Speed Cameras – “The Motorist’s Big Brother”.

PART I

INTRODUCTION

If there’s one topic guaranteed to send a motorist’s blood pressure to critical heights it’s the subject of speed cameras. Speed traps have been around since time immemorial (after all that was one of the reasons why the AA was formed to warn motorists of police ambushes if they exceeded the then low speed limit). Speed cameras of the mobile variety have also been around some time. But in 1992 enter the “yellow peril” – the fixed “big brother”. Just a few at first but like Topsy the number “just growed”. Now there are a staggering 6,000+ – and more planned. All in the name of safety – of course! If you believe that one you deserve to take the wooden spoon. Current profits are now as much as £1.7 million in one particular area – from about 2 million people. How many yellow perils do you encounter on your way to work?

Whilst the topics of technology, mechanics and procedure surrounding speed detection and prosecution are not the sexiest in the world, if you are to avoid the rigors of the law, you need to know basically how the cameras and the legal process work. You also need to know about such things as location, siting and visibility of cameras – not to mention some of the dirty tricks which lie in wait for you. At the end of the day you may not be able to avoid prosecution altogether – but at least you may be able to mitigate your penalty – and with speeding attracting 3-6 penalty points, not to mention fine, costs and even disqualification, mitigation is a serious proposition.

TYPES OF CAMERA

Although technologies and manufacturers of cameras vary, there are two basic types of installation – fixed and mobile.

Fixed:

Fixed cameras are generally one of two types – like the familiar yellow box – known as a fixed installation post system (FIP) or the average speed camera.

FIP’s may be situated on the left side of the road, in the central reservation or even on a gantry. Some check the speed of vehicles “passing” (rear facing type), “approaching” (forward facing type) or some both ways. Some can be turned around either way. More often than not, they face one way and are turned down slightly towards the traffic flow being monitored. FIP’s can use radar, laser or induction technology + (optional) flash photography and calibration marks on the road surface (sometimes known as “dragons teeth”).

Average speed cameras (quite rare) measure a vehicle’s progress between two cameras and therefore calculate the average speed over a period.

Clearly, motorcycles have the advantage over forward facing cameras since we have no front number plate! But don’t gloat. As I write new technology is mooted.

Mobile Cameras (aka as a Talivan – corrupted from the word “Taliban” –the motorists terror threat!)

These are increasing in numbers. These two take photographs of a vehicle. They can be set up at the side of the road on a tripod or within a vehicle. They are frequently used by the independent speed camera partnerships (see below) who are supposed to mark the vehicles as such. They can record vehicles approaching or passing. Again they use radar, laser or induction technology. They do not have a flash and clearly (being mobile) there are no calibration marks.

HOW THEY WORK

If you wish to challenge a prosecution on the grounds of the camera, then you need to know some technology. I do not pretend to be an expert on technology so give this information purely in good faith. For those of you who understand laser, radar and induction etc rather better than I, do please let me know of any errors!

Radar

Popular Use:-
GATSO/other fixed cameras + hand held radar guns

How it works:-
A high frequency radio and transmitter sends out a beam of electromagnetic waves – varying in length (1cm to 1metre). Objects in the path reflect back to the transmitter – ie based on radio wave reflection. Radar devices consist of transmitter, antenna and receiver. Radio waves travel at about 186,000 miles per second. When the waves emitted by the transmitter strike the vehicle, they are bounced back. The antenna picks them up and the receiver converts everything into a speed reading.

To be successful, the transmitter must emit a large burst of energy and receive, detect and measure a tiny fraction of the energy returned in the form of an echo.

In layman’s terms:-
The equipment “fires” radio waves at you. The waves bounce back at different frequencies – depending on your speed. Radar is not sophisticated and the room for error is much more than laser.

