Strictly speaking, you’re speeding as soon as you go over the stated speed limit. If you’re on a road with a 30mph limit, as soon as you hit 31mph, you’re speeding. However, to avoid the police spending all their time dealing with drivers with a slightly heavy foot, and to help drivers concentrate on the road rather than their speedometers, there are allowances and margins. Most police forces give drivers an additional 10% on the speed limit plus 2mph for camera and speedo errors. So, if you’re on a 30mph road, you’ll be OK up to 35mph; 10% (3mph) plus 2mph.
Despite these allowances, however, some drivers still fall foul of the law and end up being caught and fined or prosecuted. If you’re caught speeding, you’ll face several possible outcomes.
The Fixed Penalty Notice
If you weren’t too far over the limit, then you’ll probably get a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). These penalties are usually used to deal with drivers caught by speed cameras and they consist of a £100 fine and three points on the licence.
The police must serve you with a Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days from the day of the offence.
If you were significantly over the speed limit, or if you already have several points on your licence, you may face a bigger fine and even a ban. For non-motorway speeding, you will get a fine of a maximum £1,000 and this increases to up to £2,500 for motorway driving.
What about the penalty points?
Most speeding offences warrant three to six points depending on the speed you were doing and your previous record. Sometimes mitigating circumstances are taken into account, so it’s important that you have good legal help from a team of motoring offence lawyers.
How many points means a ban?
Some speeds and offences can result in an immediate ban, but you may end up with a disqualification under the totting-up system. If you receive three points on your licence and these take you up to 12 points or more in three years, you will be at risk of a totting up ban.
I admit I was speeding; can I avoid the points?
If you have a previously clean record and you weren’t too far over the limit, the police might send you on a speed awareness course instead of giving you points. You’ll pay for the course, as well as the fine, but it’s better than the points.
What happens if I have to go to court?
If you were well over the speed limit, or if you face disqualification under the totting-up system, you’ll have to go to court. This is where you may get the fines of up to £1,000 or £2,500, and you may also have to pay court costs. The fines vary because the courts will look at your record and the mitigating circumstances of your offence.
The points on my licence are bad news – how long will they stay there?
Your points will stay on your licence for totting up purposes for three years, and the endorsement on your licence will remain for between four and 11 years (depending on the offence). The endorsement will need to be declared to your insurers for at least 5 years from the date of the offence.