There are more than 150,000 fines and prosecutions for speeding in England and Wales each year and the numbers are rising. This may actually be down to more effective ways of measuring speeds and apprehending drivers rather than more people simply ignoring speed limits.
More than 50% of the drivers fined were caught on motorways, mainly by cameras and for some drivers, merely doing 32mph in a 30mph zone results in a fine because more and more forces have a zero-tolerance stance on speeding.
Is there any way to avoid a penalty?
Of course, it almost goes without saying that the best way of avoiding prosecution for speeding is to stay under the speed limits, but people can make mistakes. Sometimes drivers are in unfamiliar areas and don’t notice that a stretch of road actually has a 20mph limit; sometimes signs are covered over by trees, banners and even other road signs. The limits on motorways can change suddenly and so drivers can get caught out very easily.
The sign was hidden
When you receive your Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), which is the document sent to you by the police telling you they intend to fine you and add points to your driving licence; you need to respond within 28 days to say you intend to contest. If you can provide photographic evidence of the speed limit sign being obscured, that’s a huge help.
You weren’t driving the car
It may be the case that you weren’t even driving the car at the time, in which case you need to identify the driver and prove they were insured, otherwise you’ll be opening a whole new can of legal worms.
You weren’t actually speeding
You can contest your fine if you don’t think you were speeding. Most forces will allow you to be 10% over the speed limit, plus another 2mph for camera calibration errors. This defence only works if you were a shade over the limit – you won’t get away with doing 50mph in a 30mph zone!
You may need a lawyer
If the police don’t accept your side of the story, you will probably need help from someone like driving offence lawyers Kenway Miller, as you’ll need to go to court.
Many drivers caught speeding seek legal help because they believe they had good reason to be driving over the speed limit – they were taking someone to hospital, for example. Your lawyers will probably advise you to plead guilty to speeding but will use your mitigating circumstances to reduce your penalty.
Your lawyers can ask for evidence of you (or your friend) speeding in your vehicle. Mistakes are occasionally made in the recording, or in other procedures, which can sometimes mean your case is dismissed.
Don’t rush to court
You need to remember, though, that going to court doesn’t automatically mean your case will be quashed or your punishment reduced. Occasionally, the magistrate may give you a larger fine and more points than you’d have got if you just accepted your Fixed Penalty Notice in the first place. Listen to your legal team and be sure you have a solid case before you go to court.