Speeding offences FAQs
I passed my motorbike test 4 years ago and my car driving test 18 months ago. I have been caught speeding twice in the past 12 months, I have 6 points on my licence. Do the "new driver" provisions apply and will the DVLA revoke my licence?
Under the “New Driver” provisions the DVLA have the power to revoke your licence if you obtain 6 points or more within 2 years of passing your first driving test. The court’s cannot intervene. However, these provisions only apply to the first test that you pass. Therefore because you have held your driving licence for 4 years these provisions will not apply to your more recent driving licence and the DVLA will not revoke you licence.
Can shadows of bridges be used by the police to check my speed?
This is what police officer’s call a follow on check. Officers use the speedometer in their own vehicles to gage the speed of the target vehicle. They do this by remaining a fixed distance behind the target vehicle over a measured distance. Traffic police often use the shadow of bridges to ensure that they remain a fixed distance behind their target vehicle. However, this is subject to human error and relies on the officer’s judgement. The prosecution will also need to satisfy the court that the speedometer and odometer in the police car are accurate. The officer has a lot of things to think about all at the same time and it is possible to challenge evidence like this on this basis.
If I am the registered keeper of a vehicle what is the time limit for sending me a notice of intended prosecution for a speeding offence?
For Speeding and other certain types of road traffic offences a notice of prosecution must be given to the driver or registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the offence under section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. The first day for calculating the 14 days is the day after the offence. In speeding case if the 14 day rule has not been respected then you have a complete defence and should not be convicted. The notice of intended prosecution can be a verbal given at the scene if you are stopped by the police or it can be in writing if you are caught on camera.
The only time where this requirement does not apply is if:
- owing to the presence of your vehicle on the road, an accident occurred; or,
- a fixed penalty has been given
I was informed by post that my car had been caught on camera for a speeding offence, however I am not sure who to name as the driver as my wife and I were sharing the driving.
The prosecution must prove that you, rather than your wife, were the driver of the vehicle before the court can convict you of speeding. This is usually done in one of two ways. Either by photographic evidence showing you sat in the drivers seat, or a signed confession that you were the driver. The notice of intended prosecution and request for information that you have signed and returned is what the prosecution usually rely on. However, in your case the prosecution and the court cannot ignore the covering letter.
You should instruct a solicitor and ask them to contact the prosecution pointing out the ambiguity and invite them to drop the case.
I am contesting 2 speeding fines, one from a static camera (obstructed by a tree and with no speed limit signs on the road), the other a hand held camera, for which I have requested evidence, photograph, calibration of the device etc. What are the chances of these charges being dropped?
There is guidance regarding the positioning of speed camera signs but this is guidance only and not law. There is no legal requirement for either the signs or the cameras themselves to be visible.
Signs telling you what the speed limit is should be clearly visible in accordance with a case called R v Coombes. However the 30 mph speed limit on "restricted roads" is indicated by street lighting positioned no more than 200 yards apart. If the street lamps on the road you were caught on are no more than 200 yards apart then this tells you the speed limit is 30 mph and the absence of signs, in my view, won't matter.
In my experience there is less room for error with the fixed road side cameras than there is with the hand held ones. The hand held cameras are always subject to the potential for human error. However, in my experience, if you want to successfully challenge the reliability of a reading provided by any type of speed detection device then you ought to obtain expert evidence to help you do this. Without it your chances of success are much more limited.
There is no legal requirement to provide calibration certificates before the case goes to court, albeit there is no harm in asking for them. Sometimes the prosecution will refuse to supply these even when the case goes to court and something called a "defence statement" would have to be served under the Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act in an attempt to force disclosure.
I have received a summons for a driving conviction and I already have 9 points. Is there any way of avoiding a driving ban?
If you are concerned that you face a driving disqualification then you should instruct a solicitor at the earliest opportunity. It is possible to avoid a driving ban by pleading what is known as “exceptional hardship”. To argue this successfully you must be able to show the court that, if disqualified, you would suffer exceptional hardship beyond the mere inconvenience of not driving. Your reasons will need to be “out of the ordinary” and you will require evidence to support what you are stating. By way of example exceptional hardship can potentially be argued if a defendant is likely to loose his livelihood if he loses his licence. The exceptional hardship can also relate the third parties provide their hardship is a direct consequence of you losing your licence.
