Today (24th April 2017) sees the introduction of tougher punishments for speeding offences in England and Wales.
The new guidelines, will fine motorists caught doing 51mph in a 30mph speed limit or 101mph on a motorway will start from 150% of the drivers weekly income, not the previous level of 100% of the drivers weekly income.
The Sentencing Council said it wanted a “clear increase in penalty” as the seriousness of offending increases.
Motoring groups in general have welcomed the new guidelines for magistrates as there has been a increase in people killed by motorists breaking the speed limit, the last five years have seen speeding offences rise b4 44%.
The new speeding fines have been introduced as previous guidelines did not reflect the harm that driving in excess of the speed limit can cause.
Motorists currently can not be fined more than the current maximum fines allowed by law which is £1,000 or £2,500 if caught speeding on a motorway.
Do magistrates have any flexibility regarding the new fines?
- Sentencing guidelines must be followed, unless a judge or magistrate feels it is not in the interests of justice to do so.
- If a judge or magistrate believes that a guideline prevents the correct sentence from being given in an exceptional case, he or she can sentence outside of the guideline.
- Guidelines set sentencing ranges within the maximum for the offence as set out in current legislation.
- When legislation changes, guidelines are amended as appropriate.
Source: Sentencing Council
District judge Richard Williams, a sentencing council member, said: “The magistrates’ courts deal with the vast majority of offenders in England and Wales, so it is essential that the guidelines they use are up to date and help ensure that sentences are applied consistently and effectively.
“We have listened to the views of magistrates, criminal justice professionals and others with an interest in particular offence types in developing these guidelines.
“We are grateful to all those who responded to the consultation and helped shape the final versions that will be used in courts.”