Typical Problems:

  • Radar reads the speed of everything in its vision – not just you!
  • The angle of aim must be correct (due to the angle at which the radio waves are reflected).
  • The further the distance from you, the less accurate.
  • Obstructions can give false reading – including trees.
  • Radio waves can bounce around.
  • Strong wind and rain can adversely affect.
  • Local radio and electrical equipment can adversely affect.
  • Radar should never be operated from inside a vehicle since metal can distort.
  • In mobile cameras, the arm movement of an officer can also distort.

Other points:-

  • The use of the devices is subject to guidelines for use – issued by manufacturers and the Association of Chief Police officers + local rules.
  • Hand held devices must be operated by an officer on foot – not from a vehicle.
  • Each vehicle must be isolated and therefore the device must not be directed at several.
  • The device must be held towards vehicles for at least 3 seconds.
  • The device must not be used randomly at anything approaching – it should merely confirm a suspicion of speed.
  • Since it needs to be pointed at a particular vehicle for at least 3 seconds, it should not be used on a road where there is not a clear view for at least 170 metres.

Laser

(Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)
Being some of the latest technology, this is naturally an expensive means of detection, but it is growing in use.

Use:
Generally in mobile installations – vans, hand held, tripod mounted. Not often in yellow perils because of the need to aim accurately.

How it Works:
Instead of radio waves, this technology uses a light beam. A beam of infra red light is sent out in a series of pulses. It is reflected off a point on your vehicle and returns to a transmitter. By using speed of light technology, your speed is calculated. Laser installations have a long range (up to about 105 miles!). They are more accurate than radar – but since it must be aimed correctly, there tends to be more room for human error.

Typical Problems:

  • More room for human error.
  • The laser has to be aimed individually at each vehicle, therefore there are problems of operation in dense traffic.
  • Glass obstructions bend the laser beam and distort the reading.
  • Unlike radar, it cannot be used in a moving vehicle.
  • It can be used at night, but not properly in heavy rain, snow, fog or

OTHER METHODS OF DETECTING SPEED (more traditional)

  • Police observation – with a second officer for corroboration
    A lone police officer with his speedometer.
  • Radar gun.
  • VASCAR – Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder – can be operated from stationary or moving vehicles. The accuracy depends on an officer operating the switches properly. When a vehicle is being measured it passes a particular point on a road.

DIFFERENT MANUFACTURERS OF CAMERA

GATSO: This is the most popular type of speed detection and works or radar. It is manufactured by Gatsometer BV (a Dutch company) – founded by Maurice Gatsonides – a rally winner and a system developed for racing cars. It is used in the fixed installation yellow perils and in radar guns.

GATSO is always rearward – ie monitors traffic passing but not approaching. Two photographs are taken at ½ second intervals. The distance travelled over the ½ second = speed.

Although calibration marks on the road (“dragons teeth”) are not essential, they are frequently used. They tend to be in a ladder pattern at 5? intervals. They act as a secondary check. On a multi-lane road they can tell which vehicle triggered the camera.

Images are stored on a 35mm film. Only about 400 contraventions can be stored.

Drivers’ identities cannot be recorded.

Points to Note:-

  • The installations should be checked and calibrated when installed.
  • They should be tested and certified at least annually by the manufacturer.
  • Every photograph should be checked “by eye” by an operative.

TRUVELO: This manufacturer uses induction technology. Buried cables in the road detect movement and speed and vehicles exceeding the limit are photographed once. Both forward and rear facing cameras are possible. There are no calibration marks on the road, but you may be able to detect a groove in the road where there is a cut out. DRIVERS CAN BE IDENTIFIED. On multi-lane roads there may be 3 white lines painted. Forward facing Truvelo installations are of course not a threat to motorcyclists.

REDSPEED: Use – Portable laser cameras – one of the most common devices is the Redspeed Violation Enforcement System.

Redspeed looks like GATSO/Truvelo – but is smaller and mounted on higher posts. Traditionally it has been forward facing and uses INDUCTION. It also uses video film. Speeding vehicles are sent “live” to a processing office. It has limited use (at the moment!). But as I write extended use of Redspeed – even to targeting bikes – is mooted – so watch the space.

