What is a speeding offence?
A speeding offence is committed when a motor vehicle is driven above the legal speed limit. There are a number of types of speed limits on our roads, for example:-
- A restricted road (30mph limit) where there are street lights placed no more than 200 yards apart
- A restricted road that has no street lighting but which is the subject to a local speed limit order for which there must be speed limit signage at the start of the limit and at regular intervals
- Dual or single carriageway roads subject either to a local speed limit order or statutory instrument (speed limit signs also required)
- A special road where no signage is required, the most common example being a motorway.
Methods of detection
The basic principle is that a speeding conviction cannot be based on the opinion of one witness’s opinion of speed alone. Therefore a police officer must corroborate his opinion of the speed using either a speedometer or Home Office approved detection device. These include laser and time/distance devices such as VASCAR.
Calibration of devices
Whilst the High Court has decided in recent years that calibration is not strictly necessary in order for there to be a conviction for speeding, its importance should still not be underestimated. Where issue is taken with whether the device was calibrated, the police should still produce evidence that the necessary checks were carried out. If the Court is being asked to make a specific finding in relation to speed, as opposed to simply whether a speeding offence has been committed, then proof that a device was operating reliable is in our view still essential.
An example of these are the dreaded yellow boxes that are increasingly found on our roads. The introduction of Smart Motorways has seen them rise in number over recent years. They normally rely upon Radar technology together with white lines in the road which are used to corroborate the reading produced using at least two digital images. The HADECS devices in place within SMART motorways works in variable speed limit zones by synchronising the device’s speed threshold with the variable speed limit which is displayed on overhead gantries. This results in the device only capturing vehicles which exceed the displayed limit which can be changed manually or autmatically depending on the flow of traffic at the time.
As with any other road traffic offence you do have the right to defend a speeding charge by pleading not guilty. Similarly, if the case against you has already been through the Magistrates’ Court you have the right to appeal against the conviction and/or the sentence imposed.
In all cases other than a restricted road (30mph limit) where there are street lights placed no more than 200 yards apart, speed limit signs must be in place. Unless the police is able to produce evidence of the signs no conviction may follow. This is an area of evidence which we find is often overlooked.
What grounds are there to defend a speeding charge
There are a number of grounds for appeal (both evidential and procedural) which may be utilised. Below is a list of the most common defences used to fight a speeding charge.
• The Notice of intended prosecution was not received OR received out of time
• The Postal requisition (Court summons) not issued in time
• There were doubts over reliability of speed measuring equipment and/or reading produced
• There was a lack of evidence of the permitted speed limit
• The speed limit signage requirements were not adequately met
• There was a defect in the notice of intended prosecution
• Evidence of offence was not presented correctly by the prosecution at trial
We will examine your case in detail to see if any of these (and other) defences can be used to successfully appeal your conviction for speeding.
What penalties could be imposed if I am convicted of speeding?
There are various different penalties that can be imposed on drivers caught driving over the speed limit ranging from penalty points and a fine through to a disqualification. The penalty imposed will depend on your individual circumstances, how fast you were driving and what (if any) existing speeding convictions you have.
For those drivers who are caught doing 1 or 2mph over the limit in a 30 zones, the punishment is likely to be a fine and three penalty points on their licence. However there may be the option to avoid the three points endorsement on your licence by attending a speed awareness course, depending on the speed the driver was travelling and whether a course has been attended in the three years before the date of the offence.
What is totting up?
If you accumulate 12 or more points on your license inside 3 years then consideration will be given to imposing a disqualification of up to 6 months under totting up. The penalty for this is a driving ban of at least 6 months. However, the court has discretion not to impose a driving ban if the defendant can successfully prove the ban would cause them Exceptional Hardship.
If you decide to plead guilty…
The Court may impose the penalty in your absence depending on the level of speed alleged and whether a disqualification is to be considered.
If you decide plead not guilty….
The Court will list your case for trial and the prosecution will be required to prove the facts which are in dispute. For example, if you take issue with whether there was correct speed limit signage in force, the police must produce evidence of this at the trial in order to secure a conviction.
What are my chances of winning an appeal for speeding?
