Driving advice Speeding fines: your rights

Top speeding fine tips

  • Mitigating circumstances can be taken into account by magistrates when calculating a penalty
  • Most police forces allow drivers to view relevant photographic evidence if you’ve been caught by a speed camera
  • If you admit speeding, a Fixed Penalty Notice is the minimum penalty

If you are thinking of contesting a ticket then make sure you watch our video on how to appeal a speeding ticket.

How speeding tickets are issued

Speeding is a hugely contentious issue that affects hundreds of thousands of us every year.

The issue of speeding is a simple one. If you exceed the speed limit and are caught doing so by the police or a safety camera, the police could do any of the following:

  • give you only a verbal warning
  • offer you the chance to attend a speed-awareness course, which you'll have to pay for
  • issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (a speeding ticket), with a fine of £100 and three penalty points
  • prosecute you for speeding. This will mean you will have to go to court, and could face a fine of up to £1,000 (£2,500 if you were speeding on the motorway), between three and six penalty points on your driving licence, and a possible driving disqualification.

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How the police decide whether to prosecute for speeding

If you're caught speeding, the action taken will depend on various circumstances, but mostly on how far you were exceeding the speed limit. 

Though individual police forces can use their discretion, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) suggests the following when enforcing speed limits:

ACPO speed enforcement guidelines
Speed limitMin speed for a speeding ticketMin speed for prosecution
70 mph79mph96mph

What will happen if you are caught speeding

Speeding fines

You have 28 days to respond to a speeding fine

If a car is seen speeding, the registered keeper will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) detailing the offence, and a document called a Section 172 notice. 

You must respond within 28 days, using the Section 172 notice to nominate the person who was driving at the time of the alleged speeding offence. Not doing so is a separate, specific offence which could lead to a fine and penalty points being added to your driving licence.

If you were stopped by the police for speeding, the officer can give you a verbal warning of prosecution instead. An NIP is not required if the offence happened as part of a road traffic accident.

How long the police have to issue a speeding notice

The police must serve an NIP within 14 days of the alleged speeding offence, but there are some circumstances in which the notice will still stand even if it's served later than this, for example:

  • if extra time is needed for the police to act with 'reasonable diligence' to find out who the registered keeper is and how to contact them; or
  • if the delay was the driver’s fault, for example because they have not told the DVLA of a recent change of address.

If you receive a speeding ticket

With most minor speeding offences, when you return the NIP, you'll receive a Conditional Offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). 

You can choose either to pay this and accept the penalty points or, if you don't think the speeding ticket is correct, contest the speeding charge in court.

When deciding whether to contest a speeding charge, you should bear in mind that, in court, the prosecution’s role is simply to prove that a driver was speeding. 

Defences such as you did not intend to speed, didn't know you were speeding or you only exceeded the speed limit for a short time will not be taken into consideration.

If the police prosecute you for speeding

If you already have more than eight points on your licence, or if you were travelling way above the speed limit, the police may choose to prosecute you in court. In this case, you will be sent a court summons. 

The police have up to six months from the date of the offence to start speeding court proceedings. See How to contest a speeding ticket for more details.

More on this...

Other sections in this guide

  1. Overview
  2. Speeding fines: your rights
  3. How to contest a speeding ticket
  4. Speeding ticket sample letters
  5. Speeding tickets in Scotland and NI
  6. The truth about speed cameras
  7. Speeding ticket FAQs