Speeding and Legal Technicalities | Irwin Mitchell

If you receive a summons for a speeding offence there are two evidential areas which you should ensure are compliant:

Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)

Most commonly a driver receives a Summons for speeding after being photographed by a fixed standing speed camera, hand held device or as a consequence of being stopped by a Police Officer. In whichever form there is a strict requirement that the driver is either warned at the time by the Police Officer that a prosecution may follow or a NIP is sent to the driver or registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the alleged offence. The requirement can also be complied with if a summons is issued by the local Magistrates’ Court and is served within 14 days of the alleged offence.

If the NIP is dated within 14 days of the alleged offence but it was received after this time period it can be argued that it was not properly served:

  • The general presumption is that when a letter is sent in the ordinary first class post it is deemed to have been delivered on the second business day after it was despatched.
  • You would need to prove the date you received the NIP was after the initial 14 day period had expired and this would commonly be in the form of you giving evidence at trial.
  • If the NIP is sent by registered post or recorded delivery then the NIP will be deemed to have been automatically sent and received the following day.
  • Failure to comply with the 14 day requirement does not automatically prevent the prosecution from proceeding with their case. If the Court is satisfied that the delay was caused by omissions or the inaccurate records of third parties such as DVLA then it is likely that the case will proceed.

Street Lighting

If the offence is said to have occurred at night, it is always necessary to consider whether the speed limit signage on the particular road where the allegation of speeding relates was illuminated by its own lighting:

  • The law states that on certain roads if the sign is within 50 metres of a street lamp lit by electricity then it should be illuminated through the hours of darkness. This is referred to as the terminal speed limit sign which should be located within 50 metres of a street lamp to ensure compliance with the Traffic Signs Regulations.
  • Failure to comply with the above Regulations has resulted in the Prosecution being unable to prove their case.
  • Take photographs as soon as possible or instruct an expert to measure and confirm the relevant distances. This needs to be done quickly to ensure that corroborative evidence is obtained before any repairs are made to the lighting and signage at a later date. Alternatively, the local council should be able to confirm if there had been any recent changes or repairs to the lighting or signage.

A successfully defended speeding offence or any other privately funded matter should see you make an application for a Defence Costs Order. Here you can recover your legal costs subject to taxation.

If you would like more information on this topic or an initial discussion with no obligation please call Paul Haycock on 0114 274 4275.