How to Check Car Penalty Online – Questions Answered!

Fight back against Fixed Penalty Notices with JustAnswer. Get legal guidance now!
How to appeal a ticket
Avatar photo
Janine Marsh
Avatar photo

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.

Learn more
- Financial Expert
Updated 29 November 2023
Featured in...
check car penalty online

Have you ever wondered how to check car penalty online and if it’s even possible? If so, you’re in the right place because I explain how to do just that here!

Read on for more info about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) and how to deal with them so it doesn’t cost you a fortune!

First, what is a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)?

You’d get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for committing some sort of parking violation or traffic offence. Local councils, the police and Transport Authority could issue the fine in person or by post.

A PCN should not be confused with a Parking Charge Notice, because a penalty charge is covered by UK law. A parking charge is not because it’s a civil matter that falls under contractual law.

So, don’t ignore a PCN when you get one as it could get expensive in more ways than one!

How to appeal and win

If you want to avoid paying a Penalty Charge Notice, then you’ll need an airtight appeal.

The best way to perfect your appeal is getting a little advice from a Solicitor. I’d 100% recommend spending a fiver to get a trial of JustAnswer.

You can explain your situation in their chat and they’ll connect you with a Solicitor who can advise you and give you the best chance to win your appeal.

Click here to get the trial offer with JustAnswer.

Can you do a car penalty check online?

No. You can’t do a car penalty check online to see if you’ve got an outstanding PCN. The issuer sends you a Charge Notice in the post if the fine is not left on your vehicle.

It’s worth noting that if the contravention is caught on camera, the issuer must send you the notice within 14 days of the offence. Should the notice arrive later than that, you may have grounds to challenge the fine.

However, there are exceptions when the DVLA doesn’t respond to a request from the issuer quickly.

What’s the deadline for paying a Penalty Charge Notice?

You have 28 days to pay the PCN once you get the fine whether it’s left on your car or it drops through your post box. However, when you pay the PCN within two weeks, the issuer lets you pay a discounted amount.

So, if the original fine is £130, you’d only pay £65 when you pay within 14 days!

That said if you don’t pay within the 28-day deadline, the fine increases by 50%!

Can you beat your PCN?

In many cases, Penalty Charge Notices aren’t actually enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but you could pay £5 to chat with an online Solicitor.

They’ll give you support in crafting the best appeal possible and give you the best chance of not paying your Penalty Charge Notice.

You can try it below.


What’s the 14-day rule mean?

An issuer must serve the PCN within 14 days of an alleged offence. If it takes longer than 14 days, you could have grounds to contest the fine. But not always. 

For example, if the DVLA is slow to respond when an issuer asks for details, the fine could arrive later.

To clarify, an issuer retrieves the registered keeper’s details from the DVLA and the 14-day rule is supposed to cover this. But sometimes the DVLA takes longer to respond!

Can you just ignore a PCN?

No. Things escalate when you ignore a PCN. In fact, you’d end up paying a lot more when you don’t pay on time. Bailiffs could be instructed to recover the ‘debt’ which could be a lot more than the original ‘fine’.

Your goods could be seized and sold at auction amongst other things!

How to do a car penalty check online

You can’t do a car penalty check online. But if you have the reference number, you can view the following online.

What you can do online Yes/No
Evidence of the offence Yes
Pay the Penalty Charge Notice Yes
Challenge the PCN Yes
Check a PCN online No

How to check if you have a parking ticket

If you lose a PCN from a local council or other authority, you should contact them sooner rather than later. The issuer needs the following information to retrieve the PCN’s details:

  • Your vehicle registration number
  • Location and date when the PCN was issued (if you know them)

Can you pay a PCN online?

Most authorities have dedicated payment pages on their websites which allow you to pay the fine. But you must provide the following when you pay:

  • The penalty Charge reference number found on the notice you received
  • Vehicle registration number (VRN)
  • Payment method

Some authorities let you pay a PCN over the phone and details should be on the notice you got.

Can you challenge a car penalty online?

You could challenge a car penalty online when you feel it’s wrong or unjust. But make sure you follow the issuer’s appeal process. Also, you’d need to have a solid reason for disputing the PCN.

Check out the sort of evidence you’d need to provide below.

How to Check Car Penalty Online

Source: MoneySavingExpert

Once your appeal is lodged, the issuer can’t chase you for payment. It can take a few weeks for a response to come through. Also when you challenge a PCN within two weeks, and the issuer rejects it, you’d get to pay a reduced fine.

There are three parts of an appeal process against a PCN:

  • First, you have the right to file an informal appeal with the issuer
  • Second, you file a formal appeal (representation) to the issuer
  • Third, you could escalate your appeal to an independent appeals tribunal

What happens if the issuer rejects a PCN appeal?

You’ll have two choices if the issuer rejects your PCN appeal. First, you could pay it within the deadline but you’d pay the full amount.

Second, you can escalate your appeal to an independent tribunal. The tribunal’s decision is final and both sides must respect it. So, if the tribunal sides with you, the issuer must cancel the PCN.

However, if the tribunal rejects your appeal, you’d have no choice but to pay the PCN in full.

Thanks for reading my post on how to check car penalties online. I hope the information helps you deal with an unwanted and maybe unmerited PCN!

Don’t submit your appeal yet.

The best way to beat a Penalty Charge Notice is to get professional advice.

For a £5 trial, you can have Solicitors from JustAnswer look at your case and help make your appeal airtight.

The authors
Avatar photo
My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.
Appeal your PCN
How to successfully beat a Penalty Charge Notice

You can increase your chance of not paying a Penalty Charge Notice by getting legal advice. 

JustAnswer have a deal where a professional Solicitor will help you craft the perfect appeal.

And it’s just £5 to try!

I'm online now
Got a question?

Want to appeal for your fine but don’t know how?

I’m online for a free chat to answer your questions now.