2. Motoring offences appropriate for imposition of fine or discharge

Effective from: 04 August 2008

Part 2: Offences concerning the vehicle

* The guidelines for some of the offences below differentiate between three types of offender when the offence is committed in the course of business: driver, owner-driver and owner-company. For owner-driver, the starting point is the same as for driver; however, the court should consider an uplift of at least 25 per cent.

Maximum fines

A fine must not exceed the statutory limit. Where this is expressed in terms of a 'level', the maxima are:

Level 1 £200
Level 2 £500
Level 3 £1,000
Level 4 £2,500
Level 5 Unlimited

 

Offence Maximum Points Starting point Special considerations
No excise licence L3 or five times annual duty, whichever is greater A (1-3 months unpaid) B (4-6 months unpaid) C (7-12 months unpaid) Add duty lost
Fail to notify change of ownership to DVLA L3 A If offence committed in course of business: A (driver) A* (owner-driver) B (owner-company)
No test certificate L3 A If offence committed in course of business: A (driver) A* (owner-driver) B (owner-company)
Brakes defective L4 3 B If offence committed in course of business: B (driver) B* (owner-driver) C (owner-company)L5 if goods vehicle – see Part 5
Steering defective L4 3 B If offence committed in course of business: B (driver) B* (owner-driver) C (owner-company)L5 if goods vehicle – see Part 5
Tyres defective L4 3 B If offence committed in course of business: B (driver) B* (owner-driver) C (owner-company)L5 if goods vehicle – see Part 5 Penalty per tyre.
Condition of vehicle/accessories/ equipment involving danger of injury (Road Traffic Act 1988, s.40A) L4 3 B Must disqualify for at least six months if offender has one or more previous convictions for same offence within three years.If offence committed in course of business: B (driver) B* (owner-driver) C (owner-company)L5 if goods vehicle – see Part 5
Exhaust defective L3 A If offence committed in course of business: A (driver) A* (owner-driver) B (owner-company)
Lights defective L3 A If offence committed in course of business: A (driver) A* (owner-driver) B (owner-company)
Band ranges
  Starting point Range
Fine Band A  50% of relevant weekly income  25 – 75% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band B  100% of relevant weekly income  75 – 125% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band C  150% of relevant weekly income 125 – 175% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band D  250% of relevant weekly income 200 – 300% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band E 400% of relevant weekly income 300 – 500% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band F  600% of relevant weekly income  500 – 700% of relevant weekly income
  • The court should determine the appropriate level of fine in accordance with this guideline and section 164 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which requires that the fine must reflect the seriousness of the offence and that the court must take into account the financial circumstances of the offender.
  • Where possible, if a financial penalty is imposed, it should remove any economic benefit the offender has derived through the commission of the offence including:
    • avoided costs;
    • operating savings;
    • any gain made as a direct result of the offence.
  • The fine should meet, in a fair and proportionate way, the objectives of punishment, deterrence and the removal of gain derived through the commission of the offence; it should not be cheaper to offend than to comply with the law.
  • In considering economic benefit, the court should avoid double recovery.
  • Where the means of the offender are limited, priority should be given to compensation (where applicable) over payment of any other financial penalty.
  • Where it is not possible to calculate or estimate the economic benefit, the court may wish to draw on information from the enforcing authorities about the general costs of operating within the law.
  • When sentencing organisations the fine must be sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact which will bring home to both management and shareholders the need to comply with the law.  The court should ensure that the effect of the fine (particularly if it will result in closure of the business) is proportionate to the gravity of the offence.
  • Obtaining financial information: It is for the offender to disclose to the court such data relevant to their financial position as will enable it to assess what they can reasonably afford to pay. If necessary, the court may compel the disclosure of an individual offender’s financial circumstances pursuant to section 162 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. In the absence of such disclosure, or where the court is not satisfied that it has been given sufficient reliable information, the court will be entitled to draw reasonable inferences as to the offender’s means from evidence it has heard and from all the circumstances of the case. In setting a fine, the court may conclude that the offender is able to pay any fine imposed unless the offender has supplied financial information to the contrary.