Hundreds of thousands of UK motorists are given speeding tickets every year, but punishments can vary according to the severity of the offence and the discretion of the attending police officer - or the magistrate if it goes to court.

Technically, if you're caught speeding by the police or a speed camera, you could be given a £100 fine (Fixed Penalty Notice - FPN) and have three penalty points to your licence. This is the minimum penalty if one is given to you.

 

An FPN will be issued within 14 days of being caught by an officer or a speed camera. Once issued the recipient has 28 days to state who was driving the speeding vehicle. A court appearance is possible if no reply is received within 28 days.

 

Speed awareness course

You may be able to avoid the fine if you agree to undertake a speed awareness course. However, your eligibility for such a course may be affected if you have been found guilty of a speeding offence within the last three years. Course availability may also depend on which police force is dealing with your offence.

 

Serious cases

In very severe cases, you may need to attend court, and you may be given more penalty points or lose your licence altogether. Penalties can be up to £1,000 - or up to £2,500 if caught speeding on a motorway.

 

In most cases, police won’t prosecute unless you are considered a 'serious offender'. But technically, even exceeding the speed limit by 1 mph is an offence.                                  
                             

You would also need to attend court if you ignore the FPN or decide to dispute it.

 

How might I dispute my FPN?

If there are details missing on the ticket, incorrect or obscured signs in the area you were caught, or if you can prove you weren’t driving, you may have grounds to dispute the FPN. However, excuses such as not being aware of the speed limit, or that the roads were quiet, are very unlikely to sway the judges in your favour.           

 

If your dispute is unsuccessful, you will probably end up paying a much heavier fine than if you just accepted the initial FPN. You might also need professional legal advice, and the process could be time-consuming and stressful.

 

The 10% speed leeway - does it exist?

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) does recommend giving motorists a so-called ‘10% plus 2’ leeway, but as stated, being just 1mph over the limit is an offence. It is unclear whether speed cameras operate with a 10% leeway before triggering.

 

However, the 10% leeway should not be relied on: staying safely within the speed limit is the soundest advice.

 

Disqualification

If you've been referred to court you could be instantly banned from driving. However, in practice magistrates don’t do this unless you were very far over the speed limit. A ban can last for between 7 and 56 days, depending on how serious the offence was. In extreme situations, the ban can last up to 120 days, in which case you would need to reapply for a licence and you may even need to resit your driving test.

 

You might be shown leniency if you were speeding because it was an emergency, or if you would lose your job without a licence.

 

Sentencing guidelines

Legal speed limit (mph)

Recorded speed (mph)

Recorded speed (mph)

Recorded speed (mph)

 

Band A

Band B

Band C

20

21-30

31-40

41 and above

30

31-40

41-50

51 and above

40

41-55

56-65

66 and above

50

51-65

66-75

76 and above

60

61-80

81-90

91 and above

70

71-90

91-100

101 and above

Points/ disqualification

3 points

Disqualify 7-28 days OR 4-6 points

Disqualify 7-56 days OR 6 points

Fine

50% of relevant weekly income*

100% of relevant weekly income*

150% of relevant weekly income*

                                                           

*This is the guideline, but the magistrate can fine you up to 25% on either side of that sum, so serious offenders could face a fine of up to 175% of their weekly income. The fine is capped at £1,000, or £2,500 if the offence took place on a motorway.

 

For more information on speeding, visit Gov.uk