Speeding Offence FAQs

Speeding offences and the motoring laws that govern them can be confusing & complex. Below are commonly asked questions answered by an experienced motoring law solicitor.

Q: I've received a speeding ticket, was flashed by a speed camera or was caught speeding. What happens now?

A: The Police have to send a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to the driver or registered keeper within fourteen days. If they don’t, you can’t be convicted of speeding. If you are not the registered keeper, you probably won’t get your NIP within 14 days.

The NIP will give details of the offence and require you to name the driver. Once you receive a NIP, you have 28 days to reply.

If you admit being the driver, what happens next will depend on the speed.

If your speed was below 10% plus two mph over the limit, the Police will generally take no further action.

If your speed was no more than 10% plus 9 mph over the limit, you will usually be eligible for a speed awareness course, provided you haven’t done one within the last three years.

If not, you will usually be eligible for a Fixed Penalty of three points and £100, as long as your speed was below the following limits (See to fixed penalty table)

If you already have 9 or more points, or your speed was too high for a Fixed Penalty, you won’t be eligible and will receive a Summons or Single Justice Procedure Notice. The number of points will depend on the speed. This table table shows the Sentencing Guidelines.

If you reach twelve penalty points, you become a “totter” and the Court has to disqualify you for at least six months unless you can show that this would cause exceptional hardship (link to totting up page) to you and/or others.

Failure to name the driver is an offence carrying 6 points, even if the request was not made within 14 days. This applies even if you weren’t the driver yourself. If you don’t know who the driver was, you have to give the police as much information as you can.

If you are stopped by the police for speeding, you will usually be given an oral warning of prosecution at the time. In that case, the Police do not have to send a written NIP.

In all speeding cases, it is worth checking that the speed limit was in force and that any necessary signs were correctly displayed. See Speeding page.

Q: I have been caught speeding, but there was no sign. Do I have a defence?

A: Possibly.

If the road has street lights not more than 200 yards apart and there is no sign, the speed limit will usually be 30mph. In this case, no sign is needed. Many drivers do not realize this. The only exception to this rule is if there is a sign showing a different limit.

However, on roads where national speed limits would otherwise apply, but a lower limit is in force, the lack of a sign will provide a defence.

So for example the national speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways is normally 70mph. Any lower limit, must be clearly signed.  Similarly, the national speed limit on single carriageways is normally 60 and any lower limit must be clearly signed. In these cases, absence of a sign will provide a speeding defence. (Note that there are lower speed limits for some types of vehicle).

In 20mph zones, signs are also needed.

However, absence of a speed camera warning sign does not provide a defence. Again, many motorists do not realize this.

Q: I have been caught speeding. Can I do a Speed Awareness Course to avoid getting penalty points?

A: It depends. If your speed was no greater than 10% plus 9 mph, (for example up to 42 in a 30 mph limit), you can usually do a Speed Awareness Course. This is provided you have not done the same course within the last three years.

Q: I was caught speeding just over 6 months ago, but I haven’t received a Summons. Can I still be prosecuted?

A: As with most motoring cases, speeding offences have a limitation period of 6 months. This means that the proceedings have to be commenced within 6 months of the date of the offence. However, once issued, the Summons does not have to be served within 6 months.

Q: I was flashed by a speed camera, but did not receive a Notice of Intended prosecution within 14 days. Can I still be convicted of speeding?

A: The police must serve the Notice of Intended Prosecution on either the driver or the Registered Keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the offence. If the police are out of time, the driver cannot be convicted of speeding. This also means that if the driver is not the registered keeper he can still be convicted provided the Notice was served on the keeper within 14 days. The 14-day rule does not apply to offences of failing to reply to the Notice.

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