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Penalty Charge Notice Law – Everything You Need to Know 2022

penalty-charge-notice-law

For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.

Penalty Charge Notice law dictates what you can and can’t do to fight back against these parking fines. We provide everything you need to know so you can make smart decisions when dealing with a Penalty Charge Notice. 

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat to an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

What is a Penalty Charge Notice?

A Penalty Charge Notice is a fine served by a local council or Transport for London. The fines are issued either because:

  1. The motorist is thought to be guilty of a parking contravention on council land
  2. The motorist is thought to be guilty of a parking offence, such as driving in a bus lane
  3. The motorist hasn’t paid a road toll or congestion charge by the deadline

The law states that a Penalty Charge Notice is a real fine and can be served by councils and some transport groups. They are not the same as private parking fines which the law doesn’t recognise as real fines. Thus, they should be tackled differently. 

How much is a Penalty Charge Notice?

Penalty Charge Notices can range from £50 to £80 in most cases. The exact amount you’ll be charged depends on the seriousness of the contravention and its location. Fines can be on the higher end in London. 

However, the fine must be reduced further if the motorist agrees to pay within two weeks. You’ll usually get 50% off for paying early, which makes these fines considerably cheaper. This may be your best option depending on the circumstances. 

Is a Penalty Charge Notice a criminal offence?

A Penalty Charge Notice won’t result in a criminal offence whether it is served for a parking contravention or a minor driving offence. Nor will you get points on your license for receiving one of these fines. 

How is a Penalty Charge Notice issued?

A Penalty Charge Notice may be issued by a staff member leaving the PCN on your vehicle windscreen or it could be sent to the registered vehicle owner in the post. 

The council or transport group might only see your parking contravention or driving offence on camera so are unable to serve the PCN by leaving it on your vehicle. 

In these instances, they will note your vehicle registration number and ask the DVLA to give them the address of the registered vehicle owner. The council or transport authority will then send the PCN to this address.

What is a regulation 10 Penalty Charge Notice?

As per Penalty Charge Notice law, a Regulation 10 Penalty Charge Notice is when the fine is sent in the post. This may be due to necessity, or it may be done to stop motorists threatening or being abusive to council staff members trying to leave the PCN on the vehicle. 

Overall, it was introduced to keep staff safe but prevent motorists from evading the fine. If you tried to drive away before the PCN was given to you, the law states that the PCN can still be served. 

How long does a Penalty Charge Notice take to arrive?

When a Penalty Charge Notice is sent in the post, it should arrive within 28 days of the parking or driving incident. 

If it arrives after 28 days, you could use this as grounds to appeal and not have to pay the fine. However, there may be cases when you can’t get out of paying because the PCN arrived late, such as process errors from the DVLA that caused the delay. 

Penalty Charge Notice – do you have to pay?

After receiving a Penalty Charge Notice, you usually have 14 days to pay a reduced fine and then a further 14 days to pay the full fine. 

But you don’t have to pay within 28 days in a certain situation. Read on to uncover more!

Can you appeal a Penalty Charge Notice?

Penalty Charge Notice law states that you have a right to appeal within the same timeframe you have to pay. Therefore you have 28 days to make an appeal. The council or Transport for London doesn’t have to accept or make a decision on an appeal which is lodged after 28 days. 

There might be mitigating circumstances where they will accept a late appeal, but this will be judged on a case-by-case basis. 

How do you appeal a PCN?

Your appeal, which might also be called a representation, must be made in writing. This could mean having to write a letter to the council or transport group. Or it could be made in writing via their website. You’ll need your PCN reference number to get started. 

The appeal should state your reason or reasons why you want the PCN to be cancelled. Sometimes having good reasons isn’t enough and you might also need to supply evidence. For example, you might argue that the only payment machine wasn’t working, but it’s best to have a photo or video of it out of order as well. 

What happens if you don’t pay or appeal a PCN?

Penalty Charge Notice law states what will happen if you ignore a Penalty Charge Notice. Not paying or appealing within the 28-day deadline will result in a charge certificate being sent out.

A charge certificate is a formal notice stating that you have missed the deadline to pay, and as a consequence, increases your fine by 50% of its original value. So if your initial PCN was £50 it will now be £75, and if it was £80 it will now be £120. 

You have 14 days to pay the inflated fine once the charge certificate has been issued. But what happens if you also ignore the charge certificate?

Ignoring a charge certificate can result in a court order against you and possibly the use of bailiffs to recover the money. At this point, expensive fees would be added meaning you have to pay even more. 

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat to an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

Got another PCN query?

Further PCN questions and answers can be found in our parking ticket guide. Head there now and read for free if we haven’t answered your question above.

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