Fixed Penalty Notices

What Are Fixed Penalty Notices?

Fixed penalty notices are fines. These are levied on a person, for a specific offence and for a certain amount.

They were originally developed to solve parking problems way back when parking in London streets started creating problems for the local police.  Essentially, they were created to address the quick and free rectification of minor traffic offences. Since no prosecution is involved, then no criminal record is created.

Since then, fixed penalty notices found their way into the various enforcement laws of the government offering a way to penalize violations without having to go into a long and costly prosecution.

The enforcement and payment of most fixed penalty notices have been automated to the extent that it can now be done online for most situations.

What Are The Types Of Fixed Penalty Notices?

There are various types of fixed penalty notices. Some have to do with motoring violations, environmental violations and other civil violations that are considered lesser offences which normally don’t need further prosecution.

Environmentally Related Fixed Penalty Notices

The environment related fixed penalty notice is a relatively newer thing. While other offences are old ones, a great deal of them were created in the wake of the environmental consciousness permeating most of the world today.

Moreover, the fact that London has been chosen for the Olympics has also created a great desire on the part of the citizens of UK to protect and beautify their city. Hence it gave birth to the proliferation of many initiatives in different towns and boroughs to address their environmental problems.

Fixed penalty notices can be issued for environmental offenses such as littering, vandalising, failure to properly handle dog fouling, creating loud noises and other offences.

Parents take note that anyone over 10 can be issued these notices so please watch over your children to avoid accumulating excessive fines.

But the violation of environmental laws is just one aspect that parents should be aware of because they can now be penalized for the truancy of their child among other things.

Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003

In recent times, a large number of towns and boroughs have decreed that a parent can be issued a fixed penalty notice for excessive absences of their children. This is a part of the violations of the Anti Social Behaviour Act of 2003 and emphasizes the role of parents in preventing the truancy of their children. There is a wide scope for application of this penalty and it is hoped that the use of this along with the other aspects of the Act will be able to curb the worsening problem of youth offenders in various places.

Motoring Related Fixed Penalty Notices

Motoring related fixed penalty notices vary a great deal from the environmentally related ones. There are more conditions attached and there are different types of fixed penalty notices for motoring.

  • Endorsable

This type of fixed penalty notice will result in the motorist receiving penalty points. The driver will be asked also to give up their licence so the penalty stamps can be made. The driver can opt to surrender the license on the spot or to a police station of his choice within seven days of apprehension. Failure to do so will result to imposition of higher fines and possible imprisonment.

This type of fixed penalty notice is usually given for speeding violations or line crossing.

  • Non-endorsable

The non-endorsable fixed penalty notice is one that won’t add penalty points to your licence. It is usually given for minor offences like illegal parking.

Historically, this was actually one of the first uses of the fixed penalty notice and its use continues today in much the same form except that it’s pretty much streamlined and payments can be done online.

  • Conditional Offer

This type of fixed penalty notice is given for offences that were recorded via traffic cameras.  So these are usually speeding related.

The conditional aspect comes in where the motorist is given an offer to pay the fine, accept the imposition of penalty points to their license instead of going through prosecution.

It must be noted that the speed of the vehicle will indicate whether a conditional offer will be made or if prosecution will be automatically done.

Speeds that are in excess of a certain margin are automatically forwarded for prosecution and no conditional offer will be made.

This is the subject of quite a lot of challenges by motorists in an attempt to overturn speeding penalties and tickets. However, the refusal to avail of a conditional fixed penalty opens the door to getting stamped with penalty points that may have major effects on the status of the motorist in the near future.

Not Resulting to Criminal Records

Fixed penalty notices do not result in a criminal record but failure to pay them can result in astronomical fines and even result in imprisonment.

This nature of the fixed penalty notice has given rise to some abuse as there is some leeway given to the different local government to decide on where to use and how much to charge as penalties.

This has prompted the justice secretary, in November 2009, to order a review of both the cautions system and the fixed penalty notice system.

Perhaps the biggest problem that brought on this move was the misuse and insignificant impact of penalties for certain violations that appeared to merit harsher penalties.

So it can be reasonably inferred that once this review is over, the fixed penalty notice system will have a new set of bigger teeth to take a bigger bite out of the different violations that are currently penalized with its use.

Cautionary Notes

There have been some reports of non-receipt by citizens of various kinds of fixed penalty notice. These can lead to pretty hefty fines and even imprisonment. This is a result of the automation that is fast becoming the rule in enforcement.

Consequently, it is best to ensure that your contact details are updated. It may also be advisable to check on the records of your locale every so often to ensure that you are not accumulating a huge pile of fixed penalty notices.