penalty Notice may not be issued.
Are Fixed Penalty Notices only given for speeding?
Although originally used only for parking infractions in the 1950s, FPNs are now used to deal with anything from anti-social behaviour and dog control offences to speeding and neglecting pedestrian rights. The table below contains some of the endorsable and non-endorsable motoring offences you may receive a charge for.
|Non-Endorsable Offences Examples||Endorsable Offences Examples|
|Neglect of Document and Vehicle Ownership Regulations||Using a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate||Failure to identify the driver|
|Driving without third party insurance|
|Neglect of Traffic Regulations||Failing to adhere to roundabout vehicle priority||Failing to stop at a red traffic light|
|Negligent driving or use of a vehicle||Opening a car door in a manner that may cause injury, or driving with a restricted view of the road||Careless driving, such as tailgating or reckless overtaking|
|Vehicle registration offences, such as neglecting to ensure your registration mark is easily readable||Speeding offences|
|Vehicle parts in a dangerous or defective condition, such as broken lights or missing windscreen wipers||Unrestrained animals that cause a distraction while driving, such as an unsecured dog on the back seat|
|Lighting offences, such as misuse of headlights||Using a handheld mobile phone while driving|
|Failure to wear a seatbelt|
|Motorway Offences||Stopping on a hard shoulder without a valid reason||Reversing on a motorway or driving in lanes marked with a red ‘X’|
|Neglect of Pedestrian Rights||Driving on pavements or failing to stop at pedestrian crossings||Stopping within limits of a zebra crossing|
|Load Offences||Exceeding vehicle weight restrictions||Danger of injury due to the number of passengers being carried or the manner in which they are carried|
|Motorcycle Offences||Failing to wear protective headgear||Carrying more than one passenger|
|Other Offences||Noise offences, such as causing unnecessary noise from your vehicle|
Fixed Penalty Notice For Speeding
85% of FPNs issued in 2018 were speed related.
Although the general rules for speeding FPNs and other FPNs are the same, there are a few other things you may want to know about Fixed Penalty Notices for speeding.
The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points on your licence (unless you are eligible to attend a speed awareness course, which will still require the payment of a fine in addition to attendance). The penalty, however, is variable and dependent on where you were speeding and how far over the limit you were speeding at.
The maximum penalty is £1,000, and £2,500 for speeding on the motorway. The maximum number of points on your licence is 6, however, you could also face disqualification or a driving suspension.
You could also be disqualified from driving if you build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of 3 years.
The figures below represent the typical fines for each band (A, B and C). Serious offences and mitigating circumstances could raise or lower the fine within that band.
|Band A||Band B||Band C|
|Speeding band per speed limit zone||In a 20mp/h zone||21-30||31-40||41+|
|In a 30mp/h zone||31-40||41-50||51+|
|In a 40mp/h zone||41-55||56-65||66+|
|In a 50mp/h zone||51-65||66-75||76+|
|In a 60mp/h zone||61-80||81-90||91+|
|In a 70mp/h zone||71-90||91-100||101+|
|Fine by band||25-75% of weekly income||75-125% of weekly income||125-175% of weekly income|
|Points/disqualification||3 points||4-6 points or disqualification for 7-28 days||6 points or disqualification for 7-56 days|
Am I allowed 10% leeway of the speed limit?
Many people believe that there is a 10% leeway allowed on all speed limits. However, this is not necessarily true. Although guidance from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) recommends giving drivers a so-called ‘10% plus 2’ leeway, this is more to guide police officers in their discretion when issuing tickets, rather than a hard and fast rule.
Legally, you are liable for a speeding fine as soon as you exceed the limit – even if you are going 71mp/h on a motorway.
Although speed cameras are manually set to be triggered at a certain speed, it can’t be taken for granted that they sit within the 10% leeway. You are always better off sticking to the speed limit.
Conditional offer of an endorsable FPN
If an offence is detected with an automatic device such as a speed camera, you may receive a ‘conditional Fixed Penalty Notice’ through the post.
This is conditional on the payment of the amount of the fine and the surrender of the driving licence within 28 days, showing that the addition of further penalty points will not result in 12 or more penalty points being accumulated within 3 years (“totting up”).