DS2 & TSS: This is an INDUCTION system – rubber strips on a road or under the surface. They are very difficult to spot and are usually part time. A sensor is connected to a forward facing camera which can be located on a tripod or in a van or car further down the road.

SPECS (Speedcheck Services): This is fairly rare and expensive.
It records speed or time over a distance. Video cameras record the number plates of passing vehicles. Sometimes several cameras create a “controlled zone”. The system records registration plate, colour image of the vehicle and data such as time, date, location and average speed travelling between both locations. Cameras do not flash and are digital. They are very difficult to detect and a bit like CCTV traffic monitoring. You can of course be speeding at the first camera but not at the second, and in those circumstances there should be no prosecution.

CAMERA PARTNERSHIPS

Who Runs the Speed Cameras? For the most part, not the police as you might imagine. Nowadays they are run by about 40 odd Safety Camera Partnerships. Their constitution typically consists of representation from local councils, police, courts and the Crown Prosecution Service – and even health authorities. Although the police may still operate the enforcement, it is the partnerships themselves (whose accountability is at best dubious) who are responsible. Within certain limits they are free to do as they wish. There are generally no complaints or appeals procedures. Each partnership usually has a website (where you might find some useful information relating to the location etc of installations). They have been referred to as money making bureaucracies. For better or for worse they are a fact of life. On a daily basis we have to endure. On a long term basis, the political animal in you may fight against them.

SPEED CAMERA PROFITS

Avon Somerset & Gloucestershire – £624,668

Bedfordshire & Luton – £1,172,340

Cambridgeshire – £175,199

Cheshire - £126,665

Cleveland – £10,970

Cumbria – £378,042

Derbyshire – £425,836

Devon and Cornwall – £941,980

Dorset – £39,838

Essex - £87,887

Greater Manchester – £421,561

Hampshire & the Isle of Wight – £686,152

Lincolnshire – £11,572

London – £376,571

Mid and South Wales – £1,233,731

Norfolk – £106,648

Northamptonshire – £2,846

Northumbria - £1,713,923

North Wales - £15,416

Nottinghamshire – £76,517

South Yorkshire – £496,475

Staffordshire – £7,458

Suffolk – £544,022

Sussex – £137,356

Durham and parts of Yorkshire do not have camera partnerships – speed being enforced traditionally by the police.

LOCATION, SITING AND VISIBILITY OF CAMERAS

Mounting a challenge on these grounds requires a knowledge of relevant rules. When fixed cameras were first set up, public pressure led to their being confined to areas of accident history and the fact that they are to be visible. Whether this is a reality of course, is a different kettle of fish!
Location Rules:

  • The site length must be between 400 and 1500 metres.
  • There must have been at least 4 KSICOLLS (killed or serious injuries) per km in the last 3 calendar years.
  • At least 8 PIC’s (personal injury collisions – less serious/slight) must have been occasioned per km in the last 3 years.
  • There must be evidence that speed was relevant in some or all of the cases.
  • Excluding periods of congestion, there must be evidence that at least 20% of motorists are exceeding the speed limit.
  • Excess driving speed must be at least 10% over the limit + 2mph (ie 35mph in a 30mph limit/46 mph in a 40mph limit) – for free flowing traffic – excluding rush hour.
  • Collisions must be clustered in one place.
  • No other available entry nearing solutions must be available for safety improvement.
  • The location must be visible, legal and safe.
  • The above rules apply both to fixed and mobile cameras with the following variations in respect of mobiles:-
  • Only two KSICOLLS
  • Only 4 PIC’s
  • Collisions should be evenly distributed (not clustered)

Please note that the above rules do not apply to police enforcement – only to camera partnership cases. Also, camera partnerships can be devote 15% of their time to mobile operations in any area. Speed camera vehicles should not operate where it would be illegal (eg double yellow lines).

