You’ve probably heard on the news that the sentencing for speeding has been stiffened up. The changes came into effect on the 24th April. Only offence committed after that date are affected, even if they haven’t been dealt with by the court yet. As ever, when lawyers get involved, the whole process is far more complicated than it needs to be. (Otherwise nobody would need a lawyer and that would never do!)
The sentence is in 2 parts. One affects your bank balance, the other affects your driving licence. Both are covered in the table below:
|Speed Limit (mph)||Recorded Speed (mph)|
|20||41 and above||31 – 40||21 – 30|
|30||51 and above||41 – 50||31 – 40|
|40||66 and above||56 – 65||41 – 55|
|50||76 and above||66 – 75||51 -65|
|60||91 and above||81 – 90||61 – 80|
|70||101 and above||91 – 100||71 – 90|
|Sentencing range||Band C fine||Band B fine||Band A fine|
|Disqualify 7 – 56 days|
OR 6 points
|Disqualify 7 – 28 days|
OR 4 – 6 points
Dealing with the financial side of things first, there are a number of factors to consider but in simple terms find the column that fits your case and then look at your ‘sentencing range.’ Your fine will be one of 3 bands – A, B or C.
Band A is 50% of your relevant weekly income
Band B is 100% of your relevant weekly income
Band C is 150% of your relevant weekly income
Your relevant weekly income is your weekly wage after tax and national insurance.
Simple enough so far? It would seem so, but again we can’t have it easy can we?
If you have no weekly income or you receive benefits, the court will assume your income is £120
If the court has no information about your income, it will assume you receive £440
OR, the court can make assumptions based on the circumstances – if you were driving a brand new Rolls Royce, the court may think you earn a little bit of money. Likewise, if you happen to be a Premier League footballer, the court may well decide that bring home a bit more than £440 per week.
We’re almost finished with the money side of things, but first we have to talk about ‘credit.’
The court does not want you to plead Not Guilty – it does their statistics no good at all – so you’re given every incentive to plead Guilty as soon as possible. Plead guilty at the first hearing and the court will knock a third off your sentence. Plead Guilty on the day of trial and you get a tenth off. Only if you are convicted after trial do you pay the whole lot.
All of this subject to the upper limits. The maximum fine for speeding on a motorway is £2,500. On any other road, it’s £1,000
Next comes the ‘victim surcharge’ that gets added any fine the court imposes. This will be 10% of your fine or £30, whichever is the higher.
Finally, you’ll have costs to consider. Plead Guilty on day one and you’ll pay £85. If you are convicted after trial, the prosecution will claim £620 – unless the trial involves expert witnesses. In that case, think of a number, double and then add a couple of thousand and that’s somewhere near the figure you’ll pay.
Now onto your driving licence. Again, you need to look at the table and find your column. If your case is in the 3rd, then it’s a simple case of getting 3 points onto your licence. Let’s be blunt, if this you then paying for lawyer is probably not worth it – even for the quality representation you get from MLB – unless, of course, this is pushing you up to 12, but that’s for another blog. Columns 1 and 2 are a different matter entirely. If you’re in column 2, then disqualification is a risk and you may need to think about a lawyer. If you’re in column 1 then disqualification is likely – this really is ‘get a specialist right now’ territory.
Whilst the financial side of things can be worked out with a calculator, once you’ve got your head around ‘banding’ and ‘relevant weekly income’ and ‘credit’ the question of points/disqualification is more of an art than a science. The court has to take into account the following aggravating factors:
- Offence committed on prison licence
- Poor road or weather conditions
- Driving LGV, HGV, PSV etc
- Towing caravan/trailer
- Carrying passengers or heavy load
- Driving for hire or reward
- Unacceptable standard of driving over and above the speed
- Location e.g. near a school
- High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity
Of course, the more of these factors that are present, the more likely the court will consider disqualification
The court is also directed to factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation:
- No previous convictions
- Good character and/or exemplary conduct
- Genuine emergency established
This can cover a whole multitude of mitigating features. The court will take into account a massive range of factors both for and against the driver.
So where, does leave you? Probably a bit confused. (As I said earlier, if we didn’t make it unnecessarily complicated, no one would ever need a lawyer.)
Of course, I should advise you not to speed, but you’re reading this so it’s fair to assume that that ship has sailed. Perhaps then, two more useful pieces of advice – 1) the closer you are to column one, the more you’ll be needing a lawyer 2) the more you prepare with your lawyer, the better your prospects of keeping your licence.