Hammond Trotter Solicitors are experts in speeding cases and will take a detailed look at all the evidence that has been collated by all parties in your case. If a speed camera or trap was used we will investigate as to whether the device was properly calibrated and issues relating to distance and alignment checks. It is our aim to provide you with total confidence in your speeding defence.
How to contest a charge of speeding
Even if you are intending to contest the speeding charge you must still return the completed section 172 notice within 28 days and confirm that you were the driver of the vehicle. The following are some potential defences to a speeding charge:
- You were not speeding
- The speed limit was not indicated
- The wrong vehicle was identified by the speed camera
- You were not driving the vehicle
If you wish to formally contest the speeding charge you should seek legal advice to ascertain the chances of you winning your case. If it is decided that you have a case you should fill in the appropriate section and return the fixed penalty notice form to the address on the ‘request court hearing slip’. You will then receive a court summons. With the court summons you will be provided with a ‘plea and mitigation’ form which must be filled in and returned prior to the court date. You have two plea options as follows and must provide notification of your choice on the form:
1. Guilty with mitigating circumstances
You are able to submit a mitigation statement by post explaining the circumstances surrounding the charge, the reason you were speeding and any reasons why you should not be heavily punished. Once in court when you have pleaded guilty this information will be presented to the Magistrates who will then decide if your mitigating circumstances are viable and take them into account when sentencing.
2. Not guilty
You will be required to make your not guilty plea at your initial hearing, whereupon your case will be relisted for trial. Your solicitor will make a request to see the prosecution’s evidence before the trial and will examine the evidence in detail, building your defence accordingly. At your trial the prosecution must prove all of their arguments; that you were the driver of the vehicle and that you exceeded the legal speed limit. It is the job of your solicitor to prove that you are not guilty.
There is always a risk that if you are found guilty, the punishment will be more severe than those attached to the Fixed Penalty Notice. However, if you are declared not guilty, you will walk away without being penalised.
Speeding is an issue that affects thousands of people in the UK every year, in different ways. If you exceed the speed limit and have been caught in the act you still have legal rights. If you are caught speeding by a police offer it is possible that you may receive only a verbal warning. However, depending upon the severity of the speeding you could also be:
- Offered the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course. You will have to pay for this, and in doing so you will not receive points on your license
- Issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice with a fine, 3 penalty points will be added to your license
- Taken to court and prosecuted, if found guilty you could be fined, receive penalty points or be disqualified from driving
A person is prosecuted for speeding according to the amount they were exceeding the speed limit. The Association of Chief Police Officers recommends that police adhere to the following table when they are required to enforce a speed limit and that enforcement by prosecution should not be considered when it is lower than the speeds outlined below.
|Limit||Device tolerance||Fixed Penality when education is appropriate||Speed Awareness if appropriateFromTo||Summons in all other cases and above|
These are only guidelines and do not (and legally cannot) replace a police officer’s discretion; they are issued for guidance only.
Procedure when caught speeding
If you are caught speeding by a speed camera or police officer with a camera and you are not asked to stop at the scene you will receive notification of the offence, notification of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and a section 172 notice. You must fill in the section 172 notice and disclose the identity of the person driving the vehicle at the time of the offence. You must respond within 28 days, if you do not you are committing a separate offence which could lead to a further fine and 6 points added to your driving licence or a potential driving disqualification. A notice of intended prosecution is not required if the speeding offence happened during a road traffic accident. Upon returning the Notice of Intended Prosecution, for minor speeding offences, it is usual to receive a conditional offer of a fixed penalty notice which you can accept or you can choose to contest the speeding charge in a court. If you were speeding considerably the police will choose to prosecute in court, in which case you will be sent a court summons.
- If you admit speeding, a fixed penalty of points and a fine is the minimum penalty you will receive
- In most cases you will be allowed to view the photographic evidence taken by the speed camera involved
- When Magistrates are deciding upon a suitable penalty, they will take into account any mitigating circumstances