(Fines & Endorsements)
The basis for Fines or Fixed Penalty Notices as they are now referred to (including endorsements) has changed. An increasing number of offences can now be dealt with by Fixed Penalty Notices. They are commonly used for cases where there is photographic evidence, specifically speeding, traffic light contraventions and failing to comply with yellow box junctions and no right/left turns.
Although the Fixed Penalty would normally be a conditional offer of 3 penalty points and a £60 fine, for some more serious offences, such as driving without insurance, a higher number of penalty points and larger fine are generally imposed.
The benefit of this system to the Police is that it disposes of matters promptly and avoids a Court appearance which is attractive to many offenders. However, it should be appreciated that when accepting a Fixed Penalty, a motorist cannot negotiate or try to obtain a more lenient outcome, acceptance is final.
NB If you are in any doubt about how to proceed, it is advisable to use the 28 day acceptance period in order to consider your options.
Following a contravention, all drivers may pay a fixed penalty to avoid conviction for certain traffic and vehicle related offences. Where a Police Officer has reason to believe a person is committing or has committed a fixed penalty offence, he/she may issue a fixed penalty ticket. It is standard practice also to give the driver a notice to produce his vehicle test certificate and certificate of insurance (a producer).
Where a Police Officer has reason to believe that, in respect of any stationary vehicle, a fixed penalty offence is being or has been committed, he may put a fixed penalty ticket on that vehicle. A fixed penalty ticket may not be fixed to a vehicle for an endorsable offence. Neither may a fixed penalty ticket be given to a person for an endorsable offence unless:
- he/she produces his driving licence for inspection;
- he/she would not be liable to disqualification under the penalty points system (disqualification follows 12 or more penalty points); and
- he/she gives his driving licence to the constable to be kept for endorsement
Fixed penalty tickets for endorsable offences are yellow and for non-endorsable offences white. Fixed penalty offences include:
- waiting, parking or loading offences;
- parking of heavy commercial vehicles on pavements or verges (any vehicle in Greater London);
- breaking traffic regulation orders;
- breech of experimental traffic orders;
- breaking pedestrian crossing regulations;
- failure to comply with traffic directions and signs;
- leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position;
- failure to wear seatbelts;
- breaking restrictions on carrying children in the front or rear of vehicles;
- driving vehicles off road without lawful authority;
- breaking any construction and use requirements (including lighting and emission standards);
- using a vehicle in a dangerous condition;
- using a vehicle without a test certificate being in force;
- using an incorrectly registered vehicle;
- using or keeping a vehicle without a registration mark affixed, or with one attached that fails to comply with the rules;
- failure to display an excise licence disc;
- using a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a driving licence;
- using a motor vehicle while uninsured;
- failure to stop when required;
- failure of vehicle's keeper to identify the driver to the police.
Fixed penalty tickets may not be issued for causing or permitting a vehicle to be used in breach of the law. Traffic wardens may issue fixed penalty tickets for the following offences only:
- parking at night without lights or reflectors;
- waiting, loading or parking offences on yellow lines and at pedestrian crossings;
- failure to display an excise licence disc;
- parking meter offences;
- obstruction and dangerous parking.
Except in Scotland, where a Police Office finds a person has committed or is committing an endorsable fixed penalty offence and he does not produce his driving licence, the Officer may give him a notice stating that:
"If he/she produces their licence at a police station of his choice within seven days, he will then be given a fixed penalty ticket". However, the following conditions will apply:
- that on inspection of the licence at the police station, the constable is satisfied that disqualification would not result from the endorsement of penalty points; and
- that the licence is surrendered to be kept for endorsement
Generally, the fixed penalty for a non-endorsable offence is currently £30 and for an endorsable offence £60. When a fixed penalty ticket is issued there is generally a 28 day suspended enforcement period. During the suspended enforcement period the person may either:
- pay the fixed penalty (to the justices' clerk as given on the ticket); or
- request a court hearing if he wishes to defend himself against the alleged offence (procedure for requesting a hearing will be given on the ticket)
If he/she does neither, he/she will be fined the fixed penalty plus one half. So the current price fixed penalty ticket incurs a fine of £45 for a non-endorsable offence or £90 for an endorsable offence.
Where a fixed penalty ticket is fixed to a vehicle the registered owner is responsible for paying the penalty if the actual driver does not pay or for requesting a court hearing within 28 days. As tickets may not be fixed to vehicles for endorsable offences, owner liability applies only to non-endorsable offences.
For owner liability to apply the police must serve a Notice to Owner within six months of the issue of the fixed penalty ticket. The Notice to Owner gives details of the alleged offence, requires he/she to complete a statement of ownership and invites he/she to give a statement of facts. Usually this statement identifies the actual driver, who must then either pay the fixed penalty or request a court hearing - otherwise he/she will be fined.
Vehicle owners who receive a Notice to Owner from the police following an alleged offence by a driver must respond - either by paying the fixed penalty or providing the statement of facts. Otherwise they will be fined £45 for a non-endorsable offence.
Graduated Fixed Penalties
On 24th July 2008, the Department for Transport published its consultation document on Graduated Fixed Penalties, Financial Penalty Deposit and Immobilisation Schemes. The purpose of the consultation document is to seek views from stakeholders on the draft Statutory Instruments (SIs) needed to implement the 'graduated fixed penalty and financial penalty deposit schemes'.
The proposed offences likely to be affected by the scheme include:
- drivers' hours and tachographs;
- roadworthiness and statutory testing;
- driver licensing;
- European Community authorisations and licences;
- vehicle excise duty.
For further information of what is proposed and expected within this proposed scheme, please visit the page Graduated Fixed Penalties within this section of the site.
Offences and Codes
For further information on endorseable offences, please visit Offences & Codes within this section of the site, where you will find a table of Road Traffic Offences, their codes, penalty points and non-financial penalties (where applicable).