Every year the number of drivers getting a speeding fine rises. The new digital speed cameras are becoming more advanced and variable speed limits on motorways are catching many people out.
But there is still a lot of confusion around what you do if a Notice of Intended Prosecution lands on your doormat. So we’ve answered your FAQs, from what your options are to how much the fine will cost. Here’s what to do if you get a speeding ticket.
There are three possible outcomes:
The Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) is the document sent by the police to the registered keeper of the vehicle. It details the speeding offence and contains instructions on what to do next.
Remember that you will not receive a NIP if you were pulled over by the police for speeding and given a verbal warning of prosecution, or if your speeding was a factor in a road traffic accident.
By law anything over the limit is liable for a speeding ticket. In reality, the police usually offer a buffer of 10% plus 2mph above the speed limit, though this is entirely at their discretion.
But truly excessive speed may lead directly to a court summons and prosecution.
Here are is a guide of driving offenses from the Crown Prosecution Service.
The minimum fine for a speeding offence is £100. However if you are prosecuted for excessive or dangerous speed, the fine goes up to £1000. This rises to £2500 for dangerous speeding on a motorway.
A normal speeding ticket will result in three points, or endorsements, on your licence. This may rise to six points for excessive speed.
If you already have eight or more points on your licence, the police may choose to prosecute instead of giving you more points, and you could end up with a driving disqualification.
For minor offences you may be offered a speed awareness course, escaping the fine and points on your licence. But it has to be offered – you cannot request it. You are only eligible if:
Speed awareness courses are not run by the police, but by external providers. You will be expected to pay for this course and cost varies by provider.
If you were indeed speeding then you really have no defence, and the best thing to do is accept the ticket. But you can contest it if you weren’t speeding or you weren't the one driving at the time.
If you weren’t driving
If your car was stolen or sold, or someone else was driving at the time, you are not liable for the fine. You must respond to the NIP to tell the police this. If someone else was driving your car at the time, you must inform the police who the driver was. It is illegal for you to accept responsibility for another person’s offence.
It is also illegal to decline to provide the driver’s details, whether it was you or another person. This carries a minimum sentence of six points on your licence or even a driving ban.
If you weren’t speeding
The only other defence is that you were not speeding. You must be able to prove this to be able to contest the ticket. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t realise you were speeding, didn’t know the speed limit or you were only speeding for a moment.
The only way to get out of a speeding ticket is to prove that it was issued by mistake. However, you can plead mitigating circumstances, such as if you were driving someone to hospital in an emergency. Write these up with the NIP and return it to the police.
There’s lots of misinformation online about the 14 day loophole for the Notice of Intended Prosecution. The law states that the police must send the NIP within 14 days of the offence, not including the day it happened.
So the NIP you receive must be dated within 14 days of the offence. If it is dated outside of this time, the notice is invalid. However, it can arrive after the 14 day period as long as it is dated and sent out during that time.
There are other caveats. If you recently sold or bought the car, or it is a company fleet car, and the first notice was sent to the previous registered keeper during the 14 day period and comes to you afterwards, it is still valid.
However, if the notice is dated after the 14 day period, some people have had success by responding to the police to state that this makes the notice invalid. You must still confirm your name, address and that you were indeed driving at the time in this.
Bear in mind that this may not work. Read this advice on the gov.uk website and always take legal advice if you have any doubts.
When the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) arrives, you must complete Section 172 confirming who was driving at the time, even if that person was not you but another registered driver. You must return this to the police within 28 days.
Then you will receive a conditional offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) from the police. If you are eligible for a speed awareness course, this notice will offer it as an alternative. Otherwise, you will have to accept the points and fine.
You have 28 days to accept the FPN and pay for your speeding fine by cheque or card. If you are accepting points, you need to send off your driving licence. You should get it back within four weeks.
If you are taking a speed awareness course, you must do this within four months of the offence date. The course provider will inform the police when you have completed it, and the matter will be considered settled.
Received a parking ticket (PCN)? Here’s 5 rules to know before you pay it.
Images: Highways England