Visibility Rules:
Again public pressure was brought to bear. Cameras are not obliged to be visible – but if they are not, then all the money goes to the Treasury!

  • Generally painted yellow except, for example, in areas of outstanding natural beauty.
  • They must not be obscured by buildings, signs, trees or bushes. The minimum visibility should be 60 metres (where the speed limit is 40mph) – and 100 metres elsewhere.
  • Mobile camera sites – operators should wear fluorescent clothing and use appropriately liveried vehicles (but covert operations are possible in exceptional circumstances).
  • Speed camera warnings and speed limit reminder signs must be placed in advance of fixed or mobile cameras, normally within one km. Signs can only be placed where cameras are operated.
  • The design of warning signs must comply with the Traffic Signs Regulations and the General Directions – or specially authorised by the Department of Transport.
  • The location is to be well publicised.
  • An annual review should be undertaken to see whether the criteria still apply.

WARNING: For all the above rules relating to location, visibility and siting, in practice probably the only criteria that is likely to succeed before a magistrate is the visibility of a speed camera – but even then it has to be operated by a camera partnership who reap the reward.

HOW TO AVOID

Here, we enter dangerous ground. I am certainly not prepared to risk prosecution for inducing flagrant flouting of the law. The motorist who regularly speeds and puts lives in danger receives short shrift from me. But, I do have some sympathy for the occasional inadvertent slight excess on the basis “but for the grace of God there go I”.

It would be wrong in an article of this type however, not to mention some of the avoidance tactics that people are mentioning as being perfectly legal (at the moment). I would however advance one big caveat – they do not come with my personal recommendation. Their use is entirely at your own risk and choice. Whilst they may be legal now, they may not always be so. In particular, question very closely those publications (often expensive) that purport to offer a full panacea.

Apart for anecdotal suggestions about covering numberplates with cling film, hairspray and photo blocker, there are currently on the market a vast array (with an accompanying vast array of prices) of speed camera detectors. They use various technologies:-
GPS – Global Positioning Systems: This detector picks up signals from satellites to establish the location

Laser – The majority of handheld/mobile cameras do work by laser. They have a greater range and accuracy.

Radar – Pick up radar signals for GATSO cameras and from hand held mobile camera sites.

Whilst price is some indication as to how effective they may be, I am not aware of any one covering all types of detection. Check very carefully when purchasing. Whilst it would appear that the GPS systems cover more situations than some others, speed camera detectors will depend on the technology used in speed detection and the type of installation used.

More Traditional Methods of Detecting Speed Cameras – Information and observation are equally important – information being obtained from such things as specialised atlases, websites and local media.

DIRTY TRICKS

Far be it from me to suggest that camera partnerships or any other authority are guilty of such dastardly deeds, but do be aware of:-

  • Camouflaged cameras, cameras located in unlikely places such as on wide roads or where there is no danger.
  • Cameras located where the speed limits change.
  • Mobile speed units before a fixed installation unit.
  • Cameras located on another road but directed to your own road of travel.

PART 2

SPEEDING PENALTIES – HOW TO AVOID OR MITIGATE

Most road traffic offences (speeding included) are prosecuted by:-

  • Court Summons or;
  • Fixed Penalty Notice

The most serious (eg causing death by dangerous driving/drinking and driving) involves arrest, caution and an actual charge.
If an offence reaches Court, then it will normally be magistrates, staffed by a clerk and generally two or three lay (volunteer) magistrates. The most serious of offences (eg causing death) will go to the Crown Court.

What Penalty Will I Receive?

