Penalty notice


A penalty notice is defined by the Home Office as a one-off penalty for a violation. For motoring offences the penalty is normally referred to as a fixed penalty notice (FPN), whereas a penalty notice usually refers to disorder violations.

In fact the two are based in the same procedure and operate in a nearly identical manner. When one receives a penalty notice one is actually being made a conditional offer. The offer states that the alleged offender has violated the law in a specific way and that if the offender pays the specified amount by the specified time, the matter will be dropped and no more action will be needed. If the alleged offender does not accept the offer, than a court appearance will be required and a much higher fine will become a possibility.

If you have been issued a penalty notice it is important that you do not ignore it. If you intend to reject the offer and are comfortable with attending court, you should note that ignoring the offer could be deemed as acceptance. This depends on the wording of the penalty notice. If you believe that you had indeed committed the offence, but you had mitigating circumstances for doing so, you should probably see a legal professional in order to ensure that you have a valid defence. The nature of a penalty notice is to provide you with the lowest legal penalty available, and so only very few defences will convince a court to fine you below that level.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on a penalty notice, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local specialist solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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