Can you appeal a speeding ticket?

October 04, 2022 by

Received a speeding ticket and wondering if you could or should appeal? Wonder no more

The beginning of any article about speeding needs to begin with a condemnation of the practice, so with that out of the way let’s look into whether or not you should appeal a speeding ticket.

Speeding tickets: some initial facts

Speeding is a fact of life. Over 50% of drivers break 30mph speed limits, around 48% exceed 70mph on standard motorways, while almost 90% of cars speed in 20mph zones. Hardly surprising, then, that 2.4 million speeding tickets were issued in 2021.

If you’re one of those millions, you may be considering appealing your speeding ticket.

Can you appeal a speeding ticket?

Yes, absolutely, you most certainly can – whether or not you should is another matter, however.

You may find yourself in a situation where your car’s number plate has been cloned, and it was not your vehicle, let alone you, that was caught speeding.

In these circumstances, you should contact the police directly explaining the situation. You will be asked for any supporting evidence to prove you were not the driver. The same applies if your car was stolen, although a report of it being stolen should help in this situation.

Leaving aside this potential scenario, though, when you receive a speeding ticket in the post, you first receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution, or NIP.

The NIP requires you to say whether you were driving the car that is registered to you, or whether someone else was. Regardless of whether you intend to appeal, you are required to provide this information,

If someone else was driving, you are required to provide all the information at your disposal so that they may be identified; you face six penalty points and a fine of up to £1,000 for not doing this.

After this has been done and the police have received your completed form, you will then receive (assuming a speed awareness course is not offered or wanted) a Fixed Penalty Notice detailing the points and fine you are to receive – this is essentially the speeding ticket.

This is the point at which you may wish to appeal the speeding ticket by pleading ‘not guilty’ on the form. If a police officer rather than a speed camera issued a ticket you won’t receive an NIP, instead receiving the FPN without this step.

As mentioned above, however, the real question you should be asking isn’t if you can appeal a speeding ticket, but rather:

Should you appeal a speeding ticket?

We’ll keep it short and sweet here: probably not.

A couple of key points to consider:

  1. Speeding tickets need to go to court in order to be appealed – you can’t appeal to the police directly. You may want to pay for legal advice before embarking on this course of action, incurring costs as you do so.
  2. You could face a stiffer penalty than the one you originally received if the your appeal is unsuccessful.

Only around 1% of speeding tickets are appealed each year, and only about 50% of those appeals are successful.

You may disagree with the speed limit you are accused of breaking – perhaps there was a reduced 50mph limit on the motorway, despite it being empty of traffic – but if you exceeded the stated limit, you are guilty of the offence.

You can consider appealing for the following reasons:

The NIP was not served on time

Police have 14 calendar days from the alleged offence to get a Notice of Intended Prosecution to you. If an NIP arrives after this period you may be able to appeal, though if the police can show they could reasonably have expected the NIP to arrive within 14 days this reason may not be successful.

The camera equipment was not certified

Speed cameras should be regularly calibrated in-line with Home Office guidelines, but you may suspect one was malfunctioning – perhaps you are being accused of hitting 60mph when you know for a fact you were sticking to 30mph. The police do not have to disclose calibration information to you – but they will need to in court, and some forces post calibration certificates online.

The speed limit itself was not legal

Speed limits are more than just signs – they’re backed up by legislation – even temporary ones. If you suspect the correct legislation was not in place you may have grounds to appeal.

It was necessary to speed

Exceptional circumstances – such as being in fear for your life, or driving someone to hospital in a life-or-death emergency – may see a speeding ticket overturned. This is a rare and complex defence, however.

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