Speeding Offences

The most common offence committed by the motorist is speeding. Speeding allegations can be resolved in the following ways:

  • Attending a speed awareness course (at the discretion of the Police)
  • Accepting a Fixed Penalty of 3 points and £100 fine;
  • For more serious offences, or disputed cases, attending Court.

The penalty range is from 3–6 penalty points and the current maximum fines are up to £2,500 for motorway offences and up to £1,000 for offences on any other road.

In the most serious cases, where the motorist is either 50% or 30 mph+ above the limit, an instant disqualification can be imposed. Whether you face potential disqualification, penalty points or a fine, Motor Lawyers will provide you with expert assistance to guide you through the Court process and achieve the best possible result. Contact us to establish how we can prepare a defence and/or mitigation argument that gives you the best chance of keeping your licence.

It makes sense to obtain expert advice and representation, as this can make a huge difference to the punishment imposed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the procedure if I am caught speeding by the Police?

If you have been stopped by the Police for speeding, there is no need to serve a Notice of Intended Prosecution. For less serious offences, you will probably receive an offer of a speed awareness course or a Fixed Penalty Notice which will be handed to you by the Officer at the time of the offence. Many drivers accept responsibility there and then without appreciating that they still have the opportunity to dispute the offence should they subsequently wish to do so.

For more serious cases, certainly where the speed is more than 20 mph in excess of the limit, a Summons / Postal Requisition is recommended, in which case it can be anything up to 6 months before the procedural documents are served on you. If you have received a Summons, a conviction can result in 3–6 penalty points and a substantial fine. For speeds that are substatntially above the limit, instant disqualifications are recommended.

For many drivers, the outcome of a speeding offence can have serious implications on their livelihood, with many facing not just the loss of their licence but also their job. If you are in any doubt as to whether you have committed the offence or have concerns about a penalty, Motor Lawyers can assist. There may be technical defences available, which can result in an acquittal but if our advice is to plead guilty, we should still be able to ensure that the cost of the advice pays for itself by way of a lower fine and/or reduced penalty points.

What is the procedure if I am caught speeding by camera?

Many speeding offences are now prosecuted on the strength of photographic evidence from speed cameras such as a gatso or similar devices. The owner of the vehicle will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution in the post. The timing of that document and your response to it can be crucial in the further progress of the case.

There are many myths about technical defences for speed camera cases. Motor Lawyers will advise you properly on the law and the hurdles that the prosecution have to overcome before they can proceed.

If you feel that you were not driving the vehicle or were not travelling at the speed alleged, contact us for frank and accurate advice. If the Fixed Penalty Notice/Court Summons or Postal Requisition can be defended, we will know how you can avoid points and a fine. We will guide you through the process for a fixed fee, which will normally be recoverable and refunded if the defence is successful.

When am I likely to receive an immediate disqualification?

When travelling far in excess of the speed limit, there is risk of an immediate ban, based on the speed recorded. Although the Courts around the country have their own local practices, by and large if you are more than 40% over the speed limit, you are at risk of an immediate disqualification, although there seems to be more tolerance when the speed limit broken is 30/40 mph. The length of the ban is again at the Court's discretion, but as a general rule, it will range from 7 to 90 days, depending on the exact circumstances of your case, your personal situation and the quality of the defence/mitigation raised.

Speed Limit Speed Alleged
30 mph In excess of 51 mph
40 mph In excess of 66 mph
50 mph In excess of 75 mph
60 mph In excess of 85 mph
70 mph In excess of 100 mph

I admit I was speeding, how can I avoid a driving ban?

Please contact us direct or alternatively, see our Driving Ban page, for further information.

I was stressed/late for work/a relative was ill, will this be taken into consideration?

By and large, if you have committed the offence (i.e. you were travelling in excess of the speed limit) the defences available are relatively limited. In specific circumstances, and if you meet certain legal criteria, you may have a defence but most proposed defences are in fact mitigation. This means that whilst you will be found guilty of the offence, the Court can use its discretion to offer a drastically reduced punishment because of the particular circumstances that resulted in you committing the offence. If you wish to give an explanation for the offence, you would not be able to do so under the conditional offer/Fixed Penalty Notice option. These arguments can only be raised/aired at Court, please refer to our Plea of Mitigation page, for further information.

A vehicle was driving too close to me, so I sped up to widen the gap, will this be taken into consideration?