If you are facing a driving ban under the totting up provisions then please contact us as soon as possible. There will often be evidence that will need to be acquired. We will be able to represent you in court to argue exceptional hardship for a fixed fee.
I want to challenge a speeding offence. Can I find out what equipment was used?
It sounds as if you have received a notice of intended prosecution or fixed penalty offer through the post after being caught on a hand held camera.
It is possible in some situations to defend an allegation of speeding based upon the equipment being unreliable or not being used in accordance with the guidelines. You can request evidence of calibration from the police or Crown Prosecution Service but this is rarely disclosed until the driver rejects a fixed penalty offer and asks for a court hearing. If you are serious about challenging the police evidence on this basis you should get advice from a lawyer specialising in road traffic law who understands how the equipment, as well as the law, works. it is often sensible to get your own expert evidence and a road traffic solicitor can do this for you and present it to the Crown Prosecution Service and the Court in evidential form. This might avoid the need for the expert to actually attend the trial and could save you costs in the long run.
However, If you are unsuccessful in challenging the evidence in court you will face a larger fine and probably court costs against you for the trial.
Whether to accept a fixed penalty or challenge the police evidence is a decision that must often be made with limited information. If you feel that the alleged speed is wrong then we can arrange for an expert witness to look at your case and give a written opinion about the merits of challenging the notice. This can be done for a fixed fee which caps the amount it will cost you. You can then make an informed decision about whether to challenge the evidence or accept it. If you challenge it successfully in court then you will be entitled to be reimbursed for the reasonable costs you have incurred. This includes legal costs as well as the expert costs. If you accept the evidence then you do so in the knowledge that it’s the right thing to do and without incurring any additional, unnecessary legal fees.
My van was caught on a speed camera in Bournemouth, but I have never been to Bournemouth in my life. What can I do?
Your vehicle might have been cloned. In other words there may be a stolen vehicle being used on the roads identical to your’s with the same registration number. We deal with an increasing number of road traffic cases involving cloned vehicles. It can often be an arduous task convincing traffic police of the Crown Prosecution Service that it wasn’t your vehicle and you will have to prove it.
Firstly we recommend that you ask the Crown Prosecution Service to disclose the evidence. This is likely to be photographic or video evidence which may be of poor quality and show only a registration plate. In the past we have had photographs and video’s enhanced to compare with the Defendant’s vehicle. We then identify distinguishing features to show that the two vehicles are not the same.
We would be happy to obtain disclosure from the Prosecution, gather evidence on your behalf and make written submissions on your behalf in an effort to have the case dropped. This way you could save a lot money and worry in the long run.
Solicitor Sean Joyce is an expert road traffic solicitor with experience of road traffic cases involving cloned vehicles.
I was caught speeding on 1st February on a speed camera. I received a notice of intended prosecution on 16th February which was dated 14th February. Is the notice of intended prosecution outside the 14 day time limit?
Probably not. Section 1(1) Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 states that for offences like speeding a notice of intended prosecution must be served within 14 days of the offence. However, the first day for calculating this period starts the day after the offence. The requirement is that the notice must be sent at such a time that it could be reasonably expected to arrive in the normal course of the post. The usual “postal rule” in English law means service is deemed to be the next day if sent 1st class or two days later if sent second class. Therefore, day one is 2nd February. Day fourteen is the 15th February. If the notice was sent on 14th February, providing it was send first class, then the 14 day rule has been complied with. If it was sent second class it could be argued that it has not been complied with. For this reason it will be important to keep the envelope as evidence to be used as an exhibit in court.
I recently went through a speed trap and I saw the camera went off. I was not driving my own car. How do the police determine who was driving the vehicle that has been speeding?
