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speeding fines, court hearings and bad advice

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sjwright | 13:06 Tue 20th Nov 2007 | Law
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Hi,

My mate got caught speeding and he was told to ignore the first letter and when he received the second letter to ask for a photo showing him speeding. I'm not sure why he was advised this but he did it anyway. Instead, he has just received a letter for a court summons on 11 december.

What should he do, what will the outcome likely to be? He has no previous for any crime and previously held a clean license before this.

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What was his speed? I guess it will be penalty points or a ban depending on the speed
Just pay the fine.

If it goes to court i would say punishment will be worse.

Was it just a standard 3 points and 60 quid to start with?
The summons he now has will almost certainly be for failing to provide the name and address of the driver at the time of the alleged speeding offence. He would have had 28 days from the date of the first letter to provide these details. His failure to do so now makes him guilty of that offence regardless of the circumstances of the alleged speeding. (In fact, the speeding matter will now be dropped).

The advice he received was foolish in the extreme. Registered keepers of vehicles are offered the chance to pay a fixed penalty for most speeding offences (�60 fine and 3 penalty points). Whatever other enquiries they wish to make they must provide details of the driver. Your friend has now lost that opportunity. This is provided for under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act.

The penalty for S172 offences has recently been increased. If the offence was committed after (I think, without looking it up) 1st October (that is, if the 28 day period for providing details ran out before then) the offence now attracts six penalty points and a fine of one and a half week�s net income. In addition, prosecution costs (about �60) and a Victim Surcharge (�15) will also be payable.
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he was driving a friends car at the time, but was insured. I just come off the phone to him, He's goin to call the number on the court summons letter and say to them he never received the first letter, and he's goin to tell them he's more than happy to pay off the fine over the phone, so thats what he's doing!
It is most unlikely that he will now be able to do that.

The situation for him (driving a friend�s car) is no different to if he had been the registered keeper. I imagine that the keeper nominated him as the driver and that�s how he got his first letter (which he is going to say he never received). That original letter would have asked him to say who was driving, and if it was him, to say whether he wanted to accept the offer of a fixed penalty. He had 28 days to do that.

His opportunity to pay a fixed penalty for speeding has now lapsed and he is being summonsed for failing to provide details. The court will be unable to accept any payments in these circumstances. He will have to answer the Section 172 summons either by pleading guilty (which he may do by post or by appearing), or pleading not guilty (on the grounds that he did not receive then first letter). If he intends to plead not guilty he will have to appear.

The court will probe very carefully his claim that he did not receive the first letter. The onus will be upon him to convince the court that this is true, and he will be required to give evidence on oath. Furthermore, if he pleads not guilty but is subsequently convicted, he will obviously not be entitled to a discount on his fine (of up to one third) for a guilty plea, and he will be liable for considerably increased prosecution costs.

All in all, the terrible advice he received and acted upon is likely to cost him dearly.
The increased penalties for failing to furnish information as to the identity of the driver apply to offences committed after 24/09/07. The fact that he has a clean licence will make no difference he will get 6 points and a fine

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