Don’t be an April fool and get caught speeding, especially after the 24th April 2017 when revised speeding sentences come into force.
Sentencing guidelines are set by the Sentencing Guidelines Council, who distribute the new penalty ranges to the Court system. The penalties available to Magistrates and Judges will increase from the 24th April 2017. Whilst it will still be possible to mitigate any sentence imposed by the Courts, they will now fully take into account your weekly income, and set any financial penalty for speeding offences accordingly.
Woodfines motoring law expert, Mike Hayward and his team regularly represent drivers caught speeding. These range from occupational drivers of lorries and buses, through to motorcyclists. Some drivers will be caught at eye watering speeds, but the majority may have entered a 30mph limit from a 40mph and been caught at 35mph. Others may have mistakenly carried on driving at 70mph on a motorway, notwithstanding the speed limit being temporarily dropped to 60mph. These are frequent accounts, and ones that have grave consequences for those needing their driving licence for their day to day business, work and personal reasons.
Clearly deterrents have to be present to persuade those from carrying out speeding offences, as speeding is after all illegal, and the consequences can be significant. However, it is to be seen whether or not the increase in penalties will have any effect, and this can, to some extent, be seen by the recent increase in the penalty for the use of mobile phones when driving, which has risen from 3 to 6 points. Notwithstanding the significant amount of roadside fixed penalties being issued, it would appear that some drivers have still not taken heed of that deterrent.
Speeding is illegal no matter the percentage, but the impact of accruing points and facing a loss of licence under the totting up procedure can be devastating, (this being where you accrue 12 points or more within a 3 year period and therefore lose your licence for 6 months). We frequently see that it is only when somebody obtains 9 points, and know that if they commit one further offence, and may lose their licence, that they find themselves changing their driving habits. Whilst it is possible in limited cases to argue that exceptional hardship would arise in the event of accruing 12 points and being disqualified, the Courts are rightly becoming tougher in relation to the application of that submission.
These stricter rules coming into force on 24th April have been welcomed by motorist groups as a deterrent, and the Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines Council state that they are reacting to the feedback being given from the Courts in relation to the need to hand out greater fines.
Whilst the new guidelines and the higher penalty regime will come into force on Monday 24th April, the guidelines will be based on the date the case appears before the Magistrates Court, not on the date it was committed.
The new speeding guidelines will take into account fines based on categories. Some offences will carry a Band A fine and be based on 50% of a weekly income whilst a higher speed, or graver offence will carry a Band B fine which is 100% of a weekly income and Band C at 150%. This means that if you were to be caught driving at over 101mph in a 70mph limit then this places you into the Band C category and therefore can receive a fine of up to £2,500.00.
If you receive a Summons or Requisition to appear at Court, then you must gather all you can to mitigate the offence. This means explaining to the Court why it happened and what your personal circumstances are. You must also complete a Statement of Means Form setting out your income and outgoings and it is important that this form is completed accurately. Many people turn up at Court and complete it in a rush and under pressure. It is important therefore to fully prepare for the hearing in advance to ensure that that all of the information provided to the court is accurate. You should never mislead the Court in relation to details of your income.
The Court will still take into account aggravating and mitigating factors when determining the level of punishment to be imposed, before taking into account your financial status and your weekly income. The full guidelines can be found here. If you require any assistance in navigating through them, or have any particular case you would like to discuss with one of our motoring team, then please contact us on one of the office numbers below.
At a time when our lives are not always within a small radius, and we are driving long distances to take our children to School, commuting, meeting clients throughout the country or driving out of town to go shopping, the fact remains that we rely heavily on our vehicles. Roads are congested and daily pressures are often the reason for people finding themselves speeding to get to a location. Speeding is dangerous and in addition to the sentencing guidelines imposed in relation to straightforward speeding offences, you should always bear in mind if you are involved in a fatal accident, or where serious injury is caused as a result of excessive speeding, then you could face allegations of death by dangerous driving or dangerous driving. The consequences of those fall outside of the speeding guidelines, and that leads to a risk of imprisonment and certain disqualification.
Woodfines motoring team specialise in representing individuals and companies facing any form of compliance breach, and frequently support those facing motoring allegations. Early intervention is always key and therefore if you have any concerns about any allegation faced then please contact a member of our team at Milton Keynes on 01908 202150