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What to do if you receive a fixed penalty notice for speeding
Speeding is the motoring offence that is committed most often by road users. Speeding offences can quickly add up and a driving ban can soon be imposed. For those who rely on their vehicles, the consequences of being caught speeding can be huge.
Speeding fines are divided into two categories: speeding in a built-up area; and speeding outside a built-up area.
The punishment for speeding in a built-up area by up to 30 km/h (18 miles an hour) can include a fine and up to 3 points.
If the sign-posted speed is exceeded by more than 31 km/h the punishment includes a very high fine, up to 4 points and up to a three month driving ban.
Particularly on those stretches of motorways and country roads where the speed limit has been reduced to 70 km/h (43 miles per hour) it can be very easy to exceed the speed limit by such an amount.
We can help you
Due to the severe consequences of being caught speeding, it is extremely important to react quickly to any fixed penalty notice.
A study has shown that 85% of all fixed penalty notices are erroneous.
A strong defence starts by looking for those mistakes made most regularly by the authorities. Such mistakes include: not correctly following procedure, failing to keep to statutory time limits for bringing a prosecution, incorrectly sending the pre-trail questionnaire or witness questionnaire, poor photo quality, non-calibration or incorrect erection of speeding cameras; and breaching internal police codes of conduct.
Our experienced team of Germans lawyers provide an overview of the options for defending your speeding case.
Which cameras are in use?
The speed cameras that are most regularly used by the authorities include:
1) Radar cameras
- TRAFFIPAX SpeedoPhot
- M5 Radar
- TRAFFIPAX Micro-Speed 09
2) Laser cameras
- RIEGL LR90-235P
- RIEGL FG21-P
- LEIVTEC XV2
- LEIVTEC XV3
- PoliScan Speed
- ULTRA LYTE 100
- LTI 20.20 TS/KM
3) Photoelectric sensor equipment
- ESO µP 80
- ESO ES 1.0
- ESO ES 3.0
4) Induction loops
- TRUVELO M4²
- TRAFFIPAX TraffiphotS
- Verkehrsüberwachungsgerät M5
- TRAFFIPAX Traffistar S 330
- Multanova Multastar C
5) Video pursuit
- ProVida | Vidista
6) Video stopwatch and traffic calming systems
- VKS 3.0
- VKS 3.01
The measurements taken when using the above named equipment are presumed to follow a standardised procedure.
What are standardised measurements?
Technologies that use standardised measuring procedures are those which are accepted by the courts as automatically lowering speed readings to the prescribed tolerance to take account of human inaccuracies in measuring, such as imprecision in aiming, and inherent inaccuracies in the system.
Such procedures do not require speed measurements to be taken within the framework of a fully automated system; nor must they guarantee the exclusion of human error. Rather, the measurements are taken under a set of uniform technical rules designed to regulate the way in which the measuring equipment is used and which ensure that the same results are obtained in equivalent conditions.
The standardised procedure presumption is rebutted if there are concrete indications of specific measuring errors.
This is the starting point for mounting a defence against any speeding accusations. If there is some evidence that a measuring error was made, the standardised nature of the measuring equipment is called into question.
What are the possible lines of defence?
There are multiple lines of defence in summary proceedings.
The first step to developing a strong defence, is obtaining a copy of the police file. Only with the help of the complete police file will it be possible to assess any procedural irregularities. However, only a lawyer can gain access to a police file. This is why it is extremely important to instruct a lawyer when defending against summary road traffic law charges.
We provide an overview below of the possible defences available in road traffic law cases:
Instruction manual / operating guidelines
The correct use of any measuring equipment in road traffic cases plays a large role in securing a conviction. If a speed camera is not operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction manual, the speed measured can be inaccurate. This means the measurements cannot be used as a factual and evidential basis to bring charges.
Speed cameras must be calibrated at regular intervals. If the authorities are unable to produce a calibration certificate showing that the relevant speed camera was properly calibrated at the time of the incident, the measurements cannot be used in the proceedings. A lawyer would need to view the police file in order to establish whether the equipment used was properly calibrated.
Measuring equipment must also be calibrated after it has been serviced. To find out whether a speed camera has been properly serviced and calibrated, a lawyer would request a copy of the police file. If it turns out that the equipment was defective, there is a possible line of defence.
Evidence of police training
The authorities must be able to produce a valid training certificate of the person who conducted the measurements. Official measurements can only be taken by personnel who have been properly trained. They must have the requisite knowledge the equipment’s characteristics, how it works, and how it is operated, and as a result the officer should be in a position to reduce the likelihood of errors occurring. If the training certificate is missing, the officer concerned should not have taken the readings. This is why we request a copy of the certificate and verify it.
Poor photograph quality
One of the most effective ways of avoiding punishment for speeding is for a lawyer to double-check the photographs in the police file. In many cases the quality of the photographs is so poor that the characteristics of the person accused are not recognisable. The speeding charges are often dropped as a result.
Intentional or careless act
The question of whether speeding was committed carelessly or intentionally is extremely important in summary proceedings, as it affects the level of fine a defendant may receive. It also plays a crucial role if a defendant elects to remain silent, as it is for the prosecution to prove intention.
To prove intention the prosecution must satisfy two requirements: firstly, the defendant must have been aware of the speed limit and secondly, the defendant must have been aware that they were speeding.
When assessing this question, the judge is permitted to consider the defendant’s knowledge of the area, the surrounding circumstances, whether the defendant braked while the speed was being measured and the amount by which the speed limit had been exceeded.
Particularly this last element is regularly considered by judges to be evidence of intention, and it is the defence lawyer’s job to prevent judges from reaching such conclusions.
For more advice on speeding and other traffic law matters, contact our team of German lawyers on +49 (0) 221 / 951 563 0.