If the fine is not paid or the licence is not surrendered within 28 days, formal prosecution before a Magistrates’ Court may follow.
What happens if you reject a FPN?
If you don’t pay and comply with the terms within 28 days (that means paying the fine and surrendering your driving licence if required), it will be deemed to have been rejected. Alternatively, you can also return the notice, requesting that it is referred to the Magistrates’ Court.
Once the Fixed Penalty Notice has been rejected, you will be given a date to attend the Magistrates’ Court for a hearing.
At the hearing, you will have the chance to put forward a defence to your case, before the Magistrates decide if you are guilty of the offence.
If they find you not guilty, you will be free to go. If they find you guilty, you will be liable for a fine, points on your licence and possibly even disqualification from driving.
Before rejecting, we’d always advise seeking legal advice on the matter. A specialist motor defence lawyer will be able to assess your case and advise you on the best possible action. Should you decide to defend your case in court, your solicitor will be able to prepare the strongest possible defence for your case, giving you the best chance in court.
Call us for a free initial consultation0333 443 2366
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What happens if you accept?
You can choose to accept a Fixed Penalty Notice by paying the fine and surrendering your driving licence if required.
If you choose to accept a Fixed Penalty Notice, you cannot be prosecuted in a Magistrates’ Court for the same offence. This means that no further action will be taken by the courts. However, this also means that you cannot request a court hearing to defend your case.
If you’re unsure of the best course of action after receiving an FPN, we’d always advise seeking legal advice from a specialist motor defence lawyer. They will be able to assess your case and advise you on whether you have grounds to defend the charge in court, or whether it’s best to accept the FPN.
How We Can Help
At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we specialise in the representation of motorists who are offered Fixed Penalty Notices.
If you have received a Fixed Penalty Notice and do not know whether to accept or reject it, please contact us for advice and for a no-obligation consultation on how we can help you.
Commonly Asked Questions About Fixed Penalty Notices
If you have received an FPN it means you have already confirmed you were the person responsible for the offence. At this point you have 28 days in which you can decide to either accept the charge and pay the fine, or decline the charge and seek a court appearance to defend yourself.
If you choose to accept the charge, you can pay online or by cheque. Your FPN will have a notice number and offence code which you will when you accept the charge.
If you choose to reject, the charge then you are entitled to seek a hearing in court. As the FPN is a conditional offer, the court will then withdraw the offer and can then impose higher punishment if you can’t prove your innocence in court.
We’d always advise seeking specialist legal representation if you decide to defend your case in court.
You can reject your Fixed Penalty Notice simply by completing the form on the rear of the notice confirming that you want a court hearing, signing the notice and returning it to the address given.
You should also ensure that if the officer has made a request for you to produce other documents to your local police station, that you do this as required, as this is separate to the fixed penalty notice.
If you are issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice and you do not accept that you have committed the offence or believe that there are circumstances in connection with the offence that should be considered, you should seek legal advice before accepting the notice.
The steps that you should take to accept your Fixed Penalty Notice should be explained to you by the issuing police officer and should be detailed on the fixed penalty notice (or other correspondence) that you receive.
If you receive a Fixed Penalty Notice at the roadside and it is endorsable (for offences such as speeding, no insurance, using a mobile phone and careless driving) and you have surrendered your licence to the officer, then you will simply need to pay the fine within 28 days.
If you are stopped at the roadside and you are unable to surrender your licence, the officer will give you a notice informing you that providing you surrender your licence at a police station within 7 days (and you do not have so many points that the endorsement of further points will mean you accumulate 12 or more penalty points or “totting up”) you will be offered a Fixed Penalty Notice. Provided that you surrender your licence as required within 7 days and pay the penalty within 28 days, you will have accepted the notice.
If your offence was detected by an automatic device such as a speed or traffic light camera, then you will likely be offered a “conditional Fixed penalty”. In order to accept this you will be required to surrender your licence (send it off by post) and to pay the penalty within 28 days. Provided that you do not already have points on your licence that the addition of further penalty points will mean that you will accumulate 12 or more points within three years, then you will be considered to have accepted the penalty.
