Speeding and Totting up Penalty Points

Speeding and Totting up Penalty Points

Speeding is not to be encouraged, but even the most careful and competent drivers at certain times exceed the speed limit. It is hardly surprising therefore that speeding is one of the most common road traffic offences committed.

It is very easy for the most drivers to fall foul of speeding regulations. This can often result in a fixed penalty notice being issued and which can result in the imposition of between 3 – 6 points on your licence. An the most severe of cases speeding offences can result in a disqualification from driving being imposed.

Where a disqualification is contemplated, whether because of the high level of speed involved, or whether the imposition of penalty points results in the driver attracting 12 or more penalty points, the court may ask the driver concerned to attend court.

The penalty for speeding:

  • Fine up to £2,500
  • 3 – 6 penalty points or disqualification 7 – 56 days (or higher)

Disqualification for speeding usually ranges between 7 and 56 days, however the magistrates do have a discretion to go beyond this where they think that the offence or the drivers record is so bad, that an increased period of disqualification is merited. Extremely excessive speed can often be summonsed or charged for the more serious offences of careless or dangerous driving.


The following is a guide used by the Magistrates when considering sentence for a speeding offence.

What are the defences to a charge of a speeding offence?

You were not the driver at the relevant time – if you receive a summons alleging that you were responsible for a speeding offence and you can show that you were not the driver at the relevant time, you have a valid defence. What often happens is that when a speeding offence is detected, the registered keeper of the vehicle concerned will receive a notice in the post asking to identify the driver. If the recipient of the letter was not the driver, then the letter allows the person to name the driver at the relevant time so that he or she can themselves receive notification of the offence and so that he or she themselves can deal with it.

That you were not notified of an intention to prosecute within the required 28 days- there is a requirement for the police to notify of an intention to prosecute within 28 days. This does not apply to cases where drivers are stopped at the roadside and reported for summons but applies when drivers are detected speeding via roadside cameras and then should receive notification in the post that a speeding offence is suspected of having been committed.

 Insufficient signage – there may be a defence where the speed limit was not properly identifiable.

Speed detection devices – various speed detection devices are used by the police, and where speed is challenged, questions will arise concerning whether or not the device was approved, operating correctly and operated correctly.

Has the correct procedure been followed by those operating the camera?

Was the speed camera calibrated correctly?


 Totting up

Totting up refers to a driver accumulating 12 or more penalty points on their licence within a period of three years. At this point, a court has to arrange a hearing where they will consider imposing a disqualification from driving for a minimum period of six months.

If you have previously been disqualified from driving for a period of 56 days or more within the relevant three-year period, this would increase the ban from six months to 12 months. If you have previously been disqualified from driving for a period of 56 days or more, on two occasions or more within the relevant three-year period, the disqualification for totting up would be increased to two years.

The court hearing offers defendants a chance to rely upon what is known as an ‘exceptional hardship’ argument to convince the court to exercise its discretion and refrain from imposing a disqualification.


Driving Bans

If you are banned from driving, you will not be permitted to drive any type of motor vehicle in the UK until your ban has ended. After your ban has been served, all previous penalty points will be removed, and your licence will be returned to you.

A driving ban can have a significant impact on your life, especially if you rely on using your car either personally or professionally. It is therefore essential that you seek the right legal help and advice to give you the best opportunity to avoid or reduce a ban.