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A Speedy-Speeding-Penalty Update

January 26, 2017 by in category News, Speeding tagged as with 0 and 1
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speeding penalty update

How many times have you fallen prey to those speed cameras perched like vultures behind large trees or craftily hidden behind some other road feature? In 2015 nearly 170,000 people across England and Wales were sentenced in a speed related offence; 166,216 of us receiving NIP’s and subsequent fines for them.  Police, Magistrates and Criminal Justice experts have all advocated for stiffer sentences with regards to speeding and it looks like they are finally getting them!

What is going to happen?

Clients who get in touch with us about speeding allegations, often receive vastly different advice about their options as there are a myriad of regulations and procedures that must have been followed for a speeding prosecution to stick. Whilst there are many valid and lawful technical challenges to most speeding cases, drivers will be looking at much harsher penalties, if convicted, come into force April 24th 2017.

Amongst other criminal offences such as animal cruelty and TV licence evasion, the penalties outlined in the Magistrates’ Sentencing Guidelines for speeding offences have been reviewed. The intention of the Sentencing Council being to drive home the potential harm that can result from increased speeds behind the wheel. This tougher stance is also in line with harsher penalties for mobile phone driving offences coming into effect on March 1st 2017.

At the time of writing, the absolute limit for a speeding fine is 100% of the driver’s weekly wage limited to a maximum fine of either £1,000 or £2,500 if the speeding offence is committed on a motorway.

When the proposed guidelines coming into force in April, the Magistrates will be able to increase the maximum fine for the more serious speeding offences to a painful level of 150% of a driver’s weekly wages. (This is currently the fine levied for more serious offences such as drink driving and drug driving although these have no maximum cap on the fine.)

What do the new speed limits look like?

To illustrate the gravity of the changes, if you were caught doing 42mph in a 20mph zone or anything above 100mph on a motorway – you may find yourself with a fine equivalent to 150% of your weekly wage. The maximum fines that motorists could face remains capped at level 3 (£1,000 for normal roads) and level 4 (£2,500 for motorways.)

Per the Sentencing Council’s official website, the average fine for speeding in England and Wales in 2015 was £188-£200 per offence.

The figures for 2016 have yet to be published. However, the new proposed penalties are as follows:

Speed Limit (mph)Recorded Speed (mph)
2041 and above31 – 4021 – 30
3051 and above41 – 5031 – 40
4066 and above56 – 6541 – 55
5076 and above66 – 7551 – 65
6091 and above81 – 9061 – 80
70101 and above91 – 10071 – 90
Sentencing RangeBand C FineBand B FineBand A Fine
Points/DisqualificationDisqualify 7 – 56 days OR 6 pointsDisqualify 7 – 28 days OR 4 – 6 points3 points

Do the Magistrates stick to the Sentencing Guidelines?

Generally, for the sake of clarity and consistency, Magistrates will follow the sentencing guideline recommendations – unless “it is not in the interests of justice to do so”.

The Guidelines dictate the sentencing range for the offence which is taken from legislation that is currently in force. For speeding offences, this is the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

This means in exceptional circumstances, if the presiding Magistrate believes the sentencing guidelines do not fit the offence, he can pass down a sentence outside of the guideline’s ambits. Our involvement in a case and out meticulous mitigation presentation often leads to a departure from the guidelines so that our clients walk away from court with a far more favourable outcome than might otherwise be the case.

What can I do if I am caught?

It may seem an obvious question to ask but even if a motorist is alleged to have been driving at a speed that is well above the limit, it is still possible and perfectly lawful for us to defend them. Alternatively, a damage limitation exercise may be the preferred way to go, especially if faced with a hefty fine in the future….

Our team here at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors have achieved great successes over the years in achieving full acquittals with our speeding cases. These range from allegations of low speeds in the 30’s which under the current law attracts penalty points and a fine; right up to allegations of speeds over 100mph which involve the possibility of a driving ban.

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