Current sentencing guidelines
On April 24th 2017 there was a significant change to the penalties for people who drive at excessive speeds. There are three categories for speeding offences, and the table below shows what these are and the severity of the fine for each band.
|Speed limit (mph)||Recorded speed (mph)|
|20||41 and above||31-40||21-30|
|30||51 and above||41-50||31-40|
|40||66 and above||56-65||41-55|
|50||76 and above||66-75||51-65|
|60||91 and above||81-90||61-80|
|70||101 and above||91-100||71-90|
|Sentencing range||Band C||Band B||Band A|
|Fine||Range between 125% to 175 % of relevant weekly income.||Range between 75% to 125% of relevant weekly income||Range between 25% to 75% of relevant weekly income|
|Points/disqualification||Disqualification for 7-56 days OR 6 points on your licence||4-6 points on your licence OR disqualification for 7 to 28 days||3 points on your licence|
Why were the speeding fines increased for high level speeders?
There was a review of the Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines, and following consultation, it was agreed that a higher level of fine would better represent the severity of the offence, so the sentencing range was increased from a Band B to a Band C fine Bands A and B in the table above are the same as they were before.
The guidelines are set on the basis of a first time offender who has been convicted after trial.
If the speed recorded is considered ‘grossly excessive’ by the court while the fine will normally remain within the range for a Band C fine the guidelines indicate the court may consider imposing a disqualification for more than 56 days. There are no guidelines on what speed is considered ‘grossly excessive’ in any category, and it will be up to the magistrates to determine on the facts of the case.
How is the speeding fine calculated?
The starting point fine for a Band C speeding offence is 150% of your relevant weekly income.
The magistrates will then consider any aggravating or mitigating features. Aggravating features may include carrying passengers, poor weather conditions and an unacceptable standard of driving over and above the speed. Mitigating features may be where there is some form of emergency, or the high speed was committed over a very short distance. The court should make a provisional assessment of the sentence which is normally within the range for that offence.
The particular circumstances may, however, take the provisional assessment outside the range. If a person has previous convictions which aggravate the seriousness of the offence, it may take the provisional sentence beyond the range,
The court should then consider personal mitigation such as the impact of a ban on a person’s livelihood or family which again may take the provisional sentence outside the range.
Finally, the court should also give credit for an early guilty plea which will normally lead to a reduction of one third off the fine if entered at the earliest opportunity.
The maximum amount of fine for speeding on a non-motorway is £1000 and on a motorway £2500.
The court should still give full credit for an early guilty plea whatever the income of the offender. I have found that some magistrates still want to fine the maximum of £1000 on a non-motorway or £2500 on a motorway for a high earner even though they have pleaded guilty as soon as possible. In my view, this is wrong as a person should still get credit for a guilty plea whatever their weekly income. There would be no point in the guidelines for credit for a guilty plea if a high earner would get the same fine as a high earner convicted after a trial. I will battle on with that argument!
Will you always be disqualified from driving for a high speeding offence?
It is at the discretion of the magistrates whether you are disqualified from driving or given points for the offence. For a speeding offence in Band C, if you are not disqualified, you will invariably receive 6 points on your licence due to being a high speeder. If you already have points on your licence, this could cause problems if you reach the 12 points limit as you would face a ban from driving for a minimum period of 6 months unless you were able to establish that it would cause you or another person ‘exceptional hardship’.
Please remember to tell your insurance company about any points or ban otherwise your policy could be voided.
Consequence of being Disqualified for 56 days or More
If you are disqualified for 56 days or more, you must apply for a new licence before driving again. It will also mean that if you were to face a ‘totting disqualification’ within the following three years, the minimum disqualification period would be 12 months as opposed to the normal 6-month minimum period.
Factors to take into consideration
We felt it was important to share this information because it’s easy to reach high-speeds without realising particularly on the motorway or coming into villages where the limit may drop suddenly from 60 to 30mph. Powerful engines in cars mean you could be driving faster than you realise, our busy schedules at work mean we are often driving more quickly to get from one place to the next, or you could be distracted and not realise your speed.
In our previous blog about Smart Motorways, we explained how you need to keep an eye on the variable speed limits that are imposed at different times of the day. If you are driving on a stretch of road you are not familiar with you may go over the speed limit significantly but unintentionally.
If you are caught speeding and fall within Band C, then please do get in touch with us for advice. You can contact Maria on 0115 784 1588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion.