How to Defend a Speeding Ticket Allegation - Patterson Law
How do you defend a speeding allegation?
Whatever you do, you cannot invent a defence – either you do have a valid defence for your allegation or you don’t.
If you are found to be misleading the police by saying for example that you were not driving the vehicle when you were, then you can be charged with the offence of perverting the course of justice which is far worse than speeding.
You would have effectively talked up a minor offence into an imprisonable offence.
So whatever you do, don’t make anything up!
Additionally, if you mislead the court while giving evidence under oath then you will be committing the offence of perjury. If you are found to have committed perjury, you will probably go to prison, which is much worse than potentially losing your licence might be.
Dodgy Speeding Defences
On the internet there are lots of scam sites offering wonder cures for everything including motoring offences. Any hearsay loopholes that might have once existed have long been closed, so don’t believe that sending a few pre written letters will stop the police issuing you with a summons.
The police hear stories everyday about friends from abroad being the driver of the car at the time of the offence and now they have gone back to Timbuktu and you don’t have their contact details.
They won’t believe you, and will investigate you further and in all likelihood prosecute you for failing to give the driver identity (6 points).
They will also at this point also ask you to provide proof that they were insured to drive your vehicle and if you can’t provide that proof, they will threaten you with permitting him to drive without insurance (6-8 points) should you be unable to provide suitable proof.
If the police really don’t believe your version of events, they will start to ask questions in order to prove that you are attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The common technique is to tie you up in knots. They deal with similar cases everyday, so are much more familiar with how to catch you out. They will successfully outwit you 90% of the time.
So what are the defences and do I have one?
How you can get off a Speeding Charge....
It is up to the prosecution to prove to the court beyond reasonable doubt each of these elements of the case;
- The drivers identity
- That they were driving a motor vehicle
- That they were driving on a public road or in a public place
- That they were exceeding the speed limit at the time
The prosecution need to prove all of these points of the speeding offence in order to get a conviction, so if they can’t prove any one of them then the whole prosecution case fails.
Speeding mitigating Circumstances
This in turn means that if you can cast a doubt on any of the following;
- The suggestion that you were driving
- The suggestion that you were in a motor vehicle
- The suggestion that you were on a public road or in a public place
- The suggestion that you were exceeding the speed limit
Then you must be found to be not guilty.
Sounds easy eh?!
It is not up to you to prove anything to the court, you only need to be able to cast a doubt. BUT, it’s not always that straightforward!!
Get off a Speeding Ticket
How do I cast a doubt?
Defence 1 - The identity of the driver.
In response to the request for the drivers identity under Section 172 of the Road traffic Act 1988, you have probably already admitted being the driver. This confession amounts to evidence and will be used by the prosecution to prove that you were driving at the time.
But, it is your confession and we have had previous cases where clients have admitted to being the driver, only to later discover that they were not driving at the time and have subsequently retracted their confession.
As long as you are believed when you make that retraction, this may be enough on its own to create a doubt with regard to that element of the prosecutions case. If you can provide reasonable doubt in relation to who was driving then the case will fail.
We have had other cases where the defendant denied ever driving the particular vehicle and disputed that he was the person stopped. It transpired that someone else had given his details to the police!
If the police have failed to verify the identity of the driver when they stopped them then they run the risk that the person they prosecute in court isn’t who they think they are…..
This argument is: I wasn’t driving at the time.
People have argued that they weren't driving when they were pushing a car with the engine off (not in speeding cases but in relation to other types of road traffic offence) - it's all about motion and control. If the car is moving and you have control over it you are likely to be treated as driving it!
Defence 2 - It wasn't a motor vehicle.
Most methods of transport going fast enough to get caught for speeding will be considered to be motor vehicles, making this a difficult argument for speeding related offences…… but it is possible.
Defence 3 - It wasn't a public road or public place.
If it isn’t a public place, then there is unlikely to be an enforceable speed limit in place so again, for speeding offences this is an unlikely argument.
Any road or place to which the public have unrestricted access will be regarded as a public place so road traffic laws will apply. Supermarket car parks are virtually always regarded as public places.
Defence 4 - I wasn't speeding.
Of all the possible defences for speeding allegations, this is the most common.
All you need to do remember is to cast a doubt. If your only defence is to say “I wasn’t speeding” then an officer who believed you were speeding, together with the evidence of a speed detection device reading will get you convicted of the offence.
It is up to you to demonstrate to the court that the officer didn’t use the speed detection device correctly, thus rendering the evidence as unreliable, or to show that the speed detection device wasn’t working correctly.
Just denying the speeding offence is not enough to cast a doubt!
Speed detection devices are very accurate and usually reliable, but they can only be accepted as evidence if they are used in complete accordance with Home Office approval. This approval is only granted to a device after stringent testing by ACPO TET (The scientific section of the Association of Chief Police Officers).
ACPO TET determine the conditions under which the device was tested and found to be accurate, so if the police fail to use the speed detection device in the same way then it is not being used in accordance with Home Office approval which then makes the evidence it provides inadmissible.
Things to check;
- Check device calibration certificates (each speed detection device must be recalibrated every 12 months).
- Check the police officer did pre and post tour of duty calibration checks.
- Check the police officer used the device within the range abilities of that particular speed detection device
- Check the secondary check on the GATSO - the white lines painted on the road are a secondary check and should provide a speed reading within 10% of the primary check, if the secondary check is outside 10% of the initial reading then the GATSO is not reliable.
It is important that you have real foundation to your arguments as magistrates and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) tend to have very little patience with people who try to raise these arguments without sufficient knowledge to back them up.
When you receive a summons you will notice that it refers to offences under the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984. This is unusual because most road traffic offences are covered by the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Not for speeding offences though!! Speeding offences are covered by R.89 Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 (RTRA 1984).
The penalties for speeding offences are covered by Schedule 2 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. This may also be mentioned in your summons.
Schedule 2 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988) states that the offence of speeding carries a fine and 3 – 6 penalty points and/or the risk of a discretionary ban.
Always remember - if you have a trial and lose you will get a heavier sentence and hefty court costs on top of your fine!
We can advise you whether you are likely to win or lose and how best to proceed with your speeding defence, please Ask a FREE question without obligation TODAY!
If you have a court hearing date call 01626 359800
A new client came to us after being banned by the Magistrates for 6 months. He had accumulated 12 points within 3 years and the Magistrates court banned him for 6 months. The client tried to argue exceptional hardship on his own and the court rejected his argument.
Our client instructed us to represent him at court when he was charged with overloading a hired minibus. He had hired the minibus as he had his extended family visiting for a holiday. At the same time builders were refurbishing his house and asked him if he could help them collect some extra sand and cement. Our client agreed and they went with him to the DIY shop to collect the materials.
Our client was stopped on the way back home for overloading. He was devasted by the charge and the subsequent court proceedings, due to the fact that it was an innocent mistake and he was in the process of applying for an indefinite leave to remain in the UK visa.
He approached many so called motoring lawyers before us who told him to plead guilty and take the fine and points. We acted on his behalf and made a special reasons argument and also an argument under s.48 RTOA 88. The court agreed not to give any points and to impose an absolute discharge meaning that the conviction was imediately spent.
At Patterson Law we think outside of the box and we go the extra mile to try and achieve the results you need. Contact us now on 01626 359800 or email email@example.com if you want lawyers who represent an island of excellence in a sea of mediocrity!
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