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Motorists Beware  – New Increased Fines In Force Soon


Under Government proposals, motorists who break the law will soon face significantly increased levels of fines. Paul Trincas,  a motoring law specialist with Charles Lucas & Marshall, explains the new legislation.

The proposals will be brought into force under the provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and herald the first significant increase in levels of fines to be imposed in magistrates courts since 1991.

What this means, is that the unwary motorist who falls foul of the motoring laws, will face a significant increase in fines, compared to the present position.

For most of the common types of motoring offences that magistrates’ courts deal with on a daily basis, the maximum fines will be increased by a staggering 400%. Even worse, where the existing maximum fine in the magistrates’ court is £5,000 or more, the courts will have the power to impose ‘unlimited’ fines.

The most common types of motoring offences regularly and routinely dealt with by magistrates’ courts, such as speeding, drink-driving, driving without insurance, bald tyres, driving without due care and attention, will all be subject to this hike in the maximum fines.

To demonstrate the significance, the comparison table below illustrates the current and future position:

Offence                                  Current Max fine                  Proposed new Max fine

Speeding                                                 £1,000                                     £4,000

Careless Driving                                   £5,000                                     £Unlimited fine

Driving above alcohol limit            £5,000                                     £Unlimited fine

No Insurance                                       £5,000                                     £Unlimited fine

Defective Brakes                                   £2,500                                     £10,000

Using mobile phone whilst driving        £1,000                                     £4,000

Failing to wear seat belt                         £500                                        £2,000

While on the one hand, this is seen as a clear and serious attempt by the Government to clamp down on flouting motorists, there are some commentators who have suggested that motorists are ‘soft’ targets and the changes are a simple and easy method of increasing revenue.

A potential spin-off which has been raised by many commentators is that, motorists faced with court prosecution, even if they feel they are not guilty, may very well be tempted to minimise their risk and exposure to a higher level of fine, by pleading guilty and receiving a lower fine – rather than risk being faced with a much higher fine if they are subsequently convicted after a trial.

A further cause of concern is that such hikes in the levels of fines may well see motorists, who are issued with fixed penalty notices which they can challenge in court, being deterred from going to court to challenge such notices where they don’t believe they are guilty of an offence.

There is no doubt that these proposals are controversial and views will differ according to which side of the fence you sit on.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or paul.trincas@clmlaw.co.uk

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Written by
Paul Trincas

July 25th, 2014 at 10:31 am



Posted in Fines,Points,Speeding

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