There is a wide array of driving offences that can often result in fines, points on a licence – and, in more serious cases, driving bans and criminal prosecutions. Below are some of the most common offences.
What are the penalties for road traffic offences?
Driving offences are typically penalised in the following ways:
- Penalty Points- each type of offence (or ‘endorsement’) incurs a certain number of penalty points that stay on a driving licence for a selected time. If a driver collects 12 points or more in 3 years, they are disqualified (this process is known as ‘totting-up’). New drivers who receive 6 points within 2 years of passing their test can have their licence revoked.
- Fines – in addition to endorsing penalty points, fines can be imposed depending on the traffic offence
- Disqualification – as well as in the case of totting-up endorsements, courts sometimes impose immediate discretionary or obligatory disqualification especially in the case of careless driving offences
- Prosecution – in serious cases such as a death resulting from the offence, criminal prosecution may take place and can lead to imprisonment.
Most minor offences, such as speeding, generally result in a Fixed Penalty Notice, which is a combination of points and a fine.
What are the main types of road traffic offences?
The penalty for breaking the speed limit in Northern Ireland is a fine between £60 and £200 payable in 21 days. Penalty points can be added to a licence which can result in disqualification from driving.
Drink Driving or Drug-Driving
Convictions for drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs can result in fines, driving bans, and even imprisonment. You could get up to 6 months imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000, a ban on driving ranging from 12 months to 3 years, and you may be required to re-sit your driving test before your license is returned.
Dangerous or Careless Driving
Driving without due care and attention (eg inadvertently driving through a red light) and the more serious offence of dangerous driving (eg where a death occurs or GBH) can both result in penalty points, driving disqualification, unlimited fines, and prison sentences ranging from 5 to 14 years.
Using a Mobile or Handling a Sat Nav Whilst Driving
It is illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving, even while stationary (unless a phone is being used to call the emergency services and it is unsafe or impractical to stop). In Northern Ireland, if you are caught using a hand-held mobile phone or sat nav while driving or riding, you’ll get an automatic fixed penalty notice of six penalty points and a fine of £200. If your case goes to court, you may face disqualification on top of a maximum fine of £1,000.
Not Wearing a Seatbelt
Drivers are responsible for wearing their seatbelts and for ensuring that any children in their vehicle are in the correct car seat and are wearing seatbelts. As a driver, you may get a fine of £500 and three penalty points for not wearing your seat belt. If you are carrying a child under 14 without the proper restraint you are liable for a fine of £500 and three penalty points.
Driving Without Insurance and MOT
In Northern Ireland, drivers can receive a fixed penalty of £200 and 6 points if they drive on a public road without at least third-party insurance. Subject to certain exceptions, cars cannot be driven without a current MOT. Failure to provide an MOT certificate also makes your motor insurance invalid.
What happens if the fixed penalty notice is ignored?
The fixed penalty process will cease to continue, and the matter will be dealt with by way of prosecution.
Can you appeal the decision of a fixed penalty notice?
The only way to appeal against the issue of an endorsed fixed penalty notice is to request a court hearing.
Why Choose McPartland & Sons?
H McPartland & Sons are professional motoring offence solicitors in Lurgan and Lisburn, who can defend you and offer expert advice and a speedy resolution to several motoring or driving offences.
As professional and reliable road traffic solicitors, we are fully qualified and have recent experience in handling all driving offences and road traffic incidents. Our team is completely client-focused, and we pride ourselves on building trust and providing value to each of our clients, so you can be confident in us and our ability to defend you.