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Court Summons For Speeding: What Are Your Next Steps?
If you’ve received a court summons for speeding, you may understandably be feeling concerned. Whether you’re worried about the penalty for speeding, the implications on your job or livelihood, or the prospect of being left with a criminal record, we’re here to help.
At Caddick Davies, we have supported thousands of motorists through the legal process after they have received a Single Justice Procedure Notice for speeding. Whether you want to challenge the allegation that you were speeding, or you accept that you were speeding but want to minimise the potential penalties, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll explain what your next steps should be and what will happen when you go to court for your alleged speeding offence.
If you’ve been summoned to court for speeding, you’re likely to be wondering what you should do next. The first thing to do is to instruct a solicitor who is experienced in dealing with motoring offences. This will give you the best possible chance of challenging the allegation or minimising the potential penalty.
Continue reading to find out more about what to do if you receive a court summons as a result of a speeding offence.
You can be caught speeding by driving past a fixed or mobile speed camera, or being caught by an in-car police speed monitoring system. Sometimes you may see a flash as a speed camera captures an image of your vehicle, or you may be pulled over by a police officer, but the majority of the time you won’t know anything about the offence until you receive a letter from the local police force or a court summons through the post.
If you’re caught speeding by a speed camera, you’ll be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and a Section 172 notice within 14 days of the alleged offence. The Section 172 notice will ask you to identify the driver of your car during the alleged offence. You’ll need to return this within 28 days, to tell the police who was driving the car. Failing to return the Section 172 notice could lead to prosecution.
After returning the Section 172 to the police, you’ll then be sent either a:
Which of these you receive will depend on how fast you were allegedly driving, the speed limit of the area that you were in and whether you already have any points on your driving licence.
If you’re stopped by the police for allegedly speeding, the next steps will depend on how fast you were driving and the action that the police officer deems appropriate.
The options available to the police officer include:
If you believe that you have been wrongly given a Fixed Penalty Notice for speeding, you can dispute it. However, it’s worth noting that if your dispute is unsuccessful, you are likely to end up with a much higher fine and potentially a criminal record. You’ll also need to seek professional legal advice to assist with your case.
Before deciding to dispute a Fixed Penalty Notice for speeding, it’s worth consulting a specialist motoring offences solicitor for advice. They can advise you on your chances of successfully disputing the Fixed Penalty Notice based on your individual circumstances and help you to find the best way forward with your case.
There are a wide range of defences which could be argued in speeding cases, depending on the facts of the incident. Defences to a speeding charge include:
There may also be other defences to a speeding charge, depending on the individual circumstances and details of your case.
Whilst many speeding cases are dealt with through a Fixed Penalty Notice or the offer of a speed awareness course, some cases will go to court.
If you choose to dispute your Fixed Penalty Notice, or if you ignore it, you’ll need to go to court. More serious speeding offences may also be sent to the courts without offering the option of a Fixed Penalty Notice or a speed awareness course.
A speeding fine does not automatically earn you a criminal record. If you pay a Fixed Penalty within the permitted 28 day period or attend a speed awareness course, it will not be added to your criminal record.
Going to court in itself is not a criminal offence. However, if you are found guilty in a court of a motoring offence, it will be recorded as a criminal conviction but this shouldn’t alarm you as speeding convictions common and are usually treated differently to convictions for more serious criminal offences. Conversely, if you are found innocent of the speeding offence, it will not appear on your criminal record.
The penalty for a speeding offence will depend on the severity of the alleged offence, as well as your income.
A Fixed Penalty for a speeding offence is £100 and the endorsement of three penalty points. However, if the case goes to a Magistrates’ Court, you could be fined up to £1000 if the offence is on any road other than a motorway and £2,500 if the alleged offence occurred on a motorway.
For less serious offences of speeding the magistrates will endorse between 3 and 6 penalty points and for more serious offences will impose a period of disqualification which can range from days to months.
The fine, number of penalty points and the potential length of disqualification will be determined by the speed that you were driving, the speed limit of the road and also the circumstances of the offence.