This argument is not normally viewed favourably by the Court. Inevitably, the vehicle that was driving too close turns out to be the Police who are in the process of recording your speed. By and large, the Court will assume that if a vehicle is too close, you should pull over to another lane and allow it to pass, rather than increase your speed and break the limit. There can however be exceptional cases where this can be a defence, for example, if you believe that you were being chased and were thus in danger.

I was caught speeding in a 30 mph limit. There were no signs and it was not clearly residential. Can I dispute the allegation?

There is no obligation for a 30 mph speed limit to be sign posted, except when you enter it from a section of road where the speed limit is not 30 mph. 30 mph is the national speed limit. The Courts will take the view that you should be driving on the basis that the limit is 30 mph. Accordingly, unless you can show that there was good reason to believe that the limit was not 30 mph (i.e. you had been in a higher speed limit area and there were no signs) there would not normally be grounds to dispute the allegation, simply because there were no "30 mph" signs.

I was caught speeding by a mobile speed camera but there were no speed camera signs in the direction I was travelling. Is this within the rules?

Although the Police forces have guidelines and codes of conduct, there is actually no specific requirement for there to be sign posted warnings of the location of a mobile unit. Many Police forces will advertise the location either by a note on the Police website or including it in traffic information on local radio stations. However, the Police are perfectly entitled to gather evidence and prosecute motorists wherever they decide to put the unit, as long as the manner in which they do so is legal. They do not have to highlight the presence of the unit, although many do and additionally, most Police forces ensure that the units are visible by means of clear and distinctive livery. The Police are perfectly entitled to gather evidence by filming from areas which are not obvious if that area is one where motorists are known to speed.

I have received an allegation of speeding, but I did not see the mobile van so it must have been hidden. Is this allowed?

Although the general assumption is that the Police will play fair by identifying vans clearly, and making them visible, there is in fact no actual obligation for them to do so. The Police are perfectly entitled to use more "covert" techniques to record speeding offences if they believe that this is necessary in a particular area.

How accurate and reliable is the speed equipment used by the Police?

There are a variety of systems available to the Police but all have been approved by the Home Office. In order to get that approval, the manufacturers have to show that the equipment is accurate and reliable and they must provide full guidance regarding training and maintenance of the equipment. In this day and age, most of the devices are extremely accurate and their operation has become far easier. Likewise, they are also accurate over a greater distance and no doubt will continue to improve as technology evolves. That said, if you are in any doubt at all as to the allegation, you are entitled to see the operator's statement, the calibration certificate, manufacturer's guidelines etc in order to verify the speed alleged.

The signs on the road where I have been caught speeding are covered by foliage. Can I dispute the allegation?

Although, in an ideal world, the signs should be obvious, just because they are not clear does not necessarily mean that the case against you will be dismissed. The Court will take into account the particular circumstances in your case. The Court can conclude that you should have appreciated that you were travelling in excess of the speed limit even if the signs were not visible. Likewise, if there was no reason to anticipate the correct speed limit, and your speed was within the limit that you had assumed to be correct, you may have a defence. In these circumstances, given that each case has its own unique criteria, it would be sensible to seek more detailed advice initially via our Summary Telephone Advice Service.

I was travelling on the M25 and the temporary speed limit signs were not illuminated. It is now alleged that there was a reduced speed in place. How can I dispute it?

There is a record kept of when the temporary speed limits are in operation and if you dispute that the national speed limit had been removed at the time, you are entitled to see copies of the records and proof that the new speed limit was clearly illuminated on the gantries.

What are the UK speed limits?

Type of Vehicle Built up
Dual Carriageways Motorways
Cars and motorcycles
Cars and motorcycles
(including car–derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight)
30 mph 60 mph 70 mph 70 mph
Cars towing caravans or trailers
Cars towing caravans or trailers
(including car–derived vans
and motorcycles)
30 mph 50 mph 60 mph 60 mph
Buses, coaches and minibuses
Buses, coaches and minibuses
(not exceeding 12 metres in
overall length)
30 mph 50 mph 60 mph 70 mph
Goods vehicles
Goods vehicles
(not exceeding 7.5 tonnes
maximum laden weight)
30 mph 50 mph 60 mph 70 mph †
Good Vehicles and Lorries
Goods vehicles
(exceeding 7.5 tonnes
maximum laden weight)
30 mph 40 mph 50 mph 60 mph

These are the national speed limits and apply to all roads unless signs show otherwise.
* The 30 mph limit applies to all traffic on all roads in England and Wales (only Class C and unclassified roads in Scotland) with street lighting unless signs show otherwise.
† 60 mph if articulated or towing a trailer.