If it is not clear who was driving the vehicle at the time of the speeding offence then the police will send the registered keeper of the vehicle a notice of intended prosecution and request for information under section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1984 (usually the same document). This is simply a request to provide the details of the person who was driving the vehicle. If you are the keeper of the vehicle then you are required to provide the police with the details of who was driving the vehicle when the offence was committed.
The level of information that you are required to provide will depend upon whether you are deemed to be the keeper or any other person under the act:
If you are the keeper then you will need to provide the name / address of the person driving the vehicle at the time.
If you are a person other than the keeper then you will be required to provide such information as is within your power to give.
I lost my licence in April 2004 for 18 months. I have not re-applied but was caught approx 20mph over the speed limit with no licence but insured on someone else insurance. What will happen to me?
Depending on the speed limit you exceeded you may be offered a fixed penalty. However, you cannot accept a fixed penalty unless you are able to physically submit a driving licence for endorsement. You must, therefore, apply for a fresh driving licence immediately. If you are issued with a licence in time to accept a fixed penalty you can expect three points plus £60 fine. It may be worthwhile contacting the office responsible for issuing the ticket and ask for more time to accept the fixed penalty to give you time to get a new driving licence.
You should reapply for your driving licence immediately. Even though your disqualification is over you are still committing an offence as you do not currently hold a driving licence.
Driving without a licence usually attracts 3-6 penalty points or a disqualification. However, disqualification and penalty points may not be ordered for an offence of driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence if you have simply omitted to renew it, providing that the licence would have covered you to drive the type of vehicle you were driving.
I'm on a low income, I've got 9 points and have been caught speeding again. Can I avoid a ban?
The only way of avoiding a disqualification is if you are able to successfully plead “Exceptional Hardship”. You must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court that, if disqualified, you or a third party such as your wife and children, will suffer adverse consequences as a result of the disqualification that are out of the ordinary. If your family rely on your income to survive then you may be able to avoid a ban on this basis. You will, however, need to produce as much evidence as possible. We are happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail and advise you about what evidence you should gather to support your case. We strongly advise you to get legal representation in court from a solicitor who specialises in road traffic offences to maximise your prospects of success.
I already have 9 points on my licence and I have recently received a summons for speeding – will I lose my licence?
Under what is known as the “totting up provisions”, if a driver accrues 12 or more points on his licence within a 3 year period then he will be liable for a driving disqualification.
You should remember that for the purpose of “totting up” it is the date of the offence and not the hearing which is relevant.
If you reach 12 points in any 3 year period then you will face a minimum 6 month ban. Therefore on the information you have provided it appears that you will be disqualified if found guilty of the most recent offence. If you are disqualified then the points on your license will be removed after the driving ban is served.
The only way of a avoiding a driving ban in these circumstances is if your are able to successfully argue “exceptional hardship”.
We strongly recommend that anyone facing the possibility of a driving ban should seek legal representation
I've been caught speeding on a stretch of road that reduces from 40mph to 30 mph. The camera that caught me is just after the 30mph sign but this sign is obscured. Can I still be convicted?
In some circumstance you can defend speeding allegations by arguing that the speed limit was not clearly marked and visible.
Remember, lampposts placed at 200 yard intervals indicate a 30 mph limit unless there are signs to the contrary. You will need to check this but from the limited information you have provided you may be able to defend the case based on the signs being obscured. A site visit by an expert and photographic evidence may enable an experienced road traffic solicitor to write to the prosecution and persuade them to drop the case. This preparation could be done on a fixed fee and would be recoverable if you were successful.
I was stopped by traffic police and given a ticket for speeding at the road side. The ticket had the wrong date on it. Will the court throw the case out due to the officers mistake?
Whilst the prosecution must prove each and every element of the offence against you, including the date the offence is alleged to have occurred, the court’s will usually allow the prosecution to amend clerical errors like the one made by the officer in this case. You need to have a very good argument as to why the court’s should not allow the date to be amended before insisting on the matter going to court. If the mistake over the date is the only “defence” that you have then your case could collapse very quickly if the prosecution are allowed to correct the mistake and you might regret not having accepted a fixed penalty at the outset. You should take advice from a road traffic solicitor immediately who, for a fixed fee, will give you an expert opinion about what you should do based on the circumstances specific to your case.
