This blog serves to answer the question “How Can I Challenge A Durham PCN?” Your formal representation to the Durham County Council can be focused on two different viewpoints of the incident, the first one states that the traffic violation didn’t happen and the other one mentions authentic mitigating circumstances for your actions. You need to spend more time on writing down a PCN challenge which communicates the reasons for your driving actions which were caused by unforeseeable circumstances and a cause and effect relationship needs to be established in this case.

How Can I Challenge A Durham PCN?

You can challenge your Durham County Council PCN by sending in a formal representation in writing or submitting a PCN challenge on the Durham County Council website.

If you prefer to submit a formal representation to your Durham PCN on the council website it is essential for you to maintain a folder on your computer with photos or video footage of your daily road journeys, especially of your turns at road junctions (and the position of your vehicle in a parking space). 

It is essential to collect and preserve video clips of your road trips in Durham County Council for using them as evidence in case you are charged with a Penalty Charge Notice. Without this evidence, you cannot claim that a traffic contravention never occurred or try to explain to the council that you (were aware of and had) attempted to prevent the traffic violation at the last moment. These videos can be filmed by a friend or family member travelling with you.

The camera’s focus in the recording should be on the front of your vehicle and on your actions to steer or apply the brakes to the car at a road junction. The audio part of the recording can also prove your active efforts to steer your vehicle in the correct direction or to explain any reasons why you drove in the wrong direction, such as to avoid a collision with an oncoming vehicle. You can simply use the video clip from the date and location of your traffic violation to support your PCN challenge by uploading it with your formal representation.

If you are sending in a written PCN challenge on your Notice to Owner document, you should take snapshots from your recorded video by using a video editing software and print them out to send them via mail.

In many cases, PCNs are not enforceable and you may be able to win your case and avoid having to pay your fine.

You could begin the process by speaking to an online solicitor for as little as £5. 

What is a Penalty Charge Notice?

A Penalty Charge Notice is a monetary penalty issued to drivers or motorists for committing certain traffic contraventions including violating Parking, Bus Lane, and Moving Traffic restrictions. A PCN is issued for failing to follow Parking zone, bus lane enforcement, and moving traffic restrictions mentioned in the Road Traffic Act 1984 and the Traffic Management Act 2004.

A penalty charge notice can be handed to you by a Civil Enforcement Officer or dispatched to your (DVLA) residential address by post. Traffic contraventions are observed by CCTV cameras and Civil Enforcement Officers before a violation is detected and the vehicle is charged with a PCN.

A PCN might also be issued for failing to pay road charges on time. You have 28 days to decide how and if you would like to challenge your Penalty Charge Notice. After 28 days if you have neither paid nor challenged your PCN, you will be sent a charge certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

If you don’t challenge a PCN, you should pay the fine within 28 days, otherwise, its amount will increase by 50%. A £70 PCN will be worth £105 if you pay it in the 14 days after receiving your charge certificate.

Can I Only Challenge A Durham PCN on the official website?

Yes, you can only challenge a Durham PCN on the Durham County Council official website.

You can submit a formal representation to your Durham PCN by filling in the online formal representation form on the Durham County Council website.

You need to brainstorm reasons to challenge a Durham PCN from the day of the incident and list them down in word processing software or on paper. It is essential to have some authentic evidence to attach with your PCN appeal in the form of video footage of the traffic violation, medical certificates explaining your mitigating circumstances or pay and display tickets. 

The evidence must be matched with the grounds for your appeal before describing the incident from your point of view. Your rough formal representation can be edited for clarity multiple times before it is ready to attach to your online appeal to the Durham County Council. You need to visit the Durham County Council website to submit a formal representation to your PCN. You have to open this webpage to enter your PCN number and your Vehicle Registration Number. You need to click on “Search”  to view your PCN details before filling in the online appeals form.

It is essential to upload authentic evidence material with your PCN challenge to describe your mitigating circumstances to Durham County Council and for explaining your point of view of the events which took place at the traffic violation scene. The text of your appeal must state the relevant contravention code on your PCN and explain how you attempted to avoid the error (supported by photos or video footage).

Once you have proofread your appeal to eliminate any reasons for your challenge which might convey a disregard for traffic contravention codes enforced in Durham County Council (by mixing up the contraventions) or reasons which involve forgetfulness to justify your actions, you can submit the formal representation.

How much is the PCN fine for each of the 3 kinds of PCNs served in the Durham County Council?

A Parking PCN in the Durham County Council is served for violating higher or lower-level parking restrictions. You have to pay £70 for committing a higher-level parking contravention and £50 for a lower-level parking contravention. If you pay the parking fine within 14 days, you will just be paying £35 or £25 as a 50% discount is applicable to your payment.

