Increased Sentencing for Speeding Offences Q&A
The Law Of… increasing speeding penalties
The Sentencing Council for England and Wales has published the details of increased penalties available to the courts for those convicted of serious speeding offences. Julie Robertson, Head of Motoring and Criminal Defences at Simpson Millar, answers the key questions regarding the changes.
Tasked with devising the guidelines which the courts must adhere to when issuing sentences, the Sentencing Council is an independent public body promoting transparency and consistency when it comes to sentencing. In its latest press release, it announced that harsher penalties for speeding offences were being introduced in order to:
"… ensure that there is a clear increase in fine level as the seriousness of offending increases."
We take a look at what the revised sentencing could mean for you.
Who Will Be Affected By The New Sentencing For Speeding Offences?
Any driver convicted of what is classed as a serious – or 'top band' – speeding offence, will be subject to the new sentencing. Once the guidelines take effect, if you have been summoned to court and found guilty, you will be sentenced in line with the latest recommendations.
What Constitutes A Serious Speeding Offence?
The severity of a speeding offence is based upon the speed you were travelling at and the speed limit of the road you were recorded on. The most serious offences are as follows:
|Speed Limit (mph)
||41 or above
||51 or above
||66 or above
||76 or above
||91 or above
||101 or above
These all fall under the 'Band C' category for determining the level of the fine, which is the severest available for this type of offence.
What Are The New Sentences?
Whereas previously the guidelines called for those convicted within the 'Band C' category to be fined 100% of their relevant weekly income, the penalty has been increased to 150%.
There remains a 6 point endorsement and the possibility for disqualification of between 7 and 56 days. If it is alleged you were driving 'grossly in excess' of the speed limit, a disqualification of more than 56 days is an option.
Are There Any Aggravating Or Mitigating Factors The Court Will Take Into Account?
The new penalty acts as a baseline regardless of circumstances.
If guilt is established, then the court will consider additional factors that may either reduce or increase the sentence. The range of the fine in the 'Band C' category is 125% to 175% of your relevant weekly income.
There are statutory aggravating factors that will affect your sentence. These are:
- Previous convictions for related offences and time passed since those convictions
- Whether the alleged offence was committed while on bail.
Additional aggravating factors that may affect your penalty include:
- The road or weather conditions when the offence is alleged to have taken place
- Whether you were on license or post sentence supervision at the time
- The location of the alleged offence, such as the proximity of any local schools
- The volume of traffic or pedestrians within the vicinity.
Mitigating factors that may reduce the amount of your sentence include:
- Lack of previous, relevant or recent convictions
- Established good character
- It is proven the alleged offence took place in response to a genuine emergency.
When does the new sentencing for speeding offences come into effect?
The guidelines were published on 24th January 2017. The new sentencing for serious speeding offences comes into effect on 24th April 2017.
"The arrival of harsher sentencing for serious speeding offences this spring makes it more important than ever to ensure you take expert legal advice, if it is alleged you have committed such an act."
"Regardless of evidence offered against you, you do not have to accept the presumed offence and securing legal representation at the earliest stage will ensure your solicitor can offer you the best defence. Anyone summoned has the right to test the evidence on which the allegation is based. They are entitled to challenge the Prosecution to prove that the device used to measure speed has been used and operated correctly. They are entitled to any benefit of doubt – particularly where a police officer has erred in the operation of speed enforcement technology. At Simpson Millar we understand how enforcement technology works and what is required for the Prosecution to secure a conviction."