I was stopped by the Police and told that I would receive a Fixed Penalty for speeding. I have in fact now received a Court Summons. Why did I not get a Fixed Penalty?
The option to resolve an offence by way of a Fixed Penalty Notice is at the discretion of the Police. If the Officer stops you, that is the opportunity for the Fixed Penalty to be issued. If it is not issued at the scene, it is extremely unlikely that you will receive a conditional offer as the Police Officer has clearly decided that the matter is too serious to be resolved by way of the Fixed Penalty process. There is no obligation upon the Police to offer a Fixed Penalty and if you leave the scene without a conditional offer in your hand, it is inevitable that a Summons will be issued.
I was caught speeding through a red traffic light. Do I now face 2 offences or can they be treated as one offence?
You should not be prosecuted for both allegations. In all probability, you will receive a Fixed Penalty for the traffic light allegation and no action will be taken for the speeding. Even if you were to be prosecuted for both allegations, as these are “simultaneous offences”, you should only receive penalty points for one offence.
I have been caught speeding by a mobile unit parked at the bottom of a steep hill just in front of a speed limit sign. It seems to me that the Police are trying to ambush motorists at this location. Can I defend/contest the allegation on that basis?
Whilst you may not like the location chosen by the Police, that does not mean that there is a viable defence. The only issue the Court will be interested in is whether you exceeded the speed limit. The Police will justify the position of the van on the basis that offences are committed at that location. The Court will expect drivers to take into account any gradient when monitoring their speed so if the speed alleged is accurate, the case will be proved.
I was caught speeding through road works. Will I receive penalty points for speeding in a temporary speed limit?
Yes. On the basis that there is an Order in place for the speed limit, the effects and implications are the same, regardless of whether it is temporary or a permanent speed reduction.
I think I’ve been flashed by a speed camera. How long do the Police have to contact me? How long do I have to wait to find out if I have committed an offence?
If you are the registered keeper of the vehicle, you should receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days. If you are not the registered keeper, the Notice will go to whoever is on record with the DVLA, be it a lease company or hire company etc, as appropriate. As long as the Notice is served in time, your obligation is to supply details as to driver identity, which you must do within 28 days of receiving the NIP. Thereafter, the Police will decide whether they are willing to offer a speed awareness course, a Fixed Penalty or refer the case to Court.
If you do not reply to the Notice in time, or with-hold information, you will be prosecuted for failing to identify a driver pursuant to Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act and would risk 6 points and a more substantial fine. If you require evidence in support of the allegation, you should request same when replying to the Notice.
I was caught speeding by the Police and stopped at the time of the offence. Do the Police have to show me video evidence at the scene? If this is a requirement and was not carried out, can I overturn the prosecution?
Although the ACPO Guidelines indicate that the Police should show you evidence at the scene wherever possible, there is actually no statutory requirement for them to do so and if they choose not to, it does not prevent a prosecution.
I was stopped by the police on the motorway for speeding over 100 mph. I was given a producer and told I would receive a Court Summons in due course but it has now been over 2 months since the incident and I’ve not heard anything. Should I chase the Police? Is it possible that the Police Officer has decided not to process the paperwork? He told me I faced a driving ban and that I would have to go to Court. How long does it normally take for the Police to contact you?
The Police have 6 months to commence proceedings and do not have to contact you at any stage before then. In our experience, many forces diary cases for 5 months and 2 weeks, so the lack of progress at this stage does not suggest that they will not proceed. There is no point contacting the Police; it will only prompt them into life. If you do nothing, there is a slight chance that they will fail to progress the case in time.
What is a plea in mitigation in relation to a driving offence or speeding?
If you plead guilty or are convicted of a driving offence, you are entitled to make a submission to the Court to reduce any punishment imposed and that process is termed mitigation. It is not a defence and care must be taken to ensure that it does not amount to same.
Mitigation can be presented personally or, at the discretion of the Court, in writing. It can be used to avoid potential disqualification or to reduce the number of penalty points/period of disqualification.
I was caught speeding but it was a genuine emergency. Can I plead guilty but argue a special reasons defence? I received a distress call that a relative was seriously ill.
Firstly, it should be noted that Special Reasons is not a defence. It follows a guilty finding and is used to convince the Court not to impose a punishment because, whilst the offence has been committed, the circumstances were such that it would be wrong to impose a punishment.
In order for your Special Reasons argument to succeed, you will have to show that there was no alternative but to drive in the manner that you did and that your emergency must be “real, not nebulous, nor manufactured”. If it is anticipated, it is not an emergency and further you will have to show that the issue could not have been resolved by other means, for example, calling for an ambulance etc.
In some circumstances, a genuine emergency can amount to a defence of “duress of necessity/circumstances” which would result in acquittal.
How do I find out if a calibration certificate for a speed camera has expired? I cannot afford the points on my licence and therefore want to know if there is a way I can avoid penalty points.
You are entitled to see the calibration certificate for a speed camera. This should identify the make, model and serial number for the camera and prove that it has been calibrated within 12 months of the alleged offence. It may be that the Police refuse to disclose this information before a Summons has been issued and strictly speaking, there is no obligation for them to assist before then. However, most Police forces will provide information upon request.