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Speeding Defences

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How do you defend a speeding allegation?

Lets get this straight from the start - you cannot make up a defence - you either have one or you don't!

If you mislead the police - for example by saying that you were not the driver when in fact you were - then you can be charged with peverting the course of justice. You would have effectively talked up the offence from a minor road traffic matter into an offence which is going to get you a prison sentence!!

Don't do it!

If you mislead the court when giving evidence on oath you are committing perjury. If you get found out you may go to prison....which is a much bigger worry than losing your licence would be. 

Dodgy Speeding Defences

There are lots of sites on the internet that promise the earth in relation to defending allegations of speeding;

"Pay us £? and we guarantee that we can get you off!" / "Use these letters when you get the NIP and the police won't issue a summons".....

We see cases everyday where people have tried to beat the police by saying things like "It was my friend from Africa driving and he's gone back now and I have lost his address...."

The police hear it all the time. They don't believe you and they will investigate further or prosecute you for failing to give the driver identity (6 points). They will probably ask you to prove that he was insured and if you can't they will threaten you with permitting him to drive without insurance (6-8 points) if you can't prove he was covered. If they really don't believe you they will start asking questions of those around you to see if they can prove you are attempting to pevert the course of justice.....They will try and tie you up in knots. They deal with these issues day in day out and no matter what you think you know from your research on ropey internet sites they will outwit you 9 times out of 10!

Speeding defences

So what are the defences and do I have one?

The prosecution have to prove beyond reasonable doubt each of the following elements;

  • The identity of the driver
  • That they were driving a motor vehicle
  • That they were driving on a public road or in a public place
  • That they were exceeding the speed limit at the time

They have to prove each and every one of those elements of the offence and if they can't prove one of them then the whole prosecution case fails.

So if you can cast doubt on any or all of the following;

  • The suggestion that you were driving
  • The suggestion that you were in a motor vehicle
  • The suggestion that you were on a public road or in a public place
  • The suggestion that you were exceeding the speed limit

You must be found not guilty........!

Easy eh!

You don't have to prove anything, you only have to cast a doubt. BUT it's not that simple!!

How do I cast a doubt?

The identity of the driver.

You will have probably admitted being the driver in response to the request for driver identity under s.172 Road Traffic Act 1988. This is evidence that amounts to a confession and can be used by the prosecution to prove that you were the driver. But it's your confession and we have had clients who have admited that they were the driver and have later discovered that they weren't and have retracted that confession. As long as you are believed when you retract that confession this may be sufficient to create a doubt in relation to that element of the prosecution case. If there is a reasonable doubt in relation to one element the whole case fails.

We have had cases where the defendant claims to have never driven that vehicle and disputes that he was the person stopped. Someone else has given his details to the police!! If the police have failed to sufficiently verify the identity of the person stopped then they run the risk that the person they have stopped isn't the person they think they are....

To sum up, this is basically the argument - I wasn't driving at the time.

People have argued that they weren't driving when they were pushing a car with the engine off (not in speeding cases but in relation to other types of road traffic offence) - it's all about motion and control. If the car is moving and you have control over it you are likely to be treated as driving it!

It wasn't a motor vehicle.

This is a difficult argument in relation to speeding because anything going fast enough to be speeding is likely to have an engine and consitute a motor vehicle...but it is possible.

It wasn't a public road or public place.

If it isn't then it is unlikely there will be a speed limit in force - so again this is a difficult and unlikely argument in relation to speeding. Basically any road or place to which the public have unrestricted access is treated as a public place and the road traffic laws apply. Supermarket car parks are nearly always a public place...

I wasn't speeding.

This is the most common way to defend a speeding allegation.

Remember that you have to cast a doubt. A police officer forming an opinion that you were speeding combined with the reading of an LTI 20/20 or a Prolaser is going to get you convicted if all you can say is, "I wasn't speeding - the officer is wrong." You have to have more than that. You have to show that the officer didn't use the device properly and therefore his evidence is unreliable or that the device wasn't working properly.

You won't be able to cast a doubt by just standing up and saying I wasn't speeding!!

These devices are really accurate and very reliable but they can only be accepted in evidence if they are used in accordance with Home Office Approval. Home Office Approval is only granted after rigorous testing of the device by ACPO TET ( the scientific branch of the Association of Chief Police Officers). ACPO TET state the conditions in which the device was tested and found to be reliable and if the police don't stick to using it in this way then they are using it outside of the Home Office Approval in which case the evidence of the device is inadmissable.

Things to check;

  • Check calibration certificates (every device has to be calibrated once a year).
  • Check the officer did pre and post tour of duty calibration checks.
  • Check the officer used the device within the range abilities of that particular device
  • Check the secondary check on the GATSO - the white lines painted on the road are a secondary check and should provide a speed reading within 10% of the primary check, if not the GATSO is not reliable. 

The Magistrates and Crown Prosecution Service will have little patience for people who try and raise these arguments with no real foundation. So make sure you know what you are doing and don't make a fool of yourself.

Always remember - if you have a trial and lose you will get a heavier sentence and hefty court costs on top of your fine!

If in doubt ask a question on the contact us page. We will know the answer! 

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