Penalties for breaking the law

Time for penalties and how to stay legal

Notch up six points within two years of passing your test and you’ll be banned from driving. This 24-month span is called the probationary period, and it applies to anyone gaining a new licence, regardless of age or experience. Get points on your licence and your insurance will go up, so don’t do any of these things or you’ll pay the price…

What can I get penalty points for doing?

These are some of the most common penalties that road users get hit with:

  • Run a red light – Three points, £100 fine.
  • Speeding – At least three points. Serious speeding offenders can face a fine of up to £2500.
  • Drink or drug driving – This offence leads to an obligatory ban, jail for up to six months and an unlimited fine. The second offence within ten years means a driving ban of at least three years.
  • Fail to stop at a zebra crossing – Most pedestrian crossing offences are dealt with by a fixed penalty notice, with three points and a £100 fine, but the penalty could be up to £1000.
  • Defective tyres – If they’re flat, bald or damaged, you can get a £2500 fine and three points for each faulty tyre.
  • Not in proper control – Includes eating, smoking, drinking or being otherwise distracted: three points, a fine of at least £100, and possibly a ban.


  • Using a hand-held mobile phone – Six points plus a £200 fine. Put up a fight in court and lose and you could be fined £1,000. You may also be banned.
  • Failing to stop after an accident – Cause personal injury, and you must give your details, then report the incident to the police. Otherwise, you face 5-10 points and a hefty fine. You could be banned and spend as long as six months in prison.
  • Dangerous driving – If convicted of dangerous driving by a crown court, you could face an unlimited fine and/or two years in jail.
  • No insurance – At the very least, a £300 fine and six points.
  • Driving while banned – If caught driving while disqualified you can be jailed for up to six months, fined an unlimited amount, and you will almost certainly have the length of the ban extended.