What evidence do the Police need to prove a speeding offence?
There are different methods that can be used to support a speeding allegation. For offences caught on camera, you would expect to see a calibration certificate for the device, a photograph of the incident, and if it is a manually operated device, a Certificate of Training for the operator.
If the offence is not supported by photograph evidence, but has been recorded on a hand-held speed gun, you would expect to see proof of the speed recorded (this could be a photograph taken by the police officer of the camera display), a Calibration Certificate and a Training Certificate for the officer.
These are the bare minimum requirements, but if a case is challenged or progressed to Court, a detailed Statement would normally be served.
I was stopped by the Police. How do I obtain the evidence?
If you were stopped by the Police at the time of the offence, you should have been shown evidence there and then. For example, the Police can show you a speed gun with the speed displayed on it or they may have a video of the incident. If you were not shown evidence at the time, you can request documentation by writing to the Police. If evidence was produced, copies will normally be included in any Court process.
My allegation was recorded by a speed camera, how do I obtain the evidence?
You should have been served with a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP). When you identify yourself as the driver, you can also include a letter requesting the evidence. Whilst there is no obligation upon the Police provide evidence at this stage, most Police forces will co-operate and provide some, if not all, information. You may see that there is a personal identification number on your NIP which will allow you access evidence via the Police website.
Can I request the calibration certificate for the speed camera/equipment?
Yes. However, on the vast majority of cases, there is no obligation upon the Police to disclose evidence until the case gets to Court. That said, if you persevere, you should be able to obtain same from the Police on a voluntary basis. Many Police forces will post copies of the Calibration Certificate on their website.
I have received a photograph from a mobile speed camera, but I want the full video. Am I entitled to that?
The prosecution may suggest that there is no obligation to provide a video. On the basis that the camera has been Home Office approved and you have been provided with a photograph showing the speed / distance etc., that would normally be sufficient to prove the offence. However, if you believe that the photograph can be challenged, for example the Police have not targeted the number plate or another vehicle is within the cross hairs of the camera, you should demand the video so that the accuracy of the speed check can be established. If you set out your reasons for the request, the video should be produced.
The Police will not provide the evidence until I request a Court hearing. Will this subsequently go against me by way of a harsher penalty?
The ACPO guidelines do indicate that evidence should be disclosed at the first opportunity. If the Police are not prepared to co–operate but you are subsequently found guilty, you should be able to persuade a Court not to increase the penalty if it is clear that you have not been the author of any delays or made any unreasonable requests.
I probably was speeding should I request the evidence anyway?
If you accept that the allegation is accurate, it is unlikely there will be any benefit in obtaining the evidence in the absence of a "windfall" defence i.e. the Calibration Certificate was actually out of date etc. If a Fixed Penalty has been offered, you may be best off cutting your losses as the Fixed Penalty will expire whilst you are chasing the evidence with the result that a higher penalty may be imposed if the case is then referred to Court. For high speed offences, which are likely to be referred to Court in any event, it probably makes sense to try to obtain the evidence, as you are unlikely to be any worse off, even if the offence is proved.
If I plead not guilty, can I change my plea once I have obtained the evidence?
Yes. There is nothing to prevent you changing your plea at any stage in the process.
How do I challenge the accuracy of a speed check?
The general approach of the Court is that for a speed camera, if the device has produced a photograph showing the speed and distance, it can be assumed that it is accurate, unless there is evidence to the contrary. The onus is therefore very much on the Defendant to prove the speed is wrong and this may well require expert evidence to establish how an error has occurred. Simply attending Court and suggesting that your speedometer indicated you were travelling far slower than alleged, is not going to make any impression at all on the Magistrates.
I'm not sure who was driving. Can I obtain the photo?
Yes. If this is not supplied with the Notice of Intended Prosecution, it should be made available on request. However, the Police will emphasise that the photograph does not need to identify the driver, merely the vehicle. Consequently, on many occasions, the photograph will not actually show the driver at all.
Is there any benefit to having the evidence reviewed by a specialist lawyer?
Yes. Unless you are familiar with these matters, it is feasible that you will not be able to clarify whether the evidence is accurate or adequate. It always makes sense to have this checked and seek guidance at that stage.
Not Guilty Review
Summary Telephone Advice
If you have your evidence, Motor Lawyers will review and advise for a fixed fee via the Summary Advice (Not Guilty) Service. This will establish whether the case can be proved/defended, what action needs to be taken by way of calling witnesses or investigating matters further. Thereafter, subject to the course of action agreed, you will be given the option to upgrade as appropriate. We will credit the Summary Telephone Advice fee against the cost of the new service so only the balance is then payable.Telephone Advice