For failing to comply with a bus lane contravention code or a moving traffic restriction in Durham County Council, you will be charged a £70 Penalty Charge Notice. The 50% early payment discount reduces both these types of PCN fines to £35 if a bus lane PCN is paid within 21 days and a moving traffic PCN is paid within 14 days.

How Can I Pay my Durham PCN?

You can pay your Durham PCN on the Durham County Council’s online payments page or by calling on the Durham County Council’s automated payments hotline.

If you prefer to make your PCN fine payment online, you can visit the Durham County Council website. After opening this webpage you need to enter your PCN number and vehicle registration number and click on “Search”. Your PCN details will be displayed and you can also view CCTV evidence relating to your case before paying your PCN.

For paying your PCN you will be asked for your payment card details. The Durham County Council accepts Mastercard, Visa Card, Maestro Card and Visa Electron card for PCN fine payments. Diners card and American Express card are not accepted for making PCN payments. Once you have entered the credit or debit card information you can proceed to paying your fine. It must be noted that paying your Durham PCN eliminates any possibility for challenging the Penalty Charge Notice.

Your Durham PCN can also be paid by calling on the telephone payments service. You have to dial 0330 0884 785 and enter your PCN number by using a * sign for the letters in the code. After this you will have to enter your payment card details. This automated payments service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You should wait to receive a confirmation code before ending your call.

What will happen if I don’t pay my Durham gov PCN within the 28-day limit?

You should not ignore traffic contraventions or the Penalty Charge Notices resulting from them or cultivate a careless attitude towards driving in Durham County Council. Per your driving license rules, you are bound to abide by Parking, Bus Lane, and Moving Traffic contravention codes in Durham County Council.

If you neither pay your Durham gov PCN within 28 days nor decide to appeal against it, you will be sent a charge certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The charge certificate increases your PCN fine by 50%, which means you will be paying £105 (or £75) now. You should pay the charge certificate within 14 days as it cannot be appealed and ignoring the charge certificate may result in the filing of a court order (for recovery of debts) against you by the Durham County Council.

You will be sent a “Notice of Debt Registration” and a witness certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if you don’t pay the charge certificate amount within 14 days. The unpaid amount will be treated as a debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre at the Northampton County Court.

The court order for debt recovery enforces that the charge certificate amount must be paid in full within 21 days or the county court will have to use additional powers to recover the money from your possession which means employing Enforcement Agents to (contact you or) visit your personal premises.

Can I Dispute A Durham PCN with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if the Durham County Council dismisses my appeal?

Yes, you can dispute the decision of the Durham County Council in your “Notice of Rejection of Representations” with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal website requires you to enter details given on your Notice of Rejection of Representations, after opening this webpage.

You can watch this instructional video here to learn about your challenge process. The video clearly explains how to use the online service offered by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. On the Traffic Penalty Tribunal webpage, you will first have to select the type of PCN you were served by the Durham County Council (shown on the bottom part of the page).

After clicking on your specific type of Penalty Charge Notice, you should select “England” (Outside London). In the window which opens up, you should click on the orange box which reads “If you don’t agree with the PCN, you can make representations against it”.

After viewing the instructions on the following page, you need to click on “Start your appeal here” at the bottom of the webpage You will then be required to enter your Vehicle Registration Number, the reference number from the “Notice of Rejection” letter from the Durham County Council, and your PCN number for which the appeal was rejected on this page.

You can use the online service to challenge multiple “Notices of Rejection” simultaneously. You will require a valid email address to create an account on the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website. You have to upload a copy of your “Notice of Rejection of Representations” letter to your application by using the Traffic Penalty Tribunal’s online portal.

You can upload evidence such as video clips of your traffic violation scenes (taken from inside your vehicle), medical certificates from a certified General Practitioner, maps of the area showing the exact distance your vehicle travelled inside a no-entry zone, and scanned copies of “pay and display” tickets. You should construct a strong appeals case to communicate your mitigating circumstances or to deliver your assertion that the traffic violation never occurred.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal should be able to ascertain the legitimacy of your situation by viewing evidence material uploaded to the PCN appeals system.

Your appeal of the “Notice of Rejection of Representations” should be submitted to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal within 28 days of receiving your Notification of Rejection from the Durham County Council. You must avail yourself of this chance of a free and independent hearing of your case. 

You will be able to contact the Traffic Penalty Tribunal adjudicator during the formulation of your appeal. The result of your appeal will be communicated to you within 14-28 days of submitting your representation. If the adjudicator decides the case in your favour, the PCN will be cancelled by the Durham County Council.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “How Can I Challenge A Durham PCN?” Your Durham PCN challenge needs to be supported by authentic evidence which shows that the contravention didn’t occur or explains your mitigating circumstances that led you to breach the traffic restriction (these circumstances apply to some contravention codes only).  You need to film video clips of your vehicle’s road journeys in Durham County council to have some evidence for a future PCN challenge.