Whilst I was stationary at traffic lights and my gearbox was set to “park” I used my mobile phone. The Police issued me with a Fixed Penalty. My mobile was not used at any ther time except whilst I was stationary. The police advised me that due to the ignition being on this was still an offence. Is this correct?
The Police are correct. If the vehicle was not parked, stationary and engine off, it is being “used” as far as the law is concerned. This is particularly the case if you are in a queue of traffic waiting at lights etc., as opposed to pulled up out of the traffic at the side of the road. In those circumstances, you are best off cutting your losses and taking the Fixed Penalty. You will also need to advise your insurers of the points imposed.
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 have received a Fixed Penalty for a traffic light offence. If I had performed an emergency stop, it would have meant that the person behind me would have hit me. Do I have a case if I take this matter to Court?
This is an “absolute offence” which means that you will be convicted if the Police can show that your vehicle crossed the stop line when the red line was illuminated. The rules are that you must stop on amber, unless it is unsafe to do so but you must stop on red, regardless of the circumstances.
There is an outside chance that the Court may decide not to impose points if you can prove that a collision would have occurred had you stopped but this is extremely remote and you would have to show that the vehicle behind did not come to a halt in order to support your case. However, if you run the case to Court and lose, you would face increased costs and a higher fine.
I have received two Fixed Penalty Notices within days of each other. Will I be able to accept the two conditional offers, send and receive my driving licence back in time to meet the time limits?
You have 28 days in which to accept conditional offers. If they have been issued by the same Process Unit, you can send them together. If the Fixed Penalties are from different Police Authorities, you should send off the first one, but put in a note that you require the licence returned promptly. If the licence is not returned within the 28 days, you should contact the other Authority explain the situation, and ask them to extend the time for acceptance. Most will co-operate in this respect.
Totting Up: Will a delaying tactic prevent a driving ban?
I currently have 9 penalty points on my driving licence and I’ve just received a Fixed Penalty Notice which will bring me to 12 penalty points. If I contest or appeal the Fixed Penalty, by the time the matter goes to Court, the first 3 points on my licence will no longer be valid. Is this a tactic I can use to prevent a totting up ban?
No. If you had 9 points at the time of the offence, the Court is still entitled to impose a totting up ban. The reason that penalty points remain on your driving licence for 4 years but remain only valid for 3 years is in order that the Court is fully aware of the driving history to prevent such a tactic.