With a lot of misunderstanding surrounding current driving laws, such as whether you will definitely face a mandatory driving ban for six months if you have accrued 12 penalty points within three years, or whether a fine of 150% of your weekly income will be imposed even if you’ve only gone slightly over the speed limit, our driving experts at Keep Me On The Road aim to clear up the confusion by answering some of the most frequently asked questions:
Will I be prosecuted for speeding if I’ve only gone slightly over the speed limit?
Although an offence has been committed once you travel even 1mph over the speed limit, enforcing the offence to this degree would not be practical. It would put a strenuous duty on drivers to pay such close attention to their odometers that they could not practically pay attention to the road in front of them. It would also place an overly onerous duty of drivers to ensure their odometers are precisely calibrated as someone with a odometer that’s gone fractionally out of calibration could innocently think they were travelling at the speed limit when in fact they are travelling ever so slightly faster.
With this in mind the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) publish guidance as to when speeding drivers will be prosecuted for the offence and this guidance allows a tolerance for the calibration of the device of 2mph and a further discretion to be able to drive in excess of 10% of the speed limit.
Speed Limit Device Tolerance Prosecution of Offence
20mph 22mph 24mph
30mph 32mph 35mph
40mph 42mph 46mph
50mph 52mph 57mph
60mph 62mph 68mph
There is a chance that if the speeding offence is relatively minor you will offered a speed awareness course. You can take one course every three years. ACPO publish guidance as to when a course can be offered but this is a discretionary offer and varies in each case.
For the lower level speeding offences the prosecution will usually be disposed of by way of a fixed penalty notice in lieu of taking the offence through the Court system. This will be 3 points and a £100 fine.
If you have failed to accept a fixed penalty or where the speed driven starts to become a little more in excess of the limit then the offence will be dealt with through Court system via the Single Justice Procedure. For guidance on the likely penalty for any given offence see the Sentencing Guidelines published by the Sentencing Council here: http://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/item/speeding-revised-2017/
Will I face a fine of 1 ½ times my weekly income for going just above the speed limit?
Once a speeding offence enters the Court system the fines imposed are assessed on your weekly income. Since the rules on speeding changed in April of this year, the maximum fine for a speeding offence has extended to 150% times your weekly income. This only applies to speeding offences that are regarded as the most serious offences where the speed driven is grossly in excess of the given speed limit. This category is for the most serious speeding offences, such as driving at 41mph in a 20mph zone, 51mph in a 30mph zone, or over 101mph in a 70mph zone. The consequences will be a fine which can extend up to 150% of your weekly income alongside either a driving disqualification or 6 penalty points. The fine is actually capped at £2,500 and cannot extend beyond this amount. If the offence was not committed on a motorway then the fine is capped at £1000. A guilty plea will usually entitle you to 1/3 off any fine imposed.
It is important to note that the fine is not set in stone, and where mitigating circumstances apply then the penalty could be reduced.
Do I have to stop driving for 6 months if I have accrued 12 penalty points?
If you have 9 or more penalty points endorsed on your licence and commit a further endorseable offence, you will receive a Single Justice Procedure Notice asking you how you plead to the most recent offence followed by summons in the post informing you of when you need to appear in Court for a disqualification hearing. Up until this hearing you should continue driving as normal. In the first instance a Court will be considering imposing a disqualification of at least six months. However, the Court have the discretion to impose a driving disqualification of less than 6 months, or not to disqualify at all if you can persuade the court that a driving ban would amount to exceptional hardship.
Exceptional hardship has no set definition but is regarded as being beyond what would be the natural consequences of losing your licence and often requires you to show more than loss of a job. Arguing a case of exceptional hardship to the court involves proving that losing your licence will have a significant impact on your life, and that of other third parties. The consideration of third parties can often be a significant factor, as they are usually innocent of any offence and a disqualification for the driver would in effect mean that they also suffer.
The verdict reached by the Court in pleas of exceptional hardship are made on a case by case basis, and the Court will use its discretion in reaching a decision. You are only entitled to argue exceptional hardship on the same grounds once every 3 years although it may be possible to put forward new grounds to persuade the Court to find exceptional hardship within this time.
If you have committed a motoring offence and need some advice on the type of penalty you could be facing call our expert team today on 0800 046 3066