Graduated Fixed Penalty and Deposit Scheme
Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) Enforcement Officers can offer fixed penalties for certain driver and vehicle related offences. Depending on the nature of the offence, drivers found to be non-compliant with legislative requirements may be offered a fixed penalty instead of prosecution in court.
Fixed penalty offences
Fixed penalties may be issued at the roadside for a wide range of offences such as: driving longer than the requisite hours permitted; mechanical defects on vehicles and trailers; and overloading, all of which endanger road safety. Fixed penalties for driver’s hours and overweight vehicles are graduated and range from £30 to £200 depending on the seriousness of the offence.
Penalties offered for freight and bus related offences include:
- mechanical defects
- driver's hours and record keeping
- unpaid HGV Road User Levy
Penalties offered for taxi related offences include:
- mechanical defects
- failing to wear a taxi driver's badge
- failing to display taxi plates
- no taxi roof sign
Non UK drivers who commit offences in Northern Ireland will be required to pay an immediate financial penalty deposit (‘deposit’), either equal to the fixed penalty amount, or a set figure of £300 per offence as a court financial deposit (‘court deposit’), if the offence is of a nature that it cannot be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty.
Failure to pay a deposit will result in the vehicle being immobilised and recovered until payment is made. In such cases, significant additional charges including: an immobilisation release fee of £80; up to £350 recovery charge; and up to £35 per day storage charge, will apply. All charges must be paid in full before the vehicle can be released.
Offences that attract penalty points
Depending on the nature of the offence, drivers found to be non-compliant with legislative requirements may have their licence endorsed with penalty points as part of a fixed penalty. In cases where an offender has committed an offence that will take them over the mandatory limit of penalty points (where they may be disqualified from driving) a fixed penalty cannot be offered. In these cases offenders will be prosecuted in court.
If an offence is endorsable, drivers should expect between three and six points to be awarded for an offence.
Offenders from outside the UK who commit endorsable offences within the UK will have a driving record created within the UK and any penalty points accrued will be endorsed on that record. Offenders breaching the mandatory limit of penalty points will be disqualified from driving in the UK.
UK offenders have 21 days to pay a penalty by cheque, postal order or debit / credit card.
Offenders from outside the UK will have to pay an immediate fixed penalty deposit or court deposit at the roadside.
Payment of a fixed penalty is made to the Fixed Penalty Office, Laganside Courts, Belfast. The Fixed Penalty Office is located within Laganside Courts Complex and is open on a Monday to Friday, from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.
Fixed penalty appeals
The penalties given at the side of the road are non-negotiable. If a UK offender chooses not to pay the penalty, they have 21 days to request to have their case heard in court. Non UK drivers must pay the fixed penalty deposit at the roadside but the driver has the same right to have the case heard in court and if found ‘not guilty’, any deposit(s) would be refunded.
You should contact the Fixed Penalty Office, Laganside Courts (details above), if you:
- have sent a payment and have not received a receipt
- require advice on whether your payment has been received and accepted
- have received a Court Summons and want to know why it has been sent to you
Submitting your licence
In cases where an endorsable offence has been committed (UK driver), driving licences (photographic and paper counterpart) must be submitted to the Police Station indicated on the fixed penalty ticket within fourteen days of the offence.
Your licence will be endorsed and returned to the address provided and you should allow approximately four to six weeks for this process to be completed.
If you have not received your licence back after this period of time you should contact the Fixed Penalty Office.