Notice of Intended Prosecutions – ‘NIP’
If you are stopped at the roadside, you will not receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution and s.172 request for driver information within 14 days of the offence. The officer should inform you of their intention to prosecute you for the offence. As part of this, the officer should ask you for your full driver details.
However, if you are stopped at the roadside and the alleged speed is such that the matter cannot be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice, then a Single Justice Procedure Notice should be sent to you through the post within 6 months from the date of the alleged offence. This is because the officer will have ‘laid the information’ in respect of the offence.
If you were NOT stopped at the roadside then you should receive an NIP within 14 days of the alleged offence. This arises when your vehicle will have been ‘flashed’ by a speed camera for example.
The NIP will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle and the recipient will be requested to confirm the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. Upon receipt of the NIP, please remember that if you are nominating somebody else then the nominee will receive their own NIP (addressed to them) in the post after you have nominated them.
Section 172 Notice – Request for driver details
The Section 172 Notice accompanies the NIP. The importance of responding in time cannot be stressed enough.
For example, failing to respond in time with the information with regard to a speeding offence which would attract three penalty points, could result in you being the recipient of six penalty points as a consequence of this failure to reply. You will not get the points for the speeding offence as well.
Upon completing the s.172 Notice (request to confirm the identity of the driver), if you confirm that you were the driver then