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What is a Conditional Offer of a Fixed Penalty?

A Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty Notice is a conditional fine that requires you to either respond by paying the penalty on the notice, or rejecting the charge and contesting it, usually in court. Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty Notices are frequently issued for motoring and traffic offences and can be issued directly to you by a police officer, or could be issued through the post after you have received and responded to a Notice to Prosecute (NIP) in order to verify your identity.

The most common way charges are issued for driving offences are through a Conditional Offer. Conditional Offers are shortened notices that let a driver accept guilt earlier in proceedings, typically in exchange for a lessened punishment. A standard Conditional Offer is usually 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. but is dependent upon the severity of the offence. For more serious crimes like driving without insurance or while using a cellphone, the penalty would be 6 points and a £200 fine.

What is a Fixed Penalty Notice?

A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is offered as an administrative alternative to prosecution in court. They are beneficial for both the offender and the Police as they allow offences to be dealt with quickly and without the additional requirement of court appearances.

As these fixed penalties are conditional, you can choose if you accept the charge and penalty stated on the notice. If you believe you are guilty of the offence then you will accept the penalty which may include a fine, points on your licence, or in some cases a requirement to attend a course. Accepting an FPN means you will not need to appear in court and there will be nothing further.

If you believe you are innocent or that there were mitigating circumstances, then you can choose to refuse or contest the FPN. If you do challenge an FPN then you will have to appear in court to appeal your charge.

There are different types of FPNs for motoring offences. You may receive either an Endorsable Ticket or a Non-Endorsable Ticket. Receiving an endorsable ticket means you will receive points on your licence, non-endorsable tickets mean you will not.

Non-endorsable FPNs are normally issued for £50, although offences like driving without a valid MOT will be £100. Endorsable FPNs mostly cost £100 and you will receive three points on your licence. Endorsable FPNs can also be issued for £200 and £300 and six points on your licence, depending on the offence.

Fixed Penalty Notices are issued for a lot of offences and the severity of the penalty ranges widely depending on the offence.  Motoring offences that may incur an FPN include:

  • Neglect of Document and Vehicle Ownership Regulations, such as driving without a valid MOT or without third party insurance.
  • Neglect of Road and Traffic Regulation, such as failing to adhere to roundabout vehicle priority or failing to stop at a traffic light
  • Negligent Driving or Misuse of a Vehicle, such as failing to wear a seatbelt, speeding, using a mobile phone while driving, or driving with broken or missing car parts such as lights are windscreen wipers
  • Motorway offences, such as stopping on a hard shoulder without a valid reason, or reversing down a motorway
  • Neglect of Pedestrian Rights, such as driving on pavements or stopping within the limits of a zebra crossing
  • Motorcycle offences, such as failing to wear protective headgear or carrying more than one passenger
  • Other offences such as using your horn at night or otherwise causing unnecessary noise
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What must I do if I receive a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty Notice?

Once you have received a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty you must decide if you want to accept guilt and the charge, or if you believe you are guilty and would prefer to contest both the charge and the penalty.

If you choose to accept the charge but fail to pay the fine within the allotted time, then the fine will increase by 50%. If you fail to pay again then the court will enforce the fine and have the option of issuing an arrest warrant if you fail to respond or pay.

If you choose to decline the charge then you are entitled to seek a court hearing, but as the FPN is a conditional offer the court will withdraw the offer on your FPN and can impose higher punishment if you can’t prove your innocence in court. 

Some local police forces accept informal appeals in the form of a letter detailing why you believe you are innocent. If your local police force does not do this, then you will need to request a formal court hearing.

It is always advisable that if you choose to reject your conditional offer of fixed penalty, you find a lawyer to consult on your case who will be able to advise you on your best defence. A lawyer will be able to advise you on local regulations, help you write your appeal, and assist in gathering evidence and witnesses for a court case.

I would like to thank Neil and his team for providing a very thorough and professional service.

What is the Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty Time Limit?

A Conditional Offer must be issued to you within six months of the alleged offence.  

If you have not been issued the FPN in person then the police have 14 days in which to serve a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to the registered keeper of the vehicle. Once they have verified who the driver in the incident was, they will then issue an FPN to the relevant person.

If you have received an FPN you have 28 days in which to accept or reject the charge.  This means you must either pay within 28 days or seek a court hearing for the offence with the help of an experienced road traffic solicitor.

If you do not seek a court hearing, then it is assumed that you have accepted the Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty and you will need to pay the fine within the 28 days limit. Failing to pay is an offence and the fine will double. If you still do not pay within the time stipulated on your notice, you may face arrest and criminal charges.

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Contact Caddick Davies if you receive a conditional offer of an endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice for any of the offences mentioned above. If you believe that mitigating circumstances surround the offence that led to the issuance of an FPN, do not hesitate to reach our specialist motoring lawyers. You may be a motorist who believes that they have not committed the offence. You may be right, but it is always wiser to have a qualified and experienced solicitor offering advice and representing you. In this scenario, a motoring solicitor from Caddick Davies would be ideal.

Having Caddick Davies Solicitors advising and representing you following the issuance of a conditional offer of an endorsable fixed penalty notice is a smart step. Our very capable motoring solicitors are as dedicated as they are qualified, offering highly professional legal care. You can contact us by phone on 03334 432 366, or you can email or request a callback via our website and we’ll respond swiftly to offer reliable legal assistance.

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