Court Hearing & Sentencing Guidelines for Speeding Fines
- Which Court will deal with my speeding case?
- What are the Court sentencing guidelines / fine levels?
- Will I also have to pay Court costs or any other penalties in addition to a fine?
- Are there ways to reduce the fine or help my case?
- What mitigation will the Court be looking for? What should I say to the Court?
- Can I pay a higher fine to avoid a disqualification?
- Will I be given time to pay?
- Can I deal with my case by post?
- Can I represent myself on a guilty speeding case?
- Can I represent myself on a not guilty speeding case?
- How will legal advice/representation benefit me?
The case will normally be referred to the Court which is closest to where the incident took place. In England and Wales, cases are dealt with at the Magistrates' Court. In Scotland, cases are referred to either the Justice of the Peace Court or the Sheriff's Court, depending on the severity of the offence.
The punishments imposed by the Courts are set by the sentencing guidelines based on the severity of the offence, the Defendant's past record, mitigation and any other circumstances that the Court feels should be taken into account. Whilst the Court receives suggested guidelines for each offence, the final outcome is entirely at the Court's discretion.
Punishments can range from 3 points and £100 fine to disqualification and a fine of £2,500.
Having taken into account the Sentencing Guidelines, the Court will also consider the Defendant's circumstances/ability to pay by referring to the Statement of Means.
Yes. If convicted, you will also be ordered to pay prosecution costs, if appropriate witness expenses, as well as a victim's surcharge which is currently set at £15.00.
Yes. Much depends upon the information you detail in the Statement of Means and the mitigation you put forward. An early guilty plea should also result in a reduced fine.
Although any submission should include an explanation for the offence and details of the potential implications, the fact of the matter is that there is no set formula as each individual's circumstances will be different. The Court will consider your case on the merits of your situation alone so it is important that any submission covers your particular scenario.
In theory, this approach should not work. However, there is certainly some evidence to suggest that some Courts will be more lenient on the number of penalty points if it is apparent that the Defendant can pay an increased fine. That said, you cannot "buy" your licence and there is a risk that any individual who declares an ability to pay a high fine will be told by the Court that they can pay for a driver so it is important that careful consideration is given to what information is disclosed and the general approach to the case.
Please refer to our Paying a Fine page for further information:
Many cases can be resolved without a personal attendance. The Court will normally offer the opportunity to put forward a written plea of mitigation which will then be considered in your absence on the day of the hearing.
However, for more serious offences, when the Court is considering either a totting up or instant disqualification, a personal appearance will be required. How the matter is concluded is at the discretion of the Court. On some occasions, although the paperwork indicates that a written plea will be considered, the Court can then reject same and set a new date for the Defendant to attend.
Yes. Whilst it is essential that you have prepared the appropriate mitigation, and have some understanding of what is relevant/irrelevant, you do not need to have a representative present, as long as you are fully prepared and are comfortable and capable of putting your submission to the Court.
In theory there is no reason why you cannot represent yourself in as much as it is your right and entitlement to run your own defence if you wish. However, it makes sense to have guidance and representation. The Court will not assist you and you will be expected to understand the law, the process and be able to conduct the case correctly. This could include cross examining the Police or other expert witnesses as well as presenting your own version of events. Bear in mind that as many not guilty pleas depend on the accuracy of specialist equipment, you will need to have good knowledge of quite technical issues.
In addition to removing the burden of preparing the case and reducing the worry/anxiety factor, by instructing a motoring specialist, you will also know that the submission prepared is the best that will be available for your circumstances. If you choose representation, the person that attends Court will have good knowledge of that particular Court as well as the appropriate law etc.