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Is a Fixed Penalty Notice a Criminal Offence?

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Just got a Fixed Penalty Notice and don’t know if you should pay it or fight it? You’ve come to the right place. Every month, more than 130,000 people visit our website to learn about fines and parking tickets. .

In this easy-to-understand article, we will talk about:

  • What a Fixed Penalty Notice is.
  • If you should pay your Fixed Penalty Notice.
  • How to fight a Fixed Penalty Notice.
  • Times when you might not have to pay.
  • What can happen if you don’t pay the notice.

It’s common to feel worried and confused about Fixed Penalty Notices. In fact, a group of MPs and Peers say FPNs, which can cost up to £10,000, are hard to understand and might be unfair.1

Some of us have even experienced these challenges as well. But don’t worry; we’re here to help you understand and deal with your Fixed Penalty Notice.

Let’s dive in.

Does a Fixed Penalty Notice give you a criminal record?

A Fixed Penalty Notice doesn’t give you a criminal record.

Once you accept the fine and pay, the matter will be over with and won’t appear on your record.

So you won’t have to worry about an FPN criminal record issue.

Is a motoring offence a criminal conviction?

Some motoring offences can result in a criminal conviction if the case goes to court and the judge rules against you.

However, you can sometimes avoid receiving a criminal record by taking action to prevent the matter from going to court

If you do receive a criminal conviction due to a motoring offence, it will generally become ‘spent’ after five years.

This means it will no longer appear on your record after five years.†

Does a Fixed Penalty Notice show on an enhanced DBS check?

A Fixed Penalty Notice could possibly show up on an enhanced DBS check.

A standard or basic DBS check will not reveal any previous Fixed Penalty Notices because these checks only show criminal convictions, which a Fixed Penalty Notice is not.

The enhanced check goes into more detail and may show a Fixed Penalty Notice as well

Do I have to disclose a Fixed Penalty Notice?

You will have to disclose previous Fixed Penalty Notices when asked.

It’s rather uncommon for potential employers to ask about previous Fixed Penalty Notices, but you might be asked by insurance providers.

 So, if you’re worried and asking, does a penalty notice show on a DBS check? The answer is no it won’t on a standard or basic check.

Also, the rules on a fixed penalty notice disclosure Scotland are the same. It is not a criminal offence unless you’ve been found guilty by the courts.

People who get served a Fixed Penalty Notice for speeding might be offered a speed awareness course to avoid points on their license.

How long do the police have to send a Fixed Penalty Notice?

The police have six months from the date of the incident to serve a Fixed Penalty Notice.

However, they must issue a Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days of the incident. 

How much is a Fixed Penalty Notice?

If the motorist accepts guilt, they will have to pay either a £50, £100, £200 or £300 fine depending on the type of motorist offence.

For example, driving without insurance carries a heavier fine than failing to give way when supposed to.†

On top of the financial costs of the Fixed Penalty Notice, the motorist may also have to accept points on their license.

However, some Fixed Penalty Notices don’t add points to the driver’s license.

If points are added, the minimum that can be added is two and the most is eleven. These points can stay on the driver’s license for up to 11 years.†

A Fixed Penalty Notice that carries a fine only is called a non-endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice.

Whereas a Fixed Penalty Notice that does carry points is called an endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice

What’s the impact on car insurance premiums?

Your car insurance premium will likely go up once you inform your insurer you’ve got penalty points on your licence.

That’s if you get an endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice.

Can you appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice?

There isn’t a formal process to appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice.

If you don’t admit guilt, the case will be decided in court.

You might be able to convince a judge that you shouldn’t have been served the Fixed Penalty Notice – but this is rare.

In most cases that go to court, the judge orders the motorist to pay an even heavier fine than they otherwise would have paid by accepting guilt.

Moreover, they may have to pay court costs. 

What are the consequences for repeat offenders?

Repeat offenders risk having their driving licences taken away from them. Especially if they get FPNs for speeding or other serious motoring offences.

On top of this, they will have to pay a lot more for car insurance when they get their licences back.

How do you pay a Fixed Penalty Notice?

If you accept the Fixed Penalty Notice, you must make a full payment within 28 days.

You can pay via the UK Government website using a debit or credit card.

You cannot pay by cash anymore.

You’ll need some details to make the payment, including:

  1. Notice number
  2. Offence code
  3. Date of offence
  4. Your email address
  5. Your telephone number

What happens if you don’t pay a Fixed Penalty Notice?

If you don’t agree with the Fixed Penalty Notice, the matter will go to court.

Here, it is likely that you’ll be charged a greater fine. But it’s not impossible to win in court and get the Fixed Penalty Notice cancelled. 

If you agree that you’re guilty but fail to pay within the 28-day deadline, the court will increase your fine by 50%.

So a £100 fine would become a £150 fine.

If you don’t respond to the newly increased fine, the courts can issue an arrest warrant against you.†This can be cost-effective because points on your license can increase your insurance premiums.†


Is a Fixed Penalty Notice a criminal offence? (Quick recap)

A Fixed Penalty Notice isn’t a criminal offence and therefore won’t give you a criminal record.

The penalty also won’t show up on a basic DBS check.

But it might appear on an enhanced DBS check because these checks reveal more than just criminal convictions.

So, in short, a fixed penalty notice DBS check won’t reveal the offence unless an advanced check is carried out.


  1. UK Parliament — FPN


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Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.