If you are issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for committing a motoring offence, it is important to understand your options and the implications of accepting or rejecting the conditional offer. In this article, I will explain how the police issue FPN’s, and the most common motoring offences that can lead to such notices. With this information, you can make an informed choice on how best to proceed.
What is a fixed penalty notice (FPN)?
If the police believe that you have committed a traffic violation, you will receive a Notice Of Intended Prosecution. This notice is to inform you that there is a possibility you will be prosecuted for an alleged offence. You will be required to submit details of the driver at the time of the incident.
For traffic offences like speeding, careless driving, using a mobile phone, and other minor motoring offences, you may then be given a conditional offer, commonly called as a Fixed Penalty Notice.
It is considered a conditional offer because if you accept the fixed penalties, you cannot request to defend your case in court.
What are the types of fixed penalty notices?
There are 2 types of Fixed Penalty Notices:
- Endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice – this involves a fine and penalty points endorsed on your licence.
- Non-endorsable FPN involves just fines.
These are the most common notices with endorsable penalties, but still vary depending on mitigating or aggravating factors:
- Careless driving (£100 penalty + 3 points added to your licence)
- Speeding (£100 penalty + 3 points added to your licence)
- Mobile phone use whilst driving (£200 penalty + 6 points added to your licence)
Here are the most common notices with non-endorsable penalties:
- Failing to conform to traffic signs (£50 penalty)
- Driving a vehicle of defective condition (£50 penalty)
- Not wearing a seatbelt (£100 penalty)
Can a Fixed Penalty Notice be issued on the spot?
Yes. You can be stopped by the police and be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice on the spot if the police have a reason to believe that you have committed a motor violation. But in most cases (where the offence is caught on camera for example) you will receive the notice by post.
But it must be established that any points added to your licence could not lead to a “totting up ban“. Otherwise, you will be given the notice to submit your driving licence at your local police station within 7 days. If the offence does not accumulate more than 12 points on your licence, then you will be entitled to accept a Fixed Penalty Notice.
If it is issued on the spot, you have 28 days to decide whether to accept or reject the notice.
Rejecting the notice would mean you have to go defend your case in court.
What’s next after accepting a Fixed Penalty Notice?
If you accept a Fixed Penalty Notice, the points will be added to your licence and you will be required to pay the fine within 28 days. If you need more time to pay, you will need to request a court summons.
After accepting the Fixed Penalty Notice, the Magistrates Court cannot prosecute you for the same offence. In the same manner, you cannot request to defend your case in court.
It is best to consult a specialist driving offence solicitor – to ensure you have enough information to decide whether to accept the Fixed Penalty Notice or defend the case in court.
Can I dispute a Fixed Penalty Notice?
If you want to dispute a Fixed Penalty Notice, you can reply explaining your reasons, or let it lapse until the 28th-day deadline. Then prepare to defend your case in court.
How do I appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice?
Appealing would require a court hearing. The downside of this is that the conditional offer will be withdrawn and higher penalties may be imposed.
A Fixed Penalty Notice gives you an alternative to being prosecuted which can be a tedious, costly, stressful and lengthy process. If you reject the conditional offer, you may face more severe penalties. Your best course of action is to consult a driving offence solicitor who can advise whether it is better to defend your case in court or just accept the fines and penalties.
Elmer Cruz is a social entrepreneur and a passionate writer. He writes about topics on law, lifestyle, corporate culture, and technology. He aims to make complex topics easy to understand.