If you are caught by a speed camera or stopped by the police for speeding while driving in the United Kingdom you can be given a fixed penalty notice for which you are allowed to plead guilty or not guilty. Many speeding penalties go unchallenged because drivers simply do not request adequate legal advice on how they can challenge them. However, this course of action is not always a suitable one and it can result in receiving unnecessary points on the license.
You can choose to challenge a speeding prosecution with the help of our speeding offence solicitor. Our team can help you understand your rights as well as represent you in court if you were accused of dangerous driving. Speeding offences can have varying levels of severity, and are punishable as such.
When you choose to seek legal aid from one of our driving solicitors who specialize in speeding, you can receive the needed counsel before deciding to plead not guilty.
Speeding penalties in the UK
Driving faster than the speed limit for the type of road and vehicle subject to penalties and one should also be mindful of this limitation. In most cases, a speed limit of 30 mph or 48 km/s is applicable, unless expressly indicated otherwise.
The national speed limits in the UK do differ according to the type of vehicle and the type of road. Below, our speeding offence solicitor lists some of the main speed limited according to these criterions:
- Cars, motorcycles, car-derived band, and dual-purpose vehicles: the speed limit for built-up areas is 30 mph or 48 km/h; the limit is 60 mph or 96 km/h in single carriageways and 70 mph/112 km/h in dual carriageways; for motorways, the speed limit for this vehicle category is 70 mph;
- Motor homes or motor caravans: the built-up areas speed limit remains the same, at 30 mph with a 60 mph limit for single carriageways and a 70 mph limit for dual carriageways and motorways;
- Busses, coaches and minibusses (with a maximum length of 12 meters): 30 mph in most areas, 50 mph in single carriageways and 60 mph in dual carriageways as well as the same 70 mph limit for motorways;
- Goods vehicles with a maximum tonnage of 7.5 tonnes: the same 30 mph limit, followed by a 50 mph in single carriageways and 60 mph in dual carriageways; for motorways, the usual limit is 70 mph however it can be reduced to 60 mph when the vehicle is articulated or it is towing a trailer.
Our speeding offence solicitor can give you more details about the national speed limits for other categories of vehicles. It is useful to keep in mind that vans have a slower speed limit compared to cars (in most cases) and that motorhomes can be classified as goods vehicles when they are used for storage or other purposes.
In some cases, local speed limits can apply. These are usually near schools, where a 20 mph limit will apply or on portions of roads that have sharp bends.
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Possible outcomes if caught speeding in the UK
If you are caught speeding by a camera you will be sent a notice of intended prosecution. and a Section 172 notice within 14 days of your car being caught speeding. You must then fill in the Section 172 notice with information regarding the individual who was driving the car and return it to the police within 28 days. Once this step is complete, you can either receive a fixed penalty notice or another letter informing you that you need to go to court. You can still be subject to being summoned to court of you choose to ignore the notice.
Alternatively, when stopped by the police, you can receive a verbal warning or a fixed penalty notice in most cases. In some situations, the officer can order you to go to court. If the latter applies, you will receive a letter that will inform you of the following steps.
It is useful to note that speeding tickets affect your car insurance. As a general rule, the more serious the driving conviction, the higher the price for car insurance. This is based on the fact that individuals with convictions are more likely to male a claim, compared to those who have a clean licence.
The actual amount by which the value of the insurance increases differs according to age and place of residence.
Drivers who are caught speeding should also know that they have the option to take a speed awareness course and this will take the place of the points that would otherwise be placed on the license. The courses are offered by several providers and can be booked online, according to availability. The provider is also the one to set the final price.
Not all speeding offences can result in the option to take the course. In fact, when driving over 10% of the speed limit plus 9 mph there is a chance that the course option will not be available and the remaining option will be to be summoned in court. Our speeding offence solicitor can help analyse your case as soon as possible and provide you with information on how your case is likely to be treated.
Some examples of courses include those for national speed awareness, safe and considerate driving, seatbelt course and others.
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How a speeding offence solicitor can help you
Receiving specialized legal aid from a speeding offence solicitor is useful in all cases, not only when you receive the order to go to court.
There are two possible courses of action when you receive the fixed penalty notice and that is to plead guilty or not guilty. The usual penalty consists of a fixed fine along with a number of points that are added to your license. The main argument to plead not guilty is not only to be excused of the fee payment but also to avoid unnecessary points that can accumulate and, in time, create different issues.
Our speeding offence solicitor presents some of the most important points to remember about the speeding penalties that apply in the UK below:
- the minimum penalty: this has a value of 100£ and 3 penalty points on the license;
- pleading guilty: the offender pays the fine and receives the license (or, as an alternative, can attend a speed awareness course);
- pleading not guilty: the offender will need to go to court and he risks a larger fine and more penalty points if the court rules that he is guilty of speeding; we always recommend consulting with our speeding offence solicitor before choosing this option;
- additional penalties: these apply to new drivers if they are within two years of passing the driving test; they can have their license revoked if they accumulate 6 or more penalty points (for example, two speeding penalties within a short period).
Driving disqualifications in the UK
Drivers can be disqualified of they are convicted of a driving offence or if they get 12 or more penalty points within three years. This means that speeding can not only impact the value of your car insurance but also if you are allowed to drive. Should you receive a summons that you are to go to court, we advise you to reach out to our motoring offence solicitors as soon as possible to find out more about the steps you should take.