The main penalties relating to road traffic offences revolve around fines, penalty point endorsements, disqualification and costs.
To understand how the system works properly, you need to consider the Magistrates Court Guidelines, issued by the Magistrates Association with the blessing of the Lord Chancellor and the Justices Clerks Association. The guidelines aim to create some uniformity without depriving magistrates of their judicial independence and flexibility in individual cases.
The magistrates are advised to approach every case as follows:-
To establish the seriousness of each case
To determine the most appropriate way of dealing with it.
Fitting the punishment to the crime and the offender – so that each offender (whether wealthy or poor) will get his/her “just desserts” and feel the pain equally.
To consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances (eg a timely guilty plea).
To consider previous convictions.

Note also:-

  • The guidelines assume that the magistrates are dealing with first time offenders pleading not guilty.
  • The guidelines are not a tariff – merely guides – although anecdotal evidence sometimes suggests otherwise.
  • Fixed penalty points are mandatory.
  • But fines can be mitigated (up to 1/3rd) for mitigating factors.
  • Remember also that magistrates have a discretion for re-testing – this may be an ordinary riding test or an extended one depending on the circumstances.

Your Day in Court

  • You may end up with your day in court for a variety of reasons:-
  • You pleaded “not guilty” to a court summons/fixed penalty notice.
  • You are actually charged under one of the more serious road traffic offences (but speeding would not normally be included).
  • You are in danger of being disqualified (magistrates will invariably require your presence if they are going to consider disqualification – although they do have power to disqualify in your absence).
  • Whatever the reason for your appearance, remember that (rightly or wrongly) appearances do count. Magistrates tend to be middle aged and conservative (small “c”). A suit, shirt, tie and shoes (not trainers) together with neat hair and a calm, respectful attitude gets you a lot further than baseball cap, track suit bottoms and tattoo.

What Will I get? – Levels of Fine

Every road traffic offence attracts a maximum level of fine:-
Level 1 – maximum £200
Level 2 – maximum £500
Level 3 – maximum £1,000 (the maximum level for speeding on non-motorways)
Level 4 – maximum £2,500 (the maximum level for speeding on motorways)
Level 5 – maximum £5,000 (not relevant to speeding)

Guideline Fine

Subject always to the above maximum levels of fine, offences are often divided into categories A, B and C. These represent 50%/100%/150% of the offenders take home pay respectively. The percentages take into account ordinary living expenses. Family members cannot be taken into account in any but the most exceptional circumstances.
eg: You are convicted of speeding on a motorway – 20mph excess. This carries a Level 4 fine (£2,500). But the guidelines say Level B. Your take home pay is £200 – therefore the guideline fine would be £200. Obviously all the circumstances would be taken into account and the magistrates have discretion.
Fines are payable immediately – but generally time is allowed – but not more than 12 months. Also costs.

Endorsement – obligatory (3-6 points) or maybe disqualified.

GUIDELINE PENALTY POINTS
LEGAL SPEED LIMITS
EXCESS SPEED – MPH
FINE
3
20-30 MPH
UP TO 10 MPH
A

4 or 5

OR

Disqualify up to 42 days

20-30 MPH

40-50 MPH

60-70 MPH

FROM 11-20 MPH

FROM 16-25 MPH

FROM 21-30 MPH

B

6

OR

Disqualify up to 56 days

20-30 MPH

40-50 MPH

60-70 MPH

FROM 21-30 MPH

FROM 26-35 MPH

FROM 31-40 MPH

B

PENALTY POINTS FOR SPEEDING – BUT NOTE THE INTERACTION WITH OTHER OFFENCES

Introduced in 1982 with the intention of “streamlining” the system of road traffic penalties. The concept is that all (including speeding) but the most trivial road traffic offences carry fixed or variable points. Collect more than 12 points in any 3 years from all offences and you may be disqualified for 6 months under the “totting up” provisions. The 3 year period is computed from using the date of commission of the offences (not conviction). Such points stay on your licence for 4 years, but only the ones committed within any 3-year period are reckoned towards totting up and disqualification. Following disqualification the penalty point slate is wiped clean. When a Court disqualifies under the totting up provisions, no penalty points are endorsed for the current offence.

