If I am flashed by an unmanned speed camera, when do the police have to serve a Notice of Intended Prosecution on me?
The police have 14 days to serve a written Notice of Intended Prosecution on the registered keeper of the vehicle. If, however, a police constable stops you at the scene, then he can give you notice of intended prosecution (which can be spoken, and not in writing).
In calculating the 14-day period, the day on which the offence occurred is ignored. In addition, postal delays and delays arising as a result of any difficulty the police have in determining the name and address of the registered keeper of the vehicle are also ignored.
Alternatively, the police can give you (at the scene) or serve on the registered keeper of the vehicle (by post) a Fixed Penalty Notice. If they do so, then they do not need to serve a separate Notice of Intended Prosecution.
I received a Fixed Penalty Notice for a speeding offence that took place several days ago, but I share a car with other family members and cannot recall who was driving at the time. Can we simply tell this to the police and have the case dropped?
If you receive a Fixed Penalty Notice, you are required to give the police the identity of the driver if you know it. If you fail to do so, you will be committing an additional offence, which can itself carry penalty points. If it was definitely a family member who was driving at the time, then chances are you can work out the identity of the driver.
If, however, having exercised reasonable diligence in trying to find out who was driving you are – genuinely – unable to say who it was, then you will need to go to court to explain the matter. In such circumstances, you may want to get some advice from a solicitor.
I was flashed by a speed camera and received a Fixed Penalty Notice. I want to contest the matter. Can I raise the question whether the speed camera was correctly calibrated?
Yes. You can request the calibration certificate for the speed camera in question. But unless you can show that the calibration is not current (as it’s more than 12 months old) or you can otherwise produce convincing evidence that the camera’s reading was inaccurate in your case, then you might want to think carefully about contesting the matter.
I’ve heard that if I receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution for speeding, I can refuse to identify the driver on the grounds that it would be a breach of the Human Rights Act 1998 for me to be required to incriminate myself. Can I simply refuse to identify the driver on those grounds?
No. The Privy Council has determined that the requirement that you identify the driver does not breach the Human Rights Act 1998.
Is there ever any defence to a speeding charge? For example, what if I was speeding because there was a genuine emergency?
In the case of a genuine emergency (not a nebulous or manufactured one), it is possible to get an acquittal or a reduction of the penalty (for “special reasons’).
Consider, though, that the magistrates probably see lots of people who have been charged with speeding and believe that they should be acquitted because of duress, necessity or emergency. The likelihood is that the court will want to see some concrete and convincing evidence that there was a real emergency – an experienced motoring law solicitor will be able to give you an idea as to whether your claimed emergency could lead to an acquittal or reduction in penalty.
I’ve heard that if I accumulate a certain number of penalty points (for speeding and/or other motoring offences) I can be banned from driving under the “totting up” rule. How does that work?
If you accumulate 12 (or more) penalty points within a 3 year period, you will be disqualified from driving for six months. If, after that, you begin driving again and get even more penalty points, then things will get even worse for you: If you get a second “totting up” disqualification within 3 years, then that disqualification will be for a year. If you then go on to get a third disqualification within 3 years, you will be facing a two year ban.
Where can I get help if I am charged with a speeding offence?
Probably the best source of help is a solicitor with specific experience of motoring law cases. You can find such a solicitor by doing an online search. In addition, a matching service like Contact Law can introduce you to a solicitor in your area with the relevant skills and experience (and Contact Law will not charge you for making such an introduction).
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