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How did Premier League footballer Samir Nasri avoid a ban when driving at twice the legal speed limit?

View profile for Cameron Stubbs
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For a long time there has been a myth in this area of law, that an individual will be automatically disqualified from driving if caught over 100mph. However, the recent case involving Premier League footballer Samir Nasri, shows that even when driving twice the legal speed limit, this does not mean you will be automatically disqualified.

The sentencing guidelines

For any speeding offence, there are three categories which advise a different level of sentence. Which category you will fall into will be determined by the speed limit and the recorded speed.

Speed limit (mph)Recorded speed (mph)
    
2041 and above31-4021-30
    
3051 and above41-5031-40
    
4066 and above56-6541-55
    
5076 and above66-7551-65
    
6091 and above81-9061-80
    
70101 and above91-10071-90
    
Sentencing rangeBand C fineBand B fineBand A fine
    
Points/disqualificationDisqualify 7-56 days* or 6 pointsDisqualify 7-28 days or 4-6 points3 points
    

* When an individual is recorded at driving grossly in excess of the speed limit, the court can consider a disqualification in excess of 56 days.

The 100mph myth

As discussed above, there is a myth in this area of law that any speeding offence of over 100mph will automatically lead to a driving ban. However, as shown in the above table, despite automatically being a category C offence, this does not mean you will be automatically disqualified.

To be eligible for a driving disqualification in a 70mph zone, you must be exceeding 90mph. However, whether you are recorded at 91mph, or 101mph, the court have a discretion to impose points instead of a disqualification.

For example, if a person was caught at 110mph in a 70mph zone, but drives a long distance to work every day, public transport is not available and others rely on them to be able to drive, the court can take this into consideration. The court will consider the sentencing guidelines by using the speed as the starting point and will then refer to various aggravating or mitigating factors about the offence itself. They will, however, also consider information that is unique to the offender and will consider the impact that any penalty imposed might have on that individual and offset that against any aggravating, or indeed mitigating, characteristics of the offence itself. In short, the court will look at the whole picture before determining what they feel to be an appropriate penalty.

Samir Nasri​

Premier League footballer, Samir Nasri, was recently caught driving his Mercedes at 60mph in a 30mph zone. This is twice the legal limit and according to many, would lead to an automatic disqualification and a very large fine.

The sentencing guidelines indicate that Mr Nasri has committed a category C offence. It may even be argued that 60mph in a 30mph zone is grossly in excess of the legal speed limit. However, as discussed, the courts still had a discretion to impose 6 points instead of a disqualification.

The court elected not to disqualify Mr Nasri from driving and instead imposed 6 penalty points together with a £400 fine, and ordered him to pay £184 costs.

Mr Nasri did not attend court and instead entered his plea by post. He also failed to file a means form stating his income. This meant that the court had to assume his income at a standard default rate in the absence of anything definitive to the contrary. Mr Nasri, despite the offence being eligible for a fine of up to £1,000, was therefore only fined £400.

Mr Nasri’s previous convictions for speeding had led to a six month ban in 2013. This was not considered relevant on this occasion.

What should you do if you’re caught speeding?

At Stephensons we specialise in  motoring law and our specialist lawyers can provide you with advice in relation to defending or mitigating speeding offences. To speak with a member of the motoring team, please contact us on  0175 321 6399.

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