Hands up who has been caught speeding? In the current climate, most of us will have to admit to having a fine in the last couple of years, and it is an extra expense that we really can’t afford. Of course, the best way to avoid having to pay a fine is to not speed in the first place. But if you get caught out, here is what you need to know.
There are two ways that you will be caught speeding; either being caught on a temporary or permanent speed camera, or being stopped by the police.
Being stopped by a police officer
If the police stop you for speeding, they will either give you a verbal warning, give you a Fixed Penalty Notice (speeding fine – FPN), or order you to go to court. A fixed penalty notice will either be given to you there and then, or sent to you at a later date. If you have to go to court, you will be sent a letter notifying you of the proceedings. Generally, the police decision will be based on the nature of the offense: how fast you were driving, and where. For example, you are more likely to go to court for driving 50 in a 20 zone near a school than 77 on the motorway.
Being caught by a camera
Most drivers have had the experience of being flashed – or worrying that they have been flashed – by a speed camera. If you have been flashed, you won’t have to worry for long. The person to whom the car is registered will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) as well as a Section 172 notice within 14 days of the offense. The Section 172 is a form confirming who the driver of the vehicle was. Once you receive the paperwork, you must return it within 28 days. If you ignore the notice, you may be summoned to court anyway. Once your Section 172 notice is returned, a decision will be made on the subsequent activities. Depending on the severity of your speeding, you will either be sent an DPN or you will receive a summons to court.
Responding to your FPN
If you get an FPN, you can choose to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, you will have three points added to your license and a £100 fine. You may be given the option to avoid the points on your license by attending a speed awareness course; these are usually offered in minor cases, and provided that you haven’t been on a speed awareness course in the last three years. If you plead not guilty to your FPN, you will need to go to court to defend your case. This could result in a heavier fine and more points on your license, so it is important that you don’t plead not guilty unless you are confident that you have a good case. Although it may be tempting to put your foot down, the risks far outweigh the benefits.
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