A recent review into the Magistrates’ Courts Sentencing Guidelines has resulted in a 50% increase in the punishable fine for speeding.
This means that from 24 April 2017 anyone caught driving over the speed limit could face a fine of up to 150% of their weekly income in addition to penalty points or disqualification.
The Sentencing Council said that the change intends to provide a “clear increase in penalty” as the gravity of offending intensifies.
Such changes are not designed to alter existing sentencing practices but instead isolate specific offences and provide consistency across the country. The Sentencing Guidelines must be adhered to by the Magistrates unless it is considered that it is not in the interests of justice to do so or if the case is exceptional and an alternative sentence is prudent.
At present the speeding fine limit is equal to 100% of the specific drivers’ weekly wage. The current and unchanging maximum fine can be as much as £2500 if the driver is caught speeding on a motorway.
The new guidelines will apply regardless of the means by which you were caught, whether by a speed camera or a police officer.
In 2015 alone over 166,215 drivers in England and Wales received a fine for speeding offences. The average fine then was £188, however the possible penalties ranged from a fine to imprisonment.
The alterations are as a result of recent consultations held by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales with Magistrates and criminal justice professionals. The response from these consultations was that the existing guidelines did not “take into account the increase in potential harm that can result as speed above the speed limit increases”.
The consultations also advise Magistrates to incorporate additional aggravating factors into their consideration; these factors include but are not limited to; the drivers’ previous convictions, potential harm caused by the driving and weather conditions at the time of the offence.
The fine limits will particularly impact upon younger drivers, who have less experience and are more likely to earn lower wages. They will also be limited by the reduced amount of penalty points a new driver can get before they are banned. If you accrue 6 or more penalty points within two years of passing your test your driving licence will be revoked.
Remember, if you have been driving for over 2 years and you obtain 12 or more penalty points within a three year period you will be disqualified from driving. As with any endorsement upon your licence, be it speeding or other offences, remember that your insurance will be effected.
When in doubt, seek expert professional guidance, for more information contact the crime team at Beswicks Legal on 01782 205000 or firstname.lastname@example.org