I was recently caught speeding twice on two cameras on the same road within a few minutes of each other. How many points will I get?
On the issue of the two alleged recent speeding offences, section 28(2) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 says:
“Where a person is convicted of two or more such offences, the number of penalty points to be attributed to those of them that were committed on the same occasion is the number or highest number that would be attributed on a conviction of one of them”.
Whether multiple road traffic offences are committed on the same occasion will be decided by the court based on the facts of each case. If the magistrates determine that the two road traffic offences arise from one incident on the same occasion then points will only be given for one of the driving offences. However, if they decide that you have committed two separate road traffic offences then penalty points will be given for each offence. In the case of two speeding offences detected by two difference speed cameras you will need to gather evidence showing your journey and distances travelled in order to show this was one incident of driving.
You should contact us to discuss your case in more detail and a road traffic solicitor can give you specific advice. This may be difficult to argue and you may need representation in court.
The leased works vehicle I drive was caught on a speed camera 5 months ago. They've written asking me to confirm I was the driver. If I wait 28 days before replying it will be almost 6 months. What is the time limit for this type of offence?
For speeding offences there is a 6 month time limit in which the police or prosecution must lay an information, in other words request a summons. In the case of speeding the time limit starts from the day after the alleged offence and is a strict time limit which must be respected. However, if you do not respond to the notice then it’s likely you will be prosecuted for a different offence entirely, namely failing to furnish driver details under section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988. This is what’s known as a continuing offence and technically is committed each time you fail to respond to a fresh request. Whilst there is still a six month time limit this only runs from the end of the 28 day period you have been given in the latest notice you have received. The six month clock is reset every time a new notice is sent to you.
I have only recently started driving. I received a speeding conviction the week after I passed my test and now I have received another. I have only been driving for just over a year and one of my friends has told me that I will get a ban. Is this correct?
If you have had your licence for less than 2 years and you accrue 6 points or more then the DVLA will revoke your full driving licence. If this happens then you will revert to provisional licence status and will have to re-sit your theory and practical driving exams.
If this happens then, strictly speaking, this is not a punishment laid down by the courts. Instead it is the DVLA who will cancel your licence under powers conferred to them by the New Driver Act. As a result it is not possible to argue against this in the court. The flip side is that you will not be disqualified for a set period and you can re-apply for your licence once you have re-sat your driving test.
In certain circumstances the Court can, however, consider a short disqualification as an alternative to points. The advantage of this course of action is that when your ban is up you do not have to re-sit your driving tests.
What can a Police officer use to corroborate his opinion that I am speeding?
When a policeman states that he thinks you were speeding this is merely his opinion that you were speeding. In order to be convicted a police officer must also provide evidence which corroborates his opinion that you were speeding. Speeding is the only offence under English Law which requires evidence of corroboration. This can be done in a number of ways.
The most usual corroboration is by way of static or mobile camera or hand held laser, but a police officer can also use his own speedometer in his vehicle to corroborate his opinion that you are speeding.
It is also sufficient in law for a second police officer to corroborate the evidence of another officer. Therefore if two police officers provide evidence that you were speeding then this is sufficient to convict.
However, these corroboration requirements do not apply with Motorway speeding offence.
With the right expertise it is possible to challenge evidence of corroboration.
The speed limit was not displayed - can I be prosecuted for speeding?
There is not always a requirement for the speed limit to be indicated on a road. If a road is a “restricted road” as defined by Section 82 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 and it has street lighting which is spaced not more than 200 yards apart then the road will have a 30 mph limit. In these circumstances there is no requirement for the speed limit to be displayed and you could be convicted of speeding if you go above 30 mph.
If the lampposts are not spaced within 200 yards and a speed limit is to be observed then you cannot be convicted of speeding unless the speed limit is indicated by way of a traffic sign (which must comply with the regulations in terms of it’s appearance, dimensions and colour). Therefore there must be a sign indicating the speed limit if there are not lampposts spaced within 200 yards of each other.