The Minimum Period Of A Totting Up Disqualification Is:-

  • 6 months if no previous disqualification falls to be taken into account.
  • 1 year if one previous disqualification falls to be taken into account.
  • 2 years if more than one previous disqualification falls to be taken into account.
  • A previous disqualification is taken into account if it was imposed within 3 years of the latest offence which brought the points total to 12 (and in this regard it need not have been for totting up – it could have been, for example a drink driving offence which involves obligatory as opposed to discretionary disqualification). But it must have been for 56 days or more (and not imposed for stealing a motor vehicle, taking without consent or going equipped for theft).

Penalty Points For New Drivers/Riders:-

In the case of drivers/riders of under 2 years standing, the totting up provisions are 6 points as opposed to 12 – and when the licence is returned they resort to learner rider status.

Avoiding Penalty Points:-

For many offences (speeding included) the Court is obliged to endorse your licence unless you can put forward special reasons. A special reason is not an actual defence but is a mitigating or extenuating circumstance. The special reasons must not relate to you as the offender but to the offence itself and its circumstances. Thus, for example, you cannot plead that you have been of hitherto good character and driven for many years without being convicted of any offence. On the other hand, if you are convicted of speeding because an elderly passenger is ill and requires emergency treatment then you may well avoid penalty points. However, your assertions must be accompanied by proof. It is no use simply stating this in court and expecting the magistrates to believe you without supporting evidence. Do not confuse avoiding points with special reasons, with avoidance of disqualification (below)

Avoiding Disqualification Under the Totting Up Provisions:-

Under these provisions you must be disqualified for one of the minimum statutory periods set out above, but you may be able to adduce “mitigating circumstances”. The usual one is “exceptional hardship”. But you will not get anywhere by pleading:-

  • That the offence was trivial
  • That you will suffer hardship – unless it is “exceptional hardship”
  • Circumstances previously taken into account within the 3 year period.

“Exceptional hardship” may involve loss of livelihood if disqualification is imposed. It may also relate to loss of employment of other people dependent on you for driving them around. This plea may absolve you of disqualification altogether or reduce the minimum period. Remember however that magistrates hear these “excuses” day in and day out and become rather blasé about them. Therefore it is important to adduce full evidence before the magistrates and explain in detail the exact consequences of your not being able to drive.

NOTICES OF INTENDED PROSECUTION

Notices of Intended Prosecution (often accompanied with a questionnaire relating to Driver Identity) are required for a variety of road traffic offences such as dangerous and careless driving/traffic sign contravention/speeding/leaving vehicles in dangerous positions.
When required they must be despatched (not necessarily received) within 14 days of the offence. Service will be on the registered keeper. As with a request for driver identity read what you are being asked for very carefully and do not “volunteer” gratuitous information. If necessary have a word with the Bikers Advice helpline.

Notices of Intended Prosecution are not required, of course, if the driver is advised, at the time of the offence, of the possibility of prosecution – or indeed if an actual summons is sent to the driver within 14 days of the date of the alleged offence.

YOUR CHALLENGE

Just as we have seen a mushrooming of speed cameras, we have also seen a mushrooming of TV programmes, press articles and publications – all seeking to expose the flaws and purportedly providing tips as to how you can avoid prosecution. There are also an increasing number of lawyers (with increasing bank balances) who are specialising is such challenges.

There is certainly no doubt that people all too often accept and pay up rather than question a situation and whether it is justified. But equally, all too often false hopes are raised and people can waste valuable time and effort in pursuing “no hoper” defences.

So a balance has to be struck and the publication, whose main concern is a quick buck, treated for what it is worth.

