David Beckham has turned to a legal loophole to try to fight a potential £1,000 speeding fine.
The former England footballer has admitted doing 59mph in a 40mph zone in a borrowed Bentley but has pleaded not guilty to the charge, claiming a technicality means it isn’t valid.
In court last week his lawyer, Nick “Mr Loophole” Freeman, said that Beckham didn’t deny breaking the law but should not have to pay the fine as the legal notice of the charge arrived too late to be valid.
It seems odd to admit to speeding but to plead not guilty anyway but as Phoebe Callender, legal adviser at DAS Law, explains the time limit around notification is pretty much the only way to fight a speeding fine.
What are the rules surrounding the notification of a fine?
When you receive a speeding fine, the first notification you will receive is called a ‘notice of intended prosecution’ (NIP) which is where you need to inform the police who was driving at the time under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1998. This notice should be sent to the registered keeper within 14 days of when the speeding offence took place.
If you don’t send the police the driver’s details within the time they state, then you can face up to six penalty points and a fine which is usually £100. After this you will be sent notification of whether they will be offering you points, a fine, a speed awareness course (not in Scotland), or if it will progress to a court summons.
Can I have a fine dismissed if it was delivered ‘late’?
Under the Road Traffic Act 1998, the NIP has to be sent to the registered keeper within 14 days of the speeding offence. If when you receive the NIP it is dated more than 14 days after the offence took place, then you should send it back to the process office and reject it as it is out of time.
If you are not the registered keeper of the car and you receive the NIP past 14 days, you have to check to see if they sent it to the registered keeper within the time period. If it has been, then it won’t be classed as late.
If you fail to receive a NIP and only receive a court summons, then you could have a defence to the speeding offence and any subsequent prosecution that takes place.
How do I challenge a speeding fine?
It is very difficult to challenge a speeding fine as there are practically no defences to why a person was driving over the speed limit, even if you believe it’s not fair!
You may be able to challenge it if the notice was incorrect e.g. the date, time, location of the speeding offence. However, spelling mistakes or minor mistakes like the colour of a vehicle etc. will not be accepted.
Challenging the evidence of the camera itself can be also tricky as unless you have evidence that the camera is faulty then it is unlikely that you will be able to challenge your speeding fine successfully.
Should I use a lawyer/barrister to handle my case or can I do it myself?
Whether you choose or need a lawyer will depend on the circumstances. Most speeding offences don’t go to court and are dealt with by way of penalty points and a fine or a speed awareness course, so you will not need a lawyer in these instances.
If, however, you are facing a court summons and you already have 6-9 points on your licence, or have been caught speeding on the motorway over 75mph, then you could be facing a higher level of fine or a driving ban.
It would be wise to use a lawyer in these circumstances to support you in challenging the level of fine or putting forward your case as to why you shouldn’t receive a driving ban.
Is it true that I will not be fined if I have only broken the speed limit by 1 or 2 mph?
Many people believe that you can’t be fined for going 1mph or 2mph over the speed limit – this is not always the case. Some devices have a tolerance of 2mph over the speed limit and you could still potentially face a fine.