For example, if you were driving at 45mph in a 40mph zone, you’d be likely to receive 3 penalty points along with a fine of 50% of your weekly income. However, if you were driving at 66mph or higher in a 40mph zone, the court will consider whether to disqualify you from driving for between 7 and 56 days or to endorse 6 penalty points. You could also face a fine of around 150% of your weekly income.
If you’ve committed a less serious speeding offence, you may be offered a speed awareness course as an alternative to a Fixed Penalty Notice or formal prosecution. All 42 police forces in England and Wales have the discretion to offer this to alleged offenders.
To be eligible to be offered a speed awareness course, the speed you were allegedly travelling will need to be under the limit agreed by the Association of Chief Police Offices (ACPO). This is 10% of the speed limit, plus 9mph. So, if the speed limit was 40mph, you’d be eligible for a speed awareness course up to 53mph. (40mph + 4mph (10% of the speed limit) + 9mph)
However, you can only take a speed awareness course every three years. This means that if you commit another speeding offence within three years of completing a speed awareness course, you will not be eligible to take another course.
If you believe that you should be eligible to take a speed awareness course, contact us for advice.
A police officer will need to have evidence of your speeding before you can receive a court summons. This evidence could be evidence which is automatically created, such as by a speed camera or might be evidence from the police officer himself including the use of a handheld speed camera, Average Speed Detection Device (e.g. VASCAR) or even a follow check, with the police officer relying upon his speedometer to give evidence of your speed.
Depending on the way that your speed has been detected, you may be able to challenge any suggestion that you were speeding. As this is quite complicated area of law, if you do think that a mistake has been made you should speak to one of our specialist motoring solicitors who can advise you on any evidence in your case.
If you receive a court summons for a speeding offence, it’s always best to consult with a solicitor who specialises in motoring offences. If you decide to plead guilty, they can support you in securing the lowest penalties possible for your offence.
If you decide to challenge the allegation, hiring a specialist motoring offences solicitor will give you the best possible chance of preparing a successful defence. Hiring the right solicitor could be the difference between you being proven innocent or receiving a criminal record, so it’s important to get it right.
Being even 1mph over the speed limit is an offence that could lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued. However, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) recommends that police forces give motorists leeway of ‘10% plus 2’.
It’s down to the individual police force how they choose to calibrate speed cameras. Some forces may choose to use the ‘10% plus 2’ rule, whilst others may calibrate their cameras for the exact speed limit. For this reason, you should never rely on any leeway being given. Staying safely within the speed limit is the best way to make sure that you avoid being prosecuted for speeding.
Whether or not a driving offence goes to court depends on the severity of the case. Most speeding offences are dealt with through a Fixed Penalty Notice or the offer of a speed awareness course, meaning that they never go to court. However, more serious driving offences such as drink driving or dangerous driving will almost always go to court.
If you’ve received a court summons for an allegation of a driving offence, it’s best to get a specialist motoring offence solicitor on your side. They can work with you to put together a strong defence if you choose to challenge the allegation, or help to negotiate a lighter penalty if you decide to plead guilty.
A court summons marks the beginning of a legal case, notifying the defendant that proceedings are being brought against them. In the UK, a court summons can be served either in person or by post. If it is served by post, it will be sent by recorded delivery or registered proof, so that the court has proof that the summons has been delivered.
If you’ve received a Single Justice Procedure Notice informing you that you are being prosecuted for a speeding offence, you’re likely to be concerned about the potential implications, both in terms of the penalty that you could face and the prospect of being left with a criminal record.
The best thing to do when you receive a court summons for speeding is to hire a specialist speeding solicitor. If you wish to challenge the case, we can work with you to build a successful defence using our expert knowledge and legal insight.
Should you choose to admit an error and plead guilty to the alleged speeding offence, we can use our extensive knowledge of road traffic law to minimise any penalty that might be imposed. This could include arguing for a speed awareness course instead of prosecution or minimising the number of penalty points or the length of a disqualification.
If you’re looking for expert legal advice for your speeding charge, contact us today for a free consultation.
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