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Speeding – What you need to know

For many of us the possibility of being banned from driving is a daunting prospect. This may be because we depend on driving to get to work, drive the kids to school or transport elderly relatives. For those who drive for a living, it is even more disastrous.

So what do you need to know if you ever get in that situation? Read further to find out.

Can you lose your driving licence by driving at excess speed?

Yes, this is an easy one!

When can speeding not lead to court?

If you have a reasonable driving record and you were not going excessively fast, a police officer may deal with the matter by way of offering you a fixed penalty. In short, you can accept a fine and some penalty points. If you do not wish to accept a fixed penalty notice or it is not offered, things progress on from there to the local Magistrates’ court.

What happens if my case goes to court?

If your case arrives at court and you plead guilty or are found guilty there are two ways driving at excess speed can result in you losing your licence:

  1. If you exceed the speed limit by a significant amount. A significant amount could be, loosely, defined as 50% over the speed limit. You are then at real risk of losing your licence for a period of time; or
  2. When the penalty points you may already have on your driving licence, plus new penalty points imposed for a speeding offence, exceed a specified amount, usually 12 points. If your driving licence already has penalty points from previous offences, that remain valid, you are therefore vulnerable to a driving ban.

How long can the ban last?

Well, the length of your ban depends on the reason for your disqualification.

  • How much it exceeded the limit: when the court comes to sentence a driver for any speeding offence there is a guideline on the appropriate approach. For the less serious offences the punishment will usually be 3 penalty points on your licence. The more you have exceeded the speed limit and the more dangerous the circumstances, the more likely you are to receive more penalty points or to be banned. Also, the higher the speed the longer the ban. If your speed is up to 1/3 over the speed limit, you might receive 6 points on your licence or be banned for up to 28 days. If you exceed the speed limit by between 1/3 and ½ of the limit, the punishment can be 6 points or a ban from driving for up to 56 days.
  • The amounts of points you have accumulated: the maximum you can have is 12 points, in any three year period. If you exceed the maximum allowed, there is a higher chance you are going to be banned.

What happens if I have more than 12 points?

If you have more than 12 penalty points on your licence in a three year period, you can be banned for up to 6 months.

If you get a second disqualification for exceeding 12 points in the following 3 years, you get a second ban. This time for up to 1 year.

If you are then banned for a third time in that same 3 year period, your ban will be for up to 2 years.

If the driving ban is for a period of more than 56 days you may have to retake some form of driving test. This is dependent on how the court dealing with your case views the overall background.

What is the protocol for new drivers?

If you are a new driver who has driven for less than 2 years, the maximum penalty points you can have on your licence is 6. If you get more than 6 in the first 2 years, you are not banned, your licence is revoked. You will then need to re-apply for your licence and resit the written driving exam and the practical driving test

What should I do if this happens to me?

If your licence is important to you, then legal advice is vital before you take the first steps. There are all sorts of pitfalls for those not familiar with the procedure. In some cases accepting a fixed penalty might be very wise.

Alternatively you might not recognise you have a defence to the offence of speeding. There may other be options, at an early stage, to avoid accumulating penalty points on your licence. Perhaps by completing a speed awareness course.

Finally, even if you have driven excessively fast or exceeded the 12 penalty points allowed on your licence, a good lawyer still might be able to make a huge difference. They might persuade a Magistrates’ Court to exercise some discretion and leniency and not actually ban you from driving.

Having good legal representation from a specialist driving offence solicitor makes all the difference to your chances of keeping that licence.