The chances of success depend on the state of the evidence, whether the police has prepared the case against you well and, of course, the quality of the representation you have. We have helped drivers avoid additional penalty points, hefty fines as well as an outright bans for speeding. It is for this reason that it is worth speaking to us to see how using our expertise we could potentially help you avoid incurring penalty points or being banned from driving.
Why you should use us to help fight your speeding charge
The internet is awash with websites that will try to offer you a quick fix, some of which offer a dubious guarantee that they will make your speeding ticket go away. It is unfortunately not as simple as that but there are some technicalities in relation to the correct presentation of evidence and procedure which can and do often lead to cases being dismissed.
Kenway Miller Solicitors have an unparalleled record of successfully defending speeding offences. Sometimes a pragmatic approach is required depending on your individual circumstances and the case at hand. The penalties imposed can vary considerably from one case to the next and for that reason ensuring that you obtain the best possible representation is vital.
Penalty Table – For more advice Call 0800 4334 678
|Speed Limit||Alleged Speed||Range of Penalties|
|20||21-30||Band A fine, 3 points|
|31-40||Band B fine, 4-6 points or disqualification of 7-28 days|
|41-50||Band B fine 6 points or disqualification of 7-56 days|
|30||31-40||Band A fine, 3 points|
|41-50||Band B fine, 4-6 points or disqualification of 7-28 days|
|51-60||Band B fine, 6 points or disqualification of 7 -56 days|
|40||41-55||Band A fine, 3 points|
|56-65||Band B fine, 4-6 points or disqualification of 7-28 days|
|66-75||Band B fine, 6 points or disqualification of 7-56 days|
|50||51-65||Band A fine, 3 points|
|66-75||Band B fine, 4-6 points or disqualification of 7-28 days|
|76-85||Band B fine, 6 points or disqualification of 7-56 days|
|60||61-80||Band A fine, 3 points|
|81-90||Band B fine, 4-6 points or disqualification of 7-28 days|
|91-100||Band B fine, 6 points or disqualification of 7-56 days|
|70||71-90||Band A fine, 3 points|
|91-100||Band B fine, 4-6 points or disqualification of 7-28 days|
|101-110||Band B fine, 6 points or disqualification of 7-56 days|
Band A fine = 50% net weekly income
Band B fine = 100% net weekly income
Band C fine = 150% net weekly income
Disqualifications are normally imposed where a person reaches 12 points on their licence. They can be imposed for single speeding offences as an alternative to points but this tends only to be for very high speeds. For example, in a 70mph limit a disqualification would not normally be considered unless the speed was more than 100mph, where the Court would normally impose 6 points or a disqualification of up to 56 days. If the speed is over 110mph disqualification becomes more likely.
If there are extenuating circumstances such as a medical emergency this may be used to avoid endorsement but it must be shown that there was no reasonable alternative other than to drive at a speed above the limit.
If you have not yet been charged with the offence but have simply been issued with a notice of intended prosecution, there is little point asking for technical information at this stage. The police are well used to dealing with such requests and are under no obligation to provide evidence. They will normally provide copies of any photographic evidence and will sometimes provide other information upon request. They will normally proceed towards prosecution regardless unless there are obvious flaws in the evidence. Occasionally the photographic evidence will show flaws in the speed measurement, but requesting calibration certificates does not normally serve any purpose.
If you are charged with the speeding offence and wish to challenge the speed reading then you are entitled to ask for whatever technical information you believe to be relevant and this can be passed on to an expert witness if appropriate.
A verbal NIP (notice of intended prosecution) must be given at the time of the alleged offence or in writing to the registered keeper within 14 days. If you were not stopped at the time, are the registered keeper of the vehicle and have not heard anything within 14 days this is a defence. If you have received the NIP out of time this is also a defence but one that must be proven in Court. If you are not the registered keeper then you should check with them to see if they received it in time.
Sometimes the police will issue an NIP bit will not instigate proceedings. The police has 6 months from the date of the alleged offence to start proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court. Sometimes, the police will issue proceedings but will not serve the court charges until outside the 6 month period which can often cause uncertainty as to whether the proceedings are valid. In such circumstances, obtaining legal advice is essential.