Being a boy racer, late for a meeting, forgotten to pick the kids up from school, or simply having a leaden foot all result in drivers exceeding the statutory speed limit. So, what happens if you get caught speeding? How does it affect you, your driving licence, and potentially your lifestyle?
How many points can I have on my licence?
The ideal number of points on your licence is zero – no infringements, no points. A lovely clean driving licence is always to be preferred. However, sometimes we can get caught speeding, and penalty points will usually be the result. Each endorsement has a different code, which will show up on your licence. According to the www.gov.uk website:
|SP10||Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits||3 to 6|
|SP20||Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)||3 to 6|
|SP30||Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road||3 to 6|
|SP40||Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit||3 to 6|
|SP50||Exceeding speed limit on a motorway||3 to 6|
Most common endorsements are the SP30 and SP50. As you can see, a range of penalty points can be applied – The minimum penalty is £100 fine and 3 penalty points but this can increase up to 6 penalty points and a higher fine depending upon the severity of speeding offence. You can also be disqualified outright for speeding if the speed is in excess of 100mph.
If you are caught by a static speed camera, you will usually receive 2 Notices in the post although there is a legal obligation to send 1 alone. The 2nd is a reminder Notice of Intended Prosecution: Notice of Intended Prosecution and a S172 Notice which requires you to disclose who was driving the vehicle. If you return the S172 within 28 days, you would either receive a Fixed Penalty Notice with the points to be added to your licence or if the offence is severe, a letter requiring you to appear in court.
If you ignore the Notices, you are fast-tracking yourself to court.
If you are stopped by a police officer for speeding, they can either simply give you a verbal warning, a Fixed Penalty Notice with the points to be added to your licence, or order you to court. The relevant paperwork would follow.
When you are issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, you can choose to plead guilty or not guilty.
If you plead guilty, usually you would be issued with the minimum penalty (£100 fine and 3 points) or instructed to attend a speed awareness course (if appropriate to the offence and you haven’t attended one within the past 3 years).
If you choose to plead not guilty, then you must appear in court, where if found guilty could result in an increased number of penalty points and a higher fine. The fine is often calculated as a percentage of your weekly income and depends upon the speed involved. You could also be disqualified from driving, if the offence is deemed serious enough.
Also, a word of warning for new drivers: if you are caught speeding within 2 years of passing your driving test, and you have exceeded 6 penalty points, then your licence will be revoked.
How long do speeding points stay on your licence?
The most common length of time is 4 years from the date of the offence, but they remain active for only 3 years.
In some instances, it can be up to 11 years depending upon the offence, such as death by dangerous driving or drink driving. Check out www.gov.uk/speeding-penalties
Points are automatically removed from your licence once the time limit has expired.
How many points can I get on my licence before a ban?
The maximum number of points you can have on your licence is 12 points. Under a system known as ‘totting up’, if you get 12 penalty points within a 3-year period, then you will be immediately disqualified from driving for a specified period of time. See our separate blog post on ‘Totting Up’
If you already have 9 or more points on your licence and you get caught speeding again, there is no further fixed penalty but instead a summons to court.
How can I check the points on my licence?
Heaven forbid that you have been stopped speeding so many times you have lost count of the number of points on your licence, but if you do need to check (because it’s been a few years since your last speeding ticket), you can check by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
So, when would I need a solicitor for a speeding offence?
For a simple SP30 and first offence you are unlikely to require a solicitor, unless you choose to challenge the offence in which case you will be asked to appear in court. If you already have an endorsement on your licence for speeding, then you could potentially face a ban from driving. The court would only be likely to impose a prison sentence if the speeding also results in dangerous driving.
The court system can be complex, so it is wise to consult with a solicitor who specialises in speeding offences – at Keep My Driving Licence we have a team of expert solicitors who are waiting to help you.