Speeding fines are a permanent hot topic among drivers.
As well as the perceived rights and wrongs of the penalties thereâ€™s a lot of confusion and misinformation about when you can be given one and how much it will be.
Here weâ€™re going to lay down the basics but bear in mind, the simplest way to avoid any confusion or cost is simply to stick to the speed limit.
How can you be caught?
There are two main ways youâ€™ll be caught breaking the speed limit. Either a police officer will observe you doing it or youâ€™ll be caught by a speed camera. The camera could be a static location one, a mobile camera van or a series of average speed cameras.
If youâ€™re stopped by a police officer they might issue you a verbal warning, a fixed penalty notice (FPN) or order you to go to court.
If youâ€™re caught by a camera you will be issued with notice of intended prosecution (NIP), along with a Section 172 notice, which requires you to tell the police who was driving the car at the time of the offence. Once youâ€™ve returned that you will be issued with an FPN or summoned to court.
How much will it cost?
Most cases of speeding are dealt with via FPN. This mean you will be fined Â£100 (Â£60 in Northern Ireland) and have three penalty points added to your licence.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland if it is your first offence you may be offered a speed awareness course in place of the penalty points but you will have to pay the course fees.
However, depending on the seriousness of the offence or other factors, including previous speeding convictions, you could be prosecuted in court rather than facing an FPN.
If this is the case the maximum fine you will face is Â£1,000, rising to Â£2,500 if the offence is committed on a motorway.
In England and Wales, fines are calculated using a fixed â€œbandâ€ system. Under this you can be charged between 50 per cent and 150 per cent of your weekly wage depending on the severity of the crime. See the table below for a full breakdown.
You will also be given between three and six penalty points and, for Band B or C offences be automatically banned from driving for up to 56 days. In cases of â€œgrosslyâ€ excessive speed longer sentences can also be considered.
As with the ban, the sentencing council allows for mitigating or aggravating factors to be considered, which could see the fine increased or decreased.
In Scotland, if you go to court there are no set fines for speeding offences. Instead, the sentence is largely down to the discretion of the judge. They will take certain factors into account when calculating the sentence, including the carâ€™s speed, a driverâ€™s prior convictions and their ability to pay a fine.
In Northern Ireland, someone guilty of excess speed is liable to a fine of up to Â£1,000, discretionary disqualification and between three and six penalty points.
Will I be fined for being 1mph over the limit?
Technically, 1mph over the limit is still breaking the law and you could be fined. However, due to concerns over inaccurate speedometers and equipment calibration the police tend to allow a discretionary â€œbufferâ€. This is usually given as 10 per cent of the speed limit plus 2mph.
Recently, the National Police Chiefsâ€™ Council said enforcing a zero tolerance approach would not be â€œproportionate or achievableâ€.
However, that doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™t be prosecuted for speeds below the â€œbufferâ€ limit, so the best way to avoid being caught out is to stick to the limit.
Can I appeal?
You can appeal under certain circumstances.
- If you believe you werenâ€™t speeding
- If you werenâ€™t driving
- If the signage was unclear
- If the car was stolen
- If there is an error in the NIP – for example it isnâ€™t your car
- If you do not receive the NIP within 14 days
However, in most of these cases you will have to go to court and prove youâ€™re in the right, and admitting that you were speeding but offering an excuse will virtually never work.