Challenging Speed Camera Offences

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Challenging Speed Camera Offences

If you have been caught speeding by a speed camera or handheld device, you may be able to defend against a conviction with the help of the expert driving offences team at JMW. Being falsely accused of speed camera offences is common and we will do everything within our power to protect and preserve your driving licence.

To speak to a solicitor about forming a defence, call 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form and let us know the best time to get in touch with you.

About Speed Camera and Automatic Camera Device Offences

Speed camera is a term used to describe various pieces of equipment that can be used remotely on their own or be operated by police and civilian workers to determine whether a vehicle is keeping to the speed limit. Examples include:

  • GATSO camera, which emits radar beams to measure the speed of a passing car
  • Speed violation detection deterrent (SVDD), which the SPECS system is based upon and uses a state-of-the-art video system alongside automatic number plate reading (ANPR) technology
  • Truvelo camera, which uses piezo sensors to monitor the speed of passing vehicles and can take photos of the driver at the time of the speeding offence
  • Visual average speed computer and recorder (VASCAR), which is used to calculate the speed of a moving vehicle
  • Pilot speed detection device, which is similar to a VASCAR and measures the time taken to travel over a predetermined destination

Obtaining a Conviction

With speed camera use increasing throughout the UK, including average speed (time over distance) cameras that monitor long stretches of road or contained areas, it is becoming increasingly common for a motorist who is driving safely and reasonably to be ‘flashed’ as his vehicle passes one of the roadside machines.

However, not all speeding offences brought to the courts can be justified by the authorities and there can be grounds for defence against conviction, including challenging the manner of the recording of the speed.

To obtain a conviction, the police, as represented by the Crown Prosecution Service in court, must prove a number of aspects of the incident to show that the vehicle was speeding at the alleged time and place. These include:

  • The camera being approved by the Secretary of State for Transport
  • The camera operating correctly on the day of the offence
  • The stretch of road being monitored has a certain speed limit
  • The make, registration number and speed of the vehicle identified
  • The identity of the driver

In some camera offence cases that have been successfully challenged, the police have failed to comply with one or more of the actions in the above list, such as the camera not working properly, the vehicle being mistaken or the driver not being known.

About Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)

Following an apparent speed camera offence, the police have 14 days in which to send a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to the registered keeper of the vehicle. This is usually sent by standard post and if it fails to arrive in time, the case may not proceed. However, if the prosecution procedures have been correctly followed, a defence based on that alone may not succeed.

As part of the NIP, the registered keeper will be asked to name who was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. The penalty for failing to give the information is a fine and six points on the keeper’s licence.

Providing Information About the Driver

Before a court hearing, the defendant is entitled to see copies of evidence relevant to the case, such as any photographs and video recordings, that will be used by the prosecution to prove its case. In addition, copies of any letters sent to the defendant will also be shared. There are a number of defences available if you are unable to provide information about the driver:

  • Reasonable diligence, which is where the vehicle owner has demonstrated that they have made every effort to discover the identity of the driver
  • You responded by identifying the driver but the police did not receive the response
  • You did not receive the letter and therefore were unable to identify the driver
  • You provided all the information to lead to the identity of the driver, but they failed to locate the said driver

If a car is registered to a company and a responsible officer of the company fails to provide information about a driver alleged to have been speeding, the company could be convicted and fined for failing to provide information, but the responsible party would not be convicted if they can prove to have taken reasonable steps to identify the driver.

Although roadside GATSO machines are the most common means of drivers being caught exceeding a speed limit, police in patrol cars and on foot can use other speed-measuring devices. If you were stopped by officers at the time of such an incident and they issued a verbal NIP, the police have six months within which to send the necessary paperwork, and therefore the 14-day rule does not apply.

What are the Penalties?

If caught on an automatic camera device, speeding may incur a fixed penalty for the offence - you will not have to attend a court hearing, but will have to pay a minimum fine of £100 and incur three penalty points on your licence. You may need to go to court if the alleged offence is deemed serious or if you already have points on your licence that might render you liable to disqualification under totting-up.

Points for offences, such as speeding, remain active on a licence for four years with the DVLA and three years for court purposes from the date of the offence. Accruing 12 points within three years will result in a minimum six-month ban - if you have had a previous ban of 56 days or more, this can increase to a two-year ban. There could be scenarios where there are mitigating circumstances to amount to an application for exceptional hardship to request the court not to disqualify you from driving.

If you either choose to appear in court or are ordered to do so, the magistrates will decide on the level of fine and number of points imposed, as well as any disqualification period.

Why Choose JMW?

With camera offences becoming more common, and the consequent risk of disqualification through the accumulation of points, it is important to take advice from a specialist motoring solicitor if you are faced with an NIP that you wish to challenge.

Don't be caught out by a failure to understand the law, the time limits, the availability of a statutory defence, or by a lack of awareness of other entirely legitimate challenges to the speed camera procedure. JMW’s team of expert motoring solicitors have extensive knowledge of UK driving laws and can help you defend against an accusation of speeding.

FAQs About Challenging Speed Camera Offences

What are the mobile speed camera rules?

Speed cameras are intended to catch drivers off-guard to expose their bad driving habits, but there are rules about how they can be used.

Cameras are not required to be signposted; however, it is common in the UK for stretches of roads where cameras are installed to be signposted, informing drivers that they will be monitored. While this may reduce the chance of speeding drivers being caught, it also reduces the chance of drivers speeding, as they will not want to be caught, which is viewed as the most desirable outcome for the purposes of road safety.

Similarly to automatic camera devices, mobile speed cameras must also be conspicuous; their operators and vehicles should be signed and brightly lit with high-visibility clothing and reflective materials.

Talk to Us

To speak to a specialist speeding lawyer or for more information about challenging an accusation of speeding, please phone us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.