Have you Been Caught for Speeding Offences? - Patterson Law
Section 89 Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 outlines the offence of speeding.
It is up to the prosecution to prove that a person drove the motor vehicle on a road and did so at a speed that exceeded the speed limit. If you are found guilty of speeding you will be liable for not only penalty points on your licence, but a speeding fine as well as court costs.
It is easy to misunderstand the way in which the speed limit is imposed.
It is a misconception to believe that if there is no speed limit sign on the road then the speed limit can’t be imposed.
In section 81 of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984, it states that a road is limited to 30 mph when there is in place a street lighting system furnished by lamps placed at no more than 200 yrds apart (even when there are no speed limit signs in place).
So, any road can be automatically restricted to a 30 mph speed limit regardless of whether there are speed limit signs on display, if the street has a street lighting system made up of lamps that are spaced at intervals of 200 yards or closer.
This means that if you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) advising you that you are to be prosecuted for exceeding a speed limit and you are of the belief that there were not any speed limit signs in place at the location, then you should check to see if there was a system of street lights in place.
If there are street lights, placed at less than 200 yards apart, then the limit is lawful.If you choose to take this matter to court, when you lose you will be ordered to pay a speeding fine which will be larger than the original fixed penalty offer you received from the police.
If however there is no street lighting system in place, the road can only be restricted to a specific limit by speed limit signs. The exact requirements of those signs are set out in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002.
The traffic signs need to comply fully with those regulations with respect to size, colour, shape and visibility. Speed limit signs must also be placed at regular intervals within the speed limit and within specific distances or road junctions.
If The speed limit signs do not comply with these regulations then the speed limit is not lawful and therefore can’t be enforced.
Speeding Fines and Penalties
Speeding offences carry 3 to 6 licence penalty points. For offences involving especially high speeds the court can impose discretionary bans under Section 34 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act.
In addition to points on your licence or a driving ban, the court will order you to pay a speeding fine as well as court costs. The speeding fine and court costs are means tested so will depend on your disposable income.
Standard discretionary bans are for up to a maximum of 56 days, but Section 34 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 states that a discretionary disqualification can be set at whatever time period the Magistrate feels is appropriate for the offence.
Discretionary bans for speeding offences are often used by Magistrates to deliver a short, sharp, shock to the motorist.
There are two main defences for speeding allegations, firstly that it was not you driving at the time of the alleged speeding offence, and secondly that the evidence presented by the prosecution is unreliable.
Theoretically you might also be able to defend a speeding allegation on the basis that you were not driving on a public road at the time, or that you were not driving a motor vehicle.
All of these are technical defences. If you have any questions about how they might be applied to your circumstances then please ask us.
To be found guilty, the prosecution must prove the allegation against you beyond reasonable doubt.
In order to successfully defend this allegation, you need to cast a doubt.
The most common way to defend speeding allegations is by demonstrating that the speed detection device (SDD) was not being used in line with ACPO codes of practice. (Association of Chief Police Officers)
For the prosecution to rely upon evidence provided by a speed detection device, they need to demonstrate to the court that the device was being used in line with Home Office Approval. In order for the device to have Home Office approval, it must be tested by ACPO TET.
ACPO TET determine the criteria for usage of the speed detection device. If the speed detection device has not been used in line with ACPO TET guidance, then it is not being used in line with Home Office approval. If this is the case then the evidence will be deemed unreliable.
Speeding Offences and Defences Conclusion
It is an important point to note that you can’t be convicted of a speeding offence based on the uncorroborated opinion evidence of one police officer. The approved procedure is that if an officer thinks that you might be speeding, he must use a device to corroborate his opinion.
The most common devices include laser guns, a VASCAR device housed inside a police car, which measure distance and time, to corroborate a ‘follow check’. A calibrated speedometer can also be used again by means of a ‘follow check’. GATSO cameras are static box camera at the side of the road which use radar to measure time against distance.
If you have been caught by means of a static GATSO camera, the device will produce two photographs. These two photo’s are timed 0.5 seconds apart. The photo’s produced will therefore show the distance traveled in half a second.
White line markings in the road are spaced a set distance apart, so by counting the number of markings covered on the road it is possible to carry out a secondary check.
Home Office approval guidelines for GATSO cameras state that it has to be possible to carry out a secondary check.
If the road markings are worn, faint or missing it may well be possible to defend your speeding allegation on the grounds that the GATSO was not being used wi the required Home Office approval.
If it’s possible to carry out a secondary check, the result must be within 10% of the initial camera evidence from the GATSO. If the difference is greater than 10% then it is usually possible to defend allegations that come from GATSO cameras.All speed detection devices are subject to strict calibration requirements in order to be used within Home Office approval guidelines and for the evidence they provide to be treated as reliable.
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Please bear in mind that this advice only applies to speeding in the UK.
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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