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Speed cameras are now a fact of life and will play a steadily greater role in the policing of our roads as time goes by.

Whether you support or loath the cameras, they are here to stay, so what are the implications if you are unfortunate enough to be snapped by a speed camera or pulled over by a police officer with a radar gun?

Think you’ve been caught by a camera?

If you have triggered a camera, a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days.

Received a notice of intended prosecution?

You must complete and return the driver information form. Normally you will be offered a fixed penalty, which if you accept, will mean penalty points upon your licence and a fixed financial penalty. If you do not accept the fixed penalty your case will be referred to the Magistrates’ Court. Remember, you are obliged to inform your car insurance company if penalty points are endorsed on your licence.
Generally, if you were driving significantly above the limit or your latest speeding offence will result in the imposition of penalty points that would take you up to or over a total of twelve penalty points, your case will be referred to the Magistrates’ Court.

Penalties For Speeding

Disqualification

As a rule of thumb, the magistrates will not consider disqualification unless you are found to have been driving at a speed more than thirty miles over the legal limit.

This is a very general rule and disqualification may still be considered at a lower speed if there are aggravating features such as poor weather conditions, travelling in a built up area – especially near a school or old people’s home or if there are children in the car.

If the magistrates consider disqualification in your case, they will order you to attend court so that you can advance mitigation as to why you should not be disqualified from driving. At this stage, you should seriously consider seeking legal representation from an experienced solicitor, especially if your driving licence is important to you.

Penalty Points

The magistrates may decide to impose three to six penalty points rather than disqualify you from driving.

Automatic Ban For Twelve Or More Penalty Points

If your latest speeding offence will result in the imposition of penalty points that would take you up to or over a total of twelve penalty points, you will be ordered to attend court to face disqualification under the totting up procedure. Drivers ordered to attend court this way are called “Totters”.

A totter must be disqualified for a minimum period of six months unless he/she can establish, to the satisfaction of the magistrates, that he/she would suffer exceptional hardship if he/she were disqualified from driving.
Exceptional hardship is most commonly based upon the potential loss of employment and the effect that would have upon a family but a whole range of circumstances, including the potential effect upon elderly relatives, disabled children or the totter’s own health or mobility could be argued.

If you become a totter, you should seriously consider seeking professional legal advice, especially if your licence is important to you. To argue that you would suffer exceptional hardship, you will need to give evidence on oath and to face cross examination by an experienced Crown Prosecutor – this can be a difficult task if you are unused to giving evidence in court and we can help you prepare for this.

If you need advice regarding a speeding offence, please do not hesitate to contact any of our specialist Criminal Defence lawyers to arrange an appointment at either our Peterborough or Stamford office.

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