What happens when you’re caught speeding?
If you get caught speeding you’ll face a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) and a fine.
The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your licence.
You can usually avoid the points and opt for a speed awareness course instead, if it is either:
- your first speeding offence, or
- you haven't attended an awareness course within the last three years.
You will have to pay for the course.
If you were driving severely over the speed limit, you may even be prosecuted in court which will lead to a significantly higher fine, more points on your licence or even a driving suspension or disqualification.
What happens if you’re stopped by the police
If you’re stopped by the police, they can:
- give you a verbal warning
- give or send you a FPN
- order you to go to court - you’ll be sent a letter telling you what to do
What happens if you’re caught by a speed camera
From when you saw a speed camera flash, the police have 14 days to issue a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and Section 172 notice to the registered owner of the car.
If you don’t hear anything within this time, it’s likely nothing will happen.
If you get a notice after this period, seek legal advice as you may have a case to dispute it but ignoring it could see the fine increase or legal proceedings filed against you.
There are only two situations in which you can defend yourself against a speeding ticket:
- You weren't the driver of the vehicle - eg your car was stolen
- You weren't travelling at the alleged speed (or you believe the camera was defective and recorded the wrong speed)
You weren't the driver of the vehicle
If you’re caught speeding, you'll receive a NIP.
This will ask if you were the driver at the time of the offence, and if not, who was driving.
You can't simply state that you don't know who was driving.
However, if you can show you genuinely can't establish who the driver was that should amount to a defence when your case comes to court.
For example, you could use this defence if your car has been stolen.
If this is the case, you can use police reports or the crime reference number to prove you weren’t driving.
The NIP must be served within 14 days of the date of the offence and the summons must be issued within six months of the offence.
You weren't doing the alleged speed
You might find that, while accepting you’ve exceeded the speed limit, you disagree with the speed suggested by the police.
In this case, when your case comes to court you should plead guilty.
You must inform the police that you'll be challenging the speed they've recorded. You must also tell them you intend to give evidence, such as calling witnesses, to prove your actual speed.
The officer administrating the fine must attend the hearing to argue his side of the case. If the police do not arrange this, you could end up with a lesser fine.
You’re sure you weren’t speeding
If you’re certain you weren’t exceeding the limit, plead not guilty. It may be another vehicle caused an officer to misjudge your speed.
Should this be the case, it's worth cross-examining the police officers in court and calling upon anyone in the car with you to confirm your actual speedometer reading at the time.
You might suspect that the speed camera was wrong. All speed cameras must have a calibration certificate, proving their accuracy.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to challenge the speed camera's certificate and the court will almost certainly accept the reading.