Prosecution for a speeding offence

When is a speeding fine worth contesting?

Contesting a speeding ticket is a risky business (speeding offence). If a court decides in favour of police or speed camera evidence, your small speeding penalty could turn into a bigger one! That’s why experts reckon less than one per cent of UK speeding tickets are contested, and only around half of those appeals are successful.

Most successful appeals are built around the technicalities of how and where a ticket was issued, although many speed camera penalties are dropped if a vehicle’s registered keeper responds to a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) by claiming they can’t remember who was driving. This is itself a risky claim, because if a magistrate’s court chooses not to believe it, they can fine the vehicle’s keeper £1,000 for not identifying the culprit and issue a driving ban. 

Potential reasons for contesting a speeding ticket

A Notice of Intended Prosecution will be issued to the offender in the post automatically after you’ve been snapped by a speed camera. If you’ve been caught by a policeman operating a radar gun, the NIP may be verbal. If a postal NIP is issued, it must be delivered to the registered keeper within 14 days of the alleged offence, and the keeper must respond within 28 days with the information requested – even if they are choosing to appeal.

Common legal defences for UK speeding fines 

  • • The NIP has incorrect details about the nature, time, or location of the alleged offence. (Spelling mistakes or typos don’t count.)
  • • The alleged speeder wasn’t driving when the offence took place – for a variety of reasons.
  • • The road signage for speed limits was missing or incorrect.
  • • The speed measuring equipment had not been calibrated or was being misused.

Contesting a speeding ticket – next steps

There are plenty of websites giving details of the technicalities that have been used to get speeding offence allegations dropped. Some even have an online calculator to tell you the likely size of a court fine for a given offence.

First, you have to reply to your speeding ticket with a not guilty plea. This will result in you being summoned to a court hearing.

If you’re confident that you have valid grounds to contest your speeding ticket, if you are a diligent researcher and if have the confidence and intelligence to put your case forward in a magistrate’s court, you may consider going it alone. You are perfectly within your rights to do so, and magistrates can be sympathetic to a well-considered and respectfully argued case from a member of the public.

Representing yourself is certainly cheaper than hiring a lawyer to contest a speeding ticket case. The magistrates, however, won’t take kindly to having their time wasted if you haven’t fully understood the law, or exactly what it is that you need to show in order to prove your innocence.

In most low-level cases, going to court over a speeding fine will be a risk that isn’t worth taking. When the financial stakes are higher, or a driving ban is in the offing, seeking legal advice may be a sensible option.

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