A guide to Fixed Penalty Notices
A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is an alternative to prosecution before the magistrate’s court. It includes a fine, and in many cases penalty points too.
You therefore have the opportunity to pay a set amount of money to release your liability for a conviction for a road traffic offence. FPNs were introduced in Britain in the 1950s to deal with minor parking offences, however, they can now be issued by local councils as an alternative to prosecution for a range of offences. They are, however, predominately used for driving offences, such as:
- Speeding offences
- Traffic light offences
- Performing a restricted turn
- Entering a ‘no entry’ zone
- Restricted turns and yellow box junctions
- Driving without insurance
- Failing to wear a seatbelt
The three types of Fixed Penalties
An endorsable ticket carries a fine between £60 and £200 while points will be added to your licence, usually three points. Endorsable notices must be paid within 21 days. You must hand in your full driving licence, including the paper part, to your local police station within seven days of the offence.
A non-endorsable ticket is a fine of around £30, and these must also be paid within 21 days, however, you do not need to hand in your driving licence.
Conditional Offers are related to offences picked up by traffic cameras, usually speeding. The registered keeper of the vehicle will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution through the post, and upon receipt of this ticket, it is a legal requirement for you to provide the details of the individual that was driving at the time the offence is alleged to take place. A conditional offer allows the driver to accept blame and pay a £60 fine, without the need for further action. They will also receive 3 penalty points on their licence.
If you receive a Fixed Penalty Notice, it must contain specific information such as the type of offence you are alleged to have committed, as well as information on how you can challenge the FPN.
Do Fixed Penalty Notices go on record?
It is not a criminal conviction, yet it can be recorded on the Police National Computer (PCN). An FPN must be declared until it is settled, as a criminal conviction.
Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs)
Penalty Notices for Disorder (PND) are issued to deal with low-level antisocial behaviour quickly and efficiently. A PND will carry a fine of £50 or £80, depending on the offence, while notices must also be paid within 21 days. As is the case with the FPNs discussed above, the incentive is for the offender to “pay up”, therefore, no criminal conviction or admission of guilt is associated with payment of the penalty.
PNDs can be issued for a wide range of offences, such as:
- Urinating in a public place
- Not clearing up dog foul
- Letting your dog off the lead in a restricted area
- Cycling in a restricted area.
- Smoking in a smoke-free place
- ‘Fly-posting’ – displaying adverts without consent
- Exceeding the permitted night-time noise level
Some PNDs can be issued by police, rather than councils, with examples including:
- Being drunk and disorderly
- Firework offences
- Trespassing on a railway
How can I pay an FPN?
Payment terms vary depending on the offence but payment can be made quickly and securely via the Directgov website. To do so, you will need:
- Notice number
- Date of offence
- Offence code
- Email address
- Telephone number
You can also choose to make payment via cheque, but details will be on the back of the ticket. Cash is no longer acceptable.
What happens if I choose not to pay?
If you accept the fine but fail to pay, the fine is registered with the court and it will increase by 50%. The court will enforce the new fine and may issue a warrant for your arrest if you fail to respond. If you want to challenge an FPN that you’ve recently received, it’s critical to seek expert legal advice.
Are Fixed Penalty Notices effective?
Fixed penalty notices are widely seen as a straightforward and efficient method for road traffic offences. Fines have increased in recent years in a bid to effectively deter low-level crimes. For example, London was one of the first to adopt the maximum £150 fine for dropping litter, but many local councils outside of England’s capital have adopted the maximum fine.
As part of a larger enforcement strategy, Fixed Penalty Notices have proven to deliver a visible, effective and streamlined means of dealing with a wide range of low-level offences as well as environmental problems.
Challenge a Fixed Penalty Notice today
Whether you are looking to contest an offence because you’re not guilty or have mitigating circumstances surrounding the FPN, it’s best to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible, especially in cases where previous offences have been committed. With decades of experience challenging allegations on behalf of our clients, Noble Solicitors is best placed to provide specialist advice that’s clear and accurate, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advising you on how best to proceed.
If you’d like to learn more about our defence work or wish to tell us more about the issues you’re currently facing, contact our team today on 07000 81 82 83 or contact Andrew Brumhill on email@example.com or 07976 238872. Alternatively, please send us a message and we’ll be in touch shortly to discuss your needs in further detail.
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