If you have been issued with a fixed penalty notice, McSporrans can help. The authorities are increasingly using financial penalties including 'on the spot fines' as an alternative to prosecution to deal with low-level crime. These are known as 'direct measures' and allow the police and Procurator Fiscal to issue fines directly, without the need for Court proceedings. If a fine is issued by the police, it is known as a 'fixed penalty notice'. If a fine is issued by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, it is known as a 'Fiscal Fine'.

Appealing Fixed Penalty Notices Edinburgh, Scotland

There are a number of offences which may cause the police to issue you a fixed penalty notice. These include:

Breach of the Peace
• Vandalism
• 'Malicious Mischief' – the deliberate damaging of another person's property
• Being drunk and incapable in a public place
• Being drunk in charge of a child in public
• Drinking alcohol in public (if there is a local bylaw preventing you from doing so)
• Urinating in public
• Causing annoyance or disturbance to others (e.g. by playing music)
• Refusing to leave a pub, club or other licensed premises if asked to do so.
• Anti-social behaviour in such premises

Fixed Penalty Notices were created by the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004. This Act gave the police the power to give out fines 'on the spot' to those engaging in the above forms of anti-social behaviour. Fixed Penalty Notices are £50 and can be issued to anyone aged 16 or over.

How long do I have to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice?

If you have been issued with a fixed penalty notice, you have 28 days to either:

• Pay the fine, or;
• Ask for a court hearing

If you think that you have been issued with a fixed penalty unfairly, you should contact us immediately. If you intend to contest the fixed penalty notice, you MUST get in touch with the authority who has issued the penalty notice and let them know that you refuse the fine and intend to fight it.

Once your refusal has been communicated to the police, a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal. If the Procurator Fiscal decides that the case against you should proceed, you may be cited to appear in court. If this happens, you will have the opportunity to challenge the allegation against you.

It is vital you communicate your intention to refuse the FPN to the authority. If you do not, the fine will be automatically increased to £75. At this point, the fine will be registered with the Scottish Court Services for collection. If you still do not pay, you may be cited to appear at court, a deduction may be made from your state benefits or your wages may be 'arrested' – this means that a proportion is deducted at source to pay the fine.

If I Pay the Fixed Penalty, Does it Count as a Conviction?

It's important to remember that a fixed penalty notice is not a criminal conviction. FPNs show up only on enhanced disclosures as 'non-conviction disposals'. These may cause problems for those who are subject to an enhanced disclosure.

Fixed Penalty Notices for Traffic Offences

Fixed Penalty Notices are commonly issued where there is photographic evidence of the offence. This is often the case in speeding offences, failing to comply with 'yellow box' junctions or failing to comply with traffic signals.

Normally, a fixed penalty notice is an offer of 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. For more serious offences (driving without insurance, for instance) the penalty may be as high as 6 points and a £300 fine.

The benefit of accepting such an offer, if there is one, is that it avoids the necessity of having to attend court which may involve time off work or some other inconvenience. Whilst McSporrans would never recommend simply paying up if you believe you have a strong case, this option may be attractive for some.

However, it should be noted that if you accept a fixed penalty, there are no means of negotiating the penalty or trying to obtain a more lenient punishment or to have the penalty reduced. If you accept the punishment, then this is final – there is no mechanism for appealing this so you should consider your options carefully.

If you have been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) it is important that you take legal advice right away. If you take no action, there may be serious consequences.

As well as police fines, there are 'Fiscal Fines' which are available for lesser offences. There is no public guidance to what amounts to a lesser offence – it is entirely within the discretion of the local Procurator Fiscal. The level of fines are: £50, £75, £100, £150, £200, £250 or £300. If you accept a Fiscal Fine, there will be no court proceedings. If you refuse the Fiscal Fine (and thus deny the allegation) then the Procurator Fiscal will more than likely prosecute you, meaning you will receive a formal citation or Complaint which will call in Court. In those circumstances, you will have the opportunity to enter a plea of Not Guilty. Such a plea would require the Procurator Fiscal to prove the case against you beyond reasonable doubt by leading evidence at trial.

Like a fixed penalty notice, a fixed penalty is not a criminal conviction. They are, however, recorded and may be disclosed to the court for a period of two years.

Fixed penalties are also offered as an alternative to prosecution for road traffic offences of a less serious nature. Unlike fixed penalties for other offences, those issued for road traffic offences are only registered when the recipient accepts the fine. If the fixed penalty is accepted (and paid), then no further action will be taken by the authorities. If the offence carries penalty points, these will be added to your licence.

Such fines must be paid in full. You cannot pay them in instalments, although they can be paid online. They must be paid within 28 days. If you choose not to pay, the Procurator Fiscal has six months from the date of the offence in which to prosecute you. Otherwise the prosecution will be time barred. If you have not been prosecuted within six months, then the case is at an end.

If you have 9 points on your licence and you are reported to the Procurator Fiscal for an offence which attracts penalty points, you cannot accept a fixed penalty. If this is the case, then your case will be referred back to the police or the Procurator Fiscal.. At this point, you will be prosecuted. If this is the case, contact us immediately.

Contact our Fixed Penalty Solicitors in Edinburgh today

Call us today on 0131 557 9151 (24hrs) for a free, no obligation discussion. Alternatively, request a callback or fill out our online enquiry form and we will be straight back in touch with you.

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