If you receive a notice at the roadside or a conditional offer of a fixed penalty notice for an endorsable offence, then you will be required to produce your driving licence in order to accept a Fixed Penalty Notice.
If you do not have a driving licence to surrender then you will not be able to accept the Fixed Penalty Notice and your case will be referred to a Magistrates’ Court.
In some cases, you may be able to apply to the DVLA for a replacement driving licence in time to accept the Fixed Penalty Notice. It’s always worthwhile asking the police to extend the time allowed to produce it.
The procedure does not allow the opportunity to explain the surrounding circumstances of an offence and in some cases, this may be a disadvantage.
For instance, if you have been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for driving without insurance and this has not happened through any fault of your own, you may wish to reject your Fixed Penalty Notice and request a hearing in court to argue “special reasons” as to why your licence should not be endorsed with penalty points.
The answer to this is YES, sometimes it can be beneficial to accept a Fixed Penalty Notice and not go to court.
For instance, if you were to be caught driving at 97mph within a 70mph speed limit and the police officer were to offer you a fixed penalty notice this would be for £100 and 3 penalty points.
However, if you were convicted and sentenced at court for this same offence, the Magistrates Sentencing Guidelines would recommend a fine equivalent to 1 weeks income and either endorsement of your licence with 4 to 6 penalty points or disqualification for 7 – to 28 days. All of this, in addition to court costs (usually £65-£85) and a victim impact surcharge (£20 or 10% of your fine).
Whether or not it is beneficial to accept your Fixed Penalty Notice will depend on the circumstances of your case and if you are unsure of what you should do, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.
You are classed as a “new driver” and subject to the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995, if you accumulate 6 or more points on your licence within the first 2 years of driving.
This includes points acquired by way of a Fixed Penalty Notice. If you accept a Fixed Penalty Notice and the number of points given means that in doing so you have accumulated 6 penalty points within your first 2 years of driving, then you will receive separate communication from the DVLA notifying you that your licence is being revoked (for more information please see our “New Drivers” page).
If you are a new driver and you are offered a Fixed Penalty Notice, you should seek advice before accepting any offer. Please feel free to contact us for advice and a no-obligation consultation on how we can help you.
If you have received and accepted an endorsable FPN then you will receive between 2 and 11 points on your licence, depending on the severity of the offence. Although in some cases an immediate disqualification might be recommended.
Depending on the severity of the offence, penalty points will stay on your licence for between four to 11 years.
No, an FPN is issued for minor road traffic offences, and as such is not classed as a criminal conviction. If you pay the fine on time, then that is the end of the matter and liability for the offence is discharged. An FPN is also not a conviction so it will not show up on background checks and is not classes as a caution or reprimand.
Points on your licence can, however, increase your insurance premiums or your job opportunities in cases where employers ask for a clean licence.
If you refuse to pay the fine or challenge it in court and are found guilty, that is classed as a conviction and will appear on a criminal record.
If your FPN was not issued by an officer at the time of the allegation, then you will first receive a Notice of Intention to Prosecute (NIP), asking the registered keeper of the vehicle to identify the driver. This must be issued within 28 days of the date of the offence. After this, an FNP must be issued within 6 months of the date of the offence.
Doing nothing at all with your FPN is initially viewed as acceptance of the terms. The punishment will then be processed and the 28 day limit for payment of fines is enforced. You should be careful of this though because failure to pay or respond can lead to your licence being suspended and fine being enforced without any hearing at all, even if you believe you were innocent.
If you fail to respond after the given time, you will most likely be referred to the magistrate’s court where you will have to defend yourself and will most likely be issued with a larger fine and also have to pay court costs.
Failure to pay this will result in further action and could lead to the court issuing a warrant for your arrest.
If you have received an FPN in the past it does not increase the severity of your current offence. However, it may influence a court assessment and decision of the suitability of a particular sentence, which may then be increased providing it stays within the limits of the penalty for the current offence.
As the FPN is a conditional offer, you are able to reject the notice. You have 28 days in which to do this.
You will need to seek a court hearing, but in doing so the original offer is withdrawn and the court can impose a higher penalty. You could also end up with a conviction on your record that you might otherwise have avoided.
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