Any challenge that you mount against any prosecution regarding cameras will probably involve one (or more) of three areas:-

1.  Challenging the location/siting and visibility of speed cameras – (limited opportunity as we have seen)

2.  Challenging the technology:-

  • Was the camera working properly?
  • Was it installed properly?
  • Was it calibrated properly?
  • Was it installed in accordance with manufacturers’ guidelines?
  • Can the authorities show evidence of proper installation/ maintenance?
  • These are just a few of the recognised means of challenge. The writer does not pretend to be an expert in laser beams, radar or induction. If you are then you may well be able to find others. Unless you successfully convince the authorities at an early stage (eg within the period of a Notice of Intended Prosecution or immediately following a Fixed Penalty Notice) then you will probably have to have your day in court*. If you succeed then all well and good – you avoid penalty points and may be get costs out of central funds. But if you lose (and magistrates are becoming more aware of these objections and correspondingly more sceptical without further proof) then the penalty will be considerably higher than accepting 3 points and a £60 fine for a fixed penalty – in one Scottish case recently over £4,000.

3.  Challenging the Law
If you do have your day in court it will be:-

  • Because you have decided to plead “not guilty” – and you are satisfied that you have sufficient evidence to succeed with your defence. Mere denial without further ado is definitely not sufficient. Certainly it is up to the prosecution to prove its case – rather than you to prove it for them. But unless you can rubbish the prosecution case with cross examination (showing that their version of events could not possibly have occurred) you yourself will have to show your full version of events and the magistrates will have to prefer your version to the prosecutions. Merely believing your innocence is not enough. It has to be convincingly demonstrated.
  • You have decided to plead “guilty” but wish to mitigate the penalty. If (as with most speeding offences) you have been given a Fixed Penalty Notice (3 points and a £60 fine) you should normally be challenging this to avoid points – and seeking to prove that there are special reasons for not endorsing. Otherwise there is not much point in paying an inevitable higher fine (obviously if “totting up” provisions apply, the magistrates will normally ask you to attend court as they will be considering disqualification).
  • Procedural errors – I recently watched a couple of television programmes about Nick Freeman, a solicitor who has achieved fame (his critics would say notoriety) and fortune by successfully defending well-heeled celebrities. Mr Freeman specialises in road traffic matters. He makes no bones of the fact that many of his clients did commit an offence. His argument, however, is that if the prosecution cannot be bothered to get their house in order procedurally, then they do not deserve to successfully prosecute. Whilst I have some personal reservations about the validity of some of his arguments, I do have the utmost respect for his hard work and attention to detail on behalf of his clients. Would that his talents were available to the less well off!
  • It would be quite impossible to set out every single circumstance when the prosecution might not get it right – (and equally importantly) when the magistrates would feel bound to acquit. The distinction is an important one, since many magistrates turn a blind eye (or are even unaware of) some technical imperfections.

Here are just a few of the things to watch out for. IF YOU HAVE PERSONAL STORIES TO TELL PLEASE LET ME KNOW. The points are confined to speeding offences only:-

  • If stopped by the police on the pretext of speeding, did they make you aware of the possibility of prosecution at the time?
  • If not did you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution?
  • Always carefully read and check the date and wording of any Notice of Intended Prosecution together with any other documents received. Different areas of the country have different wording.
  • Never volunteer information for which you are not asked.
  • Was the initial document properly signed – scanned copies have been held to be invalid.
  • Does it name the correct person?
  • Remember that a large proportion of prosecutions rely on your honesty in “owning up” to your identity and that you were the driver – in this connection do keep an eye open for decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. At one stage it was thought that volunteering the identity of the driver was an infringement of your human right against self incrimination. At the moment you cannot rely on this but watch the space.
  • For the prosecution to succeed after signing of forms, the correct person must have signed.
  • Although rarely applicable to speeding offences, if you are to be arrested you need to be cautioned properly.

* Tactics of course may dictate that it is unwise to alert the Prosecution of your objections at an early stage. Each case depends on its own facts.

HEALTH WARNING
This information is given in good faith. However, neither Bikers Advice nor its servants or agents can be responsible for any inaccuracies. Every case in different and the law can change. Always obtain professional advice in your particular case.

All Articles © 2017 Bikers Advice