Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)
Nowadays more and more driving offences are dealt with by FPNs. These include allegations of speeding, traffic light offences and also failing to adhere to road markings eg. entering box junctions or undertaking unlawful turns (Some police forces also use FPNs for offences of driving without insurance – see below). Usually these cases are dealt with by FPN wherever possible, because there is photographic evidence of the alleged offence, and therefore usually less open to dispute. The idea is that it saves court time as the magistrates don’t have to deal with cases where the driver accepts the FPN. As a result, the driver pays the fine (usually £100) and receives his 3 penalty points without having to go to court or pay additional prosecution costs.
More recently however, FPNs have been introduced for offences such as driving without insurance and careless driving. If you receive a FPN for driving without insurance, you’ll receive six points if you accept it together with a fine of up to £300.
Opinions are divided as to whether allegations of careless driving should be dealt with by FPN as in ‘clear cut’ cases, it can save time and money. However it effectively gives the officer dealing with the matter the power to decide whether an offence has been committed or not. Although the counter-argument is that the driver has the right to decline the FPN and have it dealt with in court, in reality drivers rarely do this due to the additional costs involved.
If you’d like some advice about a fixed penalty notice, get in touch by calling 0330 1330 081 or completing our contact form below. Our initial advice is free. We would also invite you to have a look at the information below and on our other web pages.
How long have I got to accept the FPN?
I missed the deadline and now I’ve got a Summons, can I still accept the FPN?
Unfortunately once a Summons has been issued, it’s in the court system and can’t be changed back to an FPN. You may be able to plead guilty without attending court and if there’s a good reason why you missed the FPN deadline, the court may decide just to order that you pay the original fine and no additional prosecution costs.
Can’t I go on a driving course instead?
There are various driver awareness courses for the different types of offences which may be committed. If you are eligible for a course, you will be notified of that option in writing. The offer of a course is discretionary and it will depend on the nature of your offence and whether you’ve committed a similar offence in the last 3 years, in the same enforcement area.
Our initial advice is free so you’ve nothing to lose! If you’ve received a fixed penalty notice and don’t know whether to challenge it, we’ll help you decide.