Civil vs criminal driving offences

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samuel23 | 20:30 Fri 24th Aug 2007 | Law
14 Answers
At an interview I was recently asked if I had any criminal convictions, to which I replied 'no'. The interviewer then produced my application form and asked me if I would like to reconsider my answer.
On the form I had put that I had once had 3 points on my licence for a speeding offence, (caught by a mobile camera doing 36 in a 30 zone). This was about 5 years ago and the points have subsiquently been removed. The interviewer was adamant that this was a criminal conviction and I should have declareed it as such ~ was he right? Is this a 'criminal' conviction or (as I thought at the time) a civil offence?


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it is a criminal conviction, after all you have broken the law. What is a civil offence (could you give me an example of what you mean)
No it is not a criminal conviction.

It will not give you a criminal conviction (or a CRB number)
I agree shadowman

I have had points on my licence and I do NOT have a criminal record

They did not show up on my very recent (full) CRB check

Fixed penalty fines/points are not recordable on list of convictions that are produced at courts. However speeding is a criminal offence.
Question Author
Thanks for your replies.
The reason I was asking was that I too have just undergone an 'enhanced disclosure' (full CRB check) and the motoring offence did not show up. I was wondering why the interviewer questioned my answer. I had already completed a section regarding my drivers licence and admitted that I had once had 3 points ~ so it wasn't as if I was trying to hide anything.
I know that motoring offences are classed as breaking the law, but was under the impression that unless one had to appear in court to answer formal charges, such as drink driving or causing death etc. it wasn't classed as a criminal offence. The logic behind my thinking was that I viewed the speeding fine as being in the same category as a parking fine, which is levied for breaking the law on where one may leave a vehicle.
Yes, but a parking fine is only not a criminal offence in areas where it has been "de-criminalised". In these areas, enforcement of the fines is through the civil court procedure. In areas where the offence has not been "de-criminalised" enforcement is still at magistrates courts if the fine is not paid.
You didn't actually have to disclose this info by law anyway as the conviction no longer has to be declared. The points can come off your licence after four years and once this time has passed they are classed as spent. You don't even have to disclose them after this time to your car insurers.
There seems to be some confusion here about the difference between a criminal offence and a criminal record.

All motoring offences (except parking violations in areas where enforcement has been handed over to local councils, rather than traffic wardens) come under criminal law. So there can be no doubt that speeding is a criminal offence.

However, there is no statutory definition of a 'criminal record'. The generally held view is that motoring offences dealt with by fixed penalties don't create (or add to) a criminal record, whereas those dealt with in the courts do form part of a criminal record. So, following that definition, it's possible to commit a criminal offence (speeding) without acquiring a criminal record.

With an increasing number of criminal offences (e.g. dropping litter) being dealt with by fixed penalties, rather than court appearances, it will be interesting to see how the definition of a 'criminal record' changes over time.

The Criminal Records Bureau defines Criminal Record as "a record of convictions held on the Police National Computer for individuals convicted of crimes."

Police Cautions are a method of keeping lower level offenders out of court but are also recorded on the police database for future consideration by the court if tried for another offence. tioning/?version=1

Another method of keeping lower level offenders out of court is the FPN. Acceptance of the penalty discharges any liability to a conviction.

Thus the criminal offence of speeding has many possible consequences including:

Acquittal in Court
Conviction in Court (appearance) - fine, points and record
Conviction in Court (in absence) - fine, points and record
Discretionary Police Caution - record
Discretionary FPN - fine, points, no record
No Action Taken
I stand by my previous posting. I have never seen fixed penalty convictions on list of previous convictions produced for the bench.
...because an FPN discharges any liability to a conviction - i.e. you accept the penalty in lieu of a possible conviction in court.
speeding & parking fines do not need to be declared on a job interveiw, most speeding fines you were not convicted of, you choose to pay a fixed fine & accept 3 points on your licence before being taken to court, Drink driving, dangerous driving etc, would be a convictable offence because you could possibly be imprissoned, & you would be dealt with at court, & therefore would need to be mentioned on a job application.
as I was driving 5 miles p/h ( just about to stop at traffic light) i was talking in my mobile using a bleau tooth, then I recieved an other incoming call, I cancelled that call by using my phone. a walking police man saw me, he pulled me a side and he made a statment for using a hand held mobile phone while driving, I refused to sigh and I wanted to take it to court, I am undertaking CRB check for my work as black cab will this show in my CRB if this go to court or you think just pay the fine and accept the £60 fine
yes it is EVERYTHING IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE . we cant get away with anything these days,,,,.THIS IS A FACT ,,,,,i know of a guy who was in a night club with his girlfriend and he was dancing with her, and somone blind sided him with a bottle he now has four small scars just below his eye .he maid a claim for criminal injuries and was refused because he has a criminal record 1 speeding fine and 1 unpaid parking ticket....

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Civil vs criminal driving offences

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