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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71040
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was stopped by a marked police car in October and was told

Customer Question

I was stopped by a marked police car in October and was told I had been followed for 13 miles and I had a variable speed of between 82 and 96MPH, The officer advised I had not gone through a camera, mobile device and their speedo had not recently been calibrated, advised they would report me to gloucestershire police and suggest I complete a driver awareness course. I received a letter last week to advise I needed to attend court on 18th March, the offence was for 38 seconds I drove at at average of 94MPH, which the officer recorded from his tripometer and speedo. They did not mention they had followed me for 13 miles, nor did they mention their speedo had not been calibrated. Also they got my registration number not entirely correct, the county was Wiltshire, not Gloucestershire and they are saying they were in an unmarked police car, when it was clearly blue and white and had police written on it. I am not happy pleading guilty as was 99% sure I was not driving at that speed, do I have a case?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
When you say that you are 99 % sure, do you know you were not speeding?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Jo

I know I was speeding, but do not believe I was doing anywhere need the speed they have suggested. My circumstance was I was traveling from Cheltenham after a 12 hour meeting to Gatwick airport in readiness for an early flight

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hsve they offered the speed awareness course? Or is it too late now?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They have written to me to advise of a date I need to attend Court which is the 18th March, obviously I can plead guilty and not attend

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thats a shame.
I am really sorry but you should be pleading. You really should have accepted the speed awareness offer or fixed penalty if it was ever made.
There is no way around the fact that you were speeding. You accept that. The offence is made out. The only issue is level. The Crown probably will accept a plea on the basis that you were speeding but at a lesser speed. The method of detection is more imprecise than a GATSO.
Either way though, most of the points you are trying to take are non issues I'm afraid. The County issue matters not. Similarly whether the car was marked or not is irrelevant.
The method of detection was the one that officers always used to use before technology developed the GATSO device. It is perfectly acceptable. The officer forms a view that a vehicle is speeding and corroborates it by travelling alongside or behind for a specific distance and measuring speed by reference to his own speedometer. These devices are never calibrated and there is never any photographic evidence. It is fair to say that you wouldnt be prosecuted on this basis for a very small amount over the limit but with this level it is a perfectly reliable method of telling speed and their evidence will almost certainly be accepted I'm afraid.
If you offer a plea on a basis that you were travelling at a lesser speed then they might well accept that.
I'm very sorry but I have to give you truthful information and if you have a trial over this you will lose unless something like the officer not being warned happens. Then you will have to pay costs.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your advice, I have not heard anything since the 17th October therefore have not been offered a speed awareness course and the officer said they could not issue me with a fixed penalty as their speedo had not been calibrated and they had no camera in the car and my speed was variable. the fact the officer has only made a statement to say he was following me for 38 seconds is also not true.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Well, that is an excuse. They can offer these out of court options when it suits them.
Either way, they haven't offered it and have summonsed you and so must be resolved.
If the court is told that you didn't receive a fixed penalty then they might well just give you 3 points and a fine of £85 and the surcharge of £15 so you would be dealt with as though you have had the fixed penalty anyway.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo, in your opinion am I best pleading guilty early and explain my concerns in the mitigating circumstances and not attend, or should I attend court?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
That is always a difficult condunrum.
Generally speaking , people who attend well dressed and express remorse get better deals than people who plead by post.
People who attend and lose their temper would be better off pleading by post. I suppose that nobody intends to lose their temper but some Magistrates would drive a saint to do so.
The other issue here is what you are going to say in mitigation. Really the only mitigation is remorse, shortness of the distance driven at speed etc. You can also comment on absence of heavy traffic, clear visibility if indeed those points are true.
I think I would attend overall to negotiate a plea on a basis with the prosecutor.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** to submit the forms back to the court with my plea. If I plead guilty surely I wont be able to challenge the speed I was going?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
If you are going to attend in person then you can enter a plea on the morning.
If you are going to plead by post then you can plead guilty and in the mitigation box add that you accept speeding but not at the level the officer describes.
The risk is that the Court can say it would make a material difference in sentence and hold a Newton hearing to determine which version of events it prefers. You might win that. You might not. There is a costs implication if you lose. That is why it is better to attend and negotiate in person with the Crown.