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Legal Advice for Overloading Offences

Since the introduction of the Graduated Fixed Penalty (GFP) Scheme in 2009, most minor overloading offences are dealt with by way of fixed penalty.  However, some of the more serious allegations eg. alleged overloading of 30% maximum permitted weight or where the excess weight is 5 tonnes or more, are still dealt with by a Summons and a Court hearing.

Overloaded vehicles are viewed by the Courts and the Traffic Commissioners as some of the most serious types of offences. If found guilty, it can have serious consequences for your operator’s licence.

What are the penalties for overloading?

Vehicle overweight byPenalty
5% to 10%£100
10% to 15%£200
15% to 30%£300
More than 30%Court summons


Defences to Overloading Offences

The law provides a defence for overloaded vehicles, if it can be shown that:

(a) that at the time when the vehicle was being used on the road –
(i) it was proceeding to a weigh bridge which was the nearest available one to the place where the loading of the vehicle was completed for the purpose of being weighed,
(ii) it was proceeding from a weighbridge to the nearest point at which it was reasonably practicable to reduce the weight to the relevant limit, without causing an obstruction on any road, or (b) in a case where the limit of that weight was not exceeded by more than 5 per cent –
(i) that that limit was not exceeded at the time when the loading of the vehicle was originally completed, and
(ii) that since that time no person has made any addition to the load.

The defences are limited, but as well as those listed above, there is the possibility of achieving an acquittal if it can be established that the prosecution have not met their burden of proof. By this we mean that they have not proven all of the elements of the offence which they are required to prove. To advise you on whether this could provide you with a possible defence to overloading, we will need to discuss the specific circumstances and review the evidence against you.


For free advice, speak to a solicitor on our local rate number 0330 1330 081 or, if you prefer, fill out our Contact Form and we'll call you back: usually the same day and often within the hour. You can also email us here.