What is the law on speeding?
It is an offence to exceed the speed limit set for the vehicle in question on any road.
Clearly, there will be different speed limits in place for different vehicles on different roads but, Section 81 imposes a speed limit of 30 on "restricted roads" whereas Section 84 normally applies to speed limits other than 30 mph.
What is a restricted road?
A restricted road is what most would regard as a "built up" area, albeit that term is not actually referred to in the Road Traffic Act. Restricted means a road where there is a system of street lighting, by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart or a road in respect of which the relevant authority has made a direction that it shall be a restricted road, notwithstanding the absence of such street lighting. The speed limits in place on unrestricted roads will vary depending on the nature of the road and the nature of the vehicle.
Can I request a speed awareness course?
No. If a Single Justice Procedure Notice has been issued, there is no longer any prospect of resolving matters by attending a speed awareness course, as that can only be offered by the Police/Process Unit. It is not amongst the range of penalties that can be imposed by a Court.
What is the penalty for speeding?
Speeding offences are normally dealt with by 3 to 6 penalty points, plus a fine up to £1,000 for non-motorway offence or up to £2,500 for motorway allegations. Serious offences can result in immediate disqualification.
What speed triggers an instant driving ban?
Based on the driver having a clean licence for more than 3 years and pleading guilty at the first opportunity, the Court guidelines are:
|Speeding Ban Court Guidelines|
|Speed Limit||Recorded Speed (mph)|
|Penalty||3 penalty points||4-6 points OR
7-28 day ban
|7-56 day ban
OR 6 points
As can be seen, in some circumstances, the Court can impose a ban or penalty points. Obtaining advice before you respond to the Single Justice Procedure Notice may well influence that decision.
6+ Points / New Driver?If you have 6+ penalty points, or passed your test less than 2 years before the offence, seek legal advice before replying as there may be serious additional implications.
How do I obtain a lenient penalty?
The penalty range is based on Court guidelines for the severity of the offence, taking into account the speed limit, the type of road, the speed recorded, the time of day, your circumstances/driving record etc. However, the Magistrates have complete discretion and can impose any penalty they feel appropriate. To obtain the most favourable outcome, your mitigation needs to address, the relevant issues but without highlighting aggravating factors which can increase the penalty.
What if this is my first speeding offence, will this make a difference?
If you have a previously impeccable record, it may assist on mitigation, subject to the exact circumstances of the incident.
If I face a speeding ban, can I avoid a ban with strong mitigation?
What if I admit I was speeding, but not as fast as alleged?
If there is a minor issue regarding the speed alleged than that accepted, you may be best off cutting your losses and concentrating on mitigation. However, if there is a major dispute, you have the option to request a Newton hearing and should do so, as if a lower speed is accepted, the punishment will be reduced.
What if I was speeding due to an emergency?
The defence of "emergency" is extremely limited and will normally only apply if you can demonstrate that you were under threat or immediate attack or danger. Rushing somebody to hospital is not normally acceptable as a defence but could amount to special reasons. These issues will depend heavily on the exact circumstances and it would be prudent to seek detailed advice before responding to the Single Justice Procedure Notice.
What if I rejected a Fixed Penalty Notice?
If you have rejected a Fixed Penalty Notice, you may find that the Court is keen to increase the penalty so, again, strong mitigation is required.
Should I seek legal advice?
It makes sense to obtain assistance for these offences given the wide penalty range and the fact that, in some matters, a written plea may be rejected, and the case listed for a personal attendance if the Court is considering disqualification. Different Courts approach speeding cases in different ways and we can guide you on what is most likely to be successful mitigation for the Court dealing with your case.
Seeking legal advice and guidance will normally pay for itself in reducing the fine and overall penalty.