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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70526
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was moving house in March using a 3.5t van. I was stopped

Customer Question

I was moving house in March using a 3.5t van. I was stopped by police during the move and the van was weighed and found to be overweight on one of the two axles and overweight overall. The axle was overweight by around 25% and the van overweight by 15% overall.

I was told to expect a fixed penalty for £200 in the post. Looking on the .gov.uk website later I found it was more likely to be £300.

I have now received two FPNs, both for £300. They are
1) breaching 75(1) of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regs
2) breaching 80(1)(a) of the same regs.

As I understand it, 1) is for exceeding the maximum permitted weight of a vehicle and 2) for exceeding the maximum weight stated on the manufacturers plate on the van.

To me, the fine seems excessive particularly as the overloading was an honest mistake.

I have found guidance produced by VOSA for their officers which advises that in cases of non commercial drivers where the overloading is a simple mistake, it is not in the public interest to issue a fixed penalty notice.

This leaves me wondering whether if I were to contest the notices, I would receive a smaller fine in court.

I don't really know much about laws and courts, and would appreciate some professional guidance on whether it's worth contesting the FPNs.

Many thanks
Simon
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm trying to understand whether the FPNs are worth contesting.


 


The police are fining me £600 while VOSA would seemingly have let me off if they had stopped me. What would a court make of my crime?


 


Also, is it right that I have received two very similar FPNs for the same act?


 


Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
What a Court would make of this particular offence is always very difficult to tell. Its very random. Some courts treat this type of thing more leniently than others. Some Magistrates would consider it de minimis and others would argue that any traffic offence creates risk and must be punished.

However, this is a significant over load and you cannot hide from that.

If you went to court you would be facing a fine of between 125-175 % of your weekly income and costs. If you plead guilty at the first opportunity then the costs would be £85 but if you contest this matter at trial then you would face costs of £300 plus.

I'm not sure on what basis it could be contested though. You seem to accept the offence.

I suppose if you refused the FPN then it might be that they forget to summons you. That does happen sometimes and if it does then that is wonderful but its obviously a risk.

it is fair to say that its rare that you get a lesser financial penalty at court than the FPN.

The only benefit I can see immediately is that they may accept a plea to one and not the other but thats a risk.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/