Fixed penalty tickets, known as fixed penalty notices (FPN), are a popular and quick way for the government to punish defendants and  recoup fines. However, they can hold numerous pitfalls for the motorist.


What is the criteria to get a fixed penalty ticket?

An FPN can only be issued if a motorist fulfils the following criteria:-

1. The motorist holds a driving licence

2. The motorist will not be subject to the “totting up” procedure ie 12 points or more on driving licence after adding the points for the offence

3. The motorist must be able to surrender his licence for endorsement.

If a motorist is unable to fulfil the criteria the officer will report the motorist for summons.

You will not be offered a fixed penalty ticket if you may be disqualified for the offence, or fall within the “totting up” procedure. 

In order to issue an FPN legally, the officer must be a constable in uniform.

The only exception to this is in relation to auto detection devices, such as the fixed speed cameras. You should always note the officer’s name and collar number, along with whether or not he was in uniform and if he was with anyone else, including another police officer.


I've been caught speeding will I get offered a fixed penalty ticket?




Note that these are guidelines only, and the issuing of a FPN is always at the discretion of an officer, assuming of course that you fulfil the criteria mentioned above.



Can we ask for a fixed penalty ticket?

An officer may report you for process and issue a traffic officer report (TOR) which delays the decision as to whether to prosecute, issue a fixed penalty or offer a retraining course.

This decision is made in the traffic process office and, as they have to take into account any explanation offered to them, it would provide you with the chance to provide your explanation and influence the decision.

You could get a letter of representation written by an expert to influence the decision at this stage.

Ask one of our specialist solicitors if they can help with a letter of representation


I've received a fixed penalty conditional offer what should I do?

This relates to authorised automatic detection offences such as fixed speed cameras etc., so that an FPN would not be issued to the driver or secured on the vehicle at the time, and the procedure has to follow a strict criteria:

The conditional offer must contain:-

1. The particulars of the offence so that a driver can understand which incident the offer relates to.

2. The amount of the fixed penalty for the offence; and

3. A statement that proceedings against the alleged offender cannot be commenced in respect of that offence until the end of the period of 28 days following the date on which the conditional offer was issued (a longer period may be specified in the offer).

Otherwise the same conditions apply as to other fixed penalty notices.

You should check that it fulfils the criteria and consider whether you are guilty of the offence. 

If you accept the offer prematurely you may find that you had a defence OR if you reject the offer you will, most certainly have increased costs particularly if you lose your case.

Before doing either you should discuss the offence with one of our specialist solicitors free




Parking fixed penalty notices or non endorsable offences

Different rules apply to fixed penalty notices which are issued and usually stuck on the vehicle i.e. parking offences. These are non-endorsable.

No offences will be commenced until after a period of 21 days (the police will not commence proceedings on these types of offences until the lapse of 28 days).

For the purposes of these fixed penalty tickets, it is assumed that the registered keeper is the owner, but a person can produce a statement of ownership stating that he was never the owner or when ownership changed.

If you do not respond to a notice at all and the penalty remains unpaid, then the penalty will increase by 50% as a fine which is registered. A notice of registration will then be issued, but it is possible to provide a declaration to show that you did not receive the initial notice, you were not the owner at the time or that you gave a notice requesting a hearing.


Not guilty of the parking ticket offence?

It is always worth acting on these notices immediately; if it is a parking notice and there are circumstances that you feel would make you not guilty, you should do the following:

1. Take photographs of any restrictions and exceptions displayed

2. Take photographs of loads etc.

3. Keep copies of any documentation you have in relation to why you were present

4. Make notes of all the circumstance including times of arrival and departure etc.

It is worth contacting a specialist motoring firm who can give you free advice regarding the best way forward with these types of offences, and if disputed, could write to the relevant authority in your defence – there would be a charge for this.

It is important to seek advice because many private companies produce tickets which closely resemble penalty notices, and the procedure is very different, as is the likelihood of avoiding the penalty.

Note that it is an offence to interfere or damage a fixed penalty notice which has not been issued to you. This is a level 5 fine, currently £5,000.


I have been given a fixed penalty ticket, what do I do now?

Once issued with an FPN, you will have 28 days in which to respond so it is vital that you seek advice from a specialist solicitor such as Auriga Advocates well within the 28 days.

If you are advised that you should be pleading guilty, you should respond to the FPN sending in your driving licence (if not already surrendered) and pay the fine within the deadline given. If you fail, a summons will be issued and there will be an increase in costs and the fine imposed.

If you have a genuine and reasonable excuse for being unable to accept the fixed penalty, sometimes you can persuade the Magistrates to impose the rate of the fixed penalty notice – however, this will usually be the case where the circumstances for being unable to be dealt with under the fixed penalty notice procedure were beyond your control.

If you do not accept that you are guilty then you should reject the FPN or ignore it and the matter will be processed for a court hearing.


I have changed my address since the fixed penalty was issued what should I do?

If you change your address from the one given by the police officer, it is your responsibility to inform the police so that they can keep you up to date; the Magistrates are unlikely to accept that you were unable to respond to the fixed penalty because you failed to tell the police your new address.

It is always worth considering, if you are likely to receive a high fine and costs, either writing an explanation to the court or paying a specialist solicitor to write a letter in mitigation, which is more likely to persuade Magistrates to reduce your fine and points or sentence you to a fixed penalty rate.

If the matter has progressed to being proved in your absence and/or you have received a notice of fine/disqualification then you should call us immediately for advice.



I want to fight the fixed penalty ticket?

If you have sought advice and wish to plead not guilty, you should respond to the fixed penalty with a not guilty plea and a summons will be issued for court proceedings; the same would occur if you just ignored the summons.


What type of offences can the police issue fixed penalty tickets?

For information on the types of offences for which the police can issue a fixed penalty ticket and the fine rates.  Click HERE to see the offences to which a FPN applies

The information regarding any possible endorsement of points on your licence, or the possible imposition of a disqualification, will be contained on the documentation sent to you by the police.


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