The driving ban is decided in court according to the severity of the offence. When this ban applies as a result of having more than 12 penalty points, one can expect that it will last:
- 6 months when the 12 penalty points have been accumulated within 3 years;
- 12 months if the individual receives a second disqualification within 3 years;
- 2 years if a third disqualification is received within 3 years.
Drivers who have been disqualified for 56 days or more need to apply for a new license before they can drive again. In some cases, the individual will also need to retake the driving test or en extended driving test before he is able to receive the license. The court will indicate if taking the test is mandatory.
When a driver is disqualified for less than 56 days he can view his record online and check when it ends. He is prohibited from driving until the ban ceases, however, he will not be required to apply for a new license in order to be able to drive again.
We invite you to watch the following video about speeding in the UK:
In some cases, you may be able to ask the court to reduce the disqualification period. Before attempting this, it is always advisable to seek specialized counsel from our driving solicitors. They will be able to tell you how you can ask for this and will provide you with personalized information that will allow you to decide if this is the most suitable course of action and the chances you have to receive the reduction, based on your particular case and the offence.
The reduction of the disqualification period can be asked for after the individual has been banned from driving:
- for 2 years; when the initial period was for less than 4 years;
- half the initial period, if this was between 4 and 10 years;
- 5 years if the disqualification was for 10 years or more.
It is important to provide a solid reason when asking for the reduction (such as that there were reasons for your offence that the court did not consider). In this case, you can talk to our driving offence solicitors who will assist you in making your case.
If your request is favourable, (the court agrees to reduce your disqualification period). You will need to apply for a new license.
If your request is denied, you will have to wait at least three months before you can submit another request for a reduction.
Speeding combined with other driving offences in the UK
Exceeding the speed limit for a vehicle class is an offence in itself, however, it can be combined with other types of offences
Driving while using a mobile phone as well as being subject to document offences are some examples that can be considered in addition to speeding. Likewise, the driver who was speeding is obliged to provide identification details. This also means that any other person traveling with the driver in question at the time of the speeding is required to provide identification information on the driver, and, upon failing or unwilling to do so, is also considered an offender (if such information was in their power to give).
Document offences include diving without a license for the class of vehicle, driving without insurance or driving without a MOT.
If you were accused of these other driving offences, apart from speeding, for example if you were using the mobile phone whilst driving the vehicle above the speed limit for its category, our speeding offence solicitor can help you.
Driving offences are endorsed on you driver’s license and, according to law, they remain on the driving records for 4 to 11 years, depending on the offence. For example, careless driving offences stay on the record for 4 years. More severe cases involving death stay on the driving record for 11 years after the conviction date.
Driving offences involving serious injury or death in the UK
In the most severe and unfortunate of cases, speeding, careless or inconsiderate driving can lead to serious injury or even death. In these cases, the guilty driver faces the maximum possible amount of penalties and imprisonment for any driving offences in the UK.
The penalties that apply when causing the death of another person while driving include the following:
- Imprisonment: 14 years;
- Fine: unlimited;
- Penalty points: 3 to 11 if not disqualified completely in exceptional cases;
- Mandatory minimum disqualification of two years applies when causing the death of grievous bodily injuries by dangerous driving.
The imprisonment and the fine categories are presented with the maximum values. In practice, depending on the severity of the injuries, the offender can be subject to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 14 years in prison.
We strongly advise seeking specialised legal counsel if you were speeding and, as a result of a crash that happened directly because of the speeding, one or more persons were severely injured or died. Professional legal assistance is important in these cases.
How careless driving is generally sentenced in the UK
The Sentencing Council offers a set of guidelines on how driving offences are treated. The category of the offence is important, and the magistrates will generally start by determining this particular issue. Courts usually use the system below:
- Category 1: higher culpability and greater harm;
- Category 2: higher culpability and lesser harm or lower culpability and greater harm;
- Category 3: lower culpability and lesser harm.
In some cases, the offence will not fall decidedly into one of these categories. This is why you should discuss your situation with one of our driving offence solicitors. Our experienced team will be able to assess your case and, determine to a satisfactory extend, how the Magistrates are likely to treat your case.
Other factors are also relevant and when determining culpability, excessive speed is one of the factors that point towards higher culpability. This is why, depending on your particular case and how much you were driving past the speed limit for the given category, you may be subject to one of the cases in which higher culpability is taken into consideration.
For the categories presented above, greater harm is indicated when there is an injury to others or when there is damage to other vehicles or property, for example when you were speeding and the accident resulted in bodily harm and/or property damage.
Any previous convictions are considered statutory aggravative factors. An offence committed whilst on bail is also a statutory aggravative factor.
When you were found guilty of a speeding offence, the factors that can reduce seriousness include remorse, good character and/or exemplary conduct and if you have no previous or recent convictions.
When addressing a speeding offence case, the court will also take into account the guilty plea and will offer potential reductions, according to the guidelines in force. When the offender is found guilty of more than one offence, the totality principle will apply (it is taken into account if the total sentence is proportionate to the overall offense).
Do you need specialized and immediate legal advice after having been caught speeding in the UK? Contact our speeding offence solicitor now for more information.
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