We have all witnessed motorists who have driven in excess of the speed limits on our local roads and motorways in the UK – it is unfortunately a common sight.
But what is likely to happen if a motorist has been caught driving at extraordinarily higher speeds than allowed by the law, for example driving at 80mph in a 30mph zone?
The Guidelines state that for speeds between 100-110mph on a motorway or 51-60mph on a 30mph road, the court should impose a driving ban of up to 56 days or in the alternative, impose 6 penalty points. However, there are no guidelines for speeds in excess of that.
Magistrates are volunteers from the community. In order to try and ensure consistency in approach to sentencing, they use the Magistrates Sentencing Court Guidelines. These guidelines give sentence starting points and ranges based on the aggravating and mitigating factors of each case.
S34 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 states that for an offence that carries a discretionary disqualification (such as speeding and driving with no insurance), the court may order that the driver be disqualified for such a period as the court thinks fit. This means that they can impose any length of disqualification that they deem appropriate, dependant on the speed and any aggravating features.
Over the years motorists have appealed the length of their discretionary ban and here are some examples of the decisions:
• A motorbike rider with no current penalty points was convicted at 97mph on a 40mph road – 12 month ban reduced to a 6 month ban on appeal
• Motorist convicted for speeding at 87mph on a 40mph road - on appeal the 9 month driving ban was upheld
• Motorist was caught speeding at 66mph on a 30 mph road – his 3 month driving ban was found not to be excessive on appeal
Of course even where the speed is excessive it doesn’t mean that you will receive more than a 56 day ban or that it is impossible that you would instead receive 6 penalty points. The court will consider the presence of any aggravating features. This may include:
• Poor road or weather conditions
• LGV, HGV or PSV etc
• Towing a caravan or trailer
• Carrying passengers or a heavy load
• Driving for hire or reward
• Evidence of unacceptable driving
• Offence committed near a school
• High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity
They will also consider your personal mitigation and in particular, the impact that a driving ban would have on you and those around you. The presentation of powerful and compelling mitigation to the court is likely to make a significant difference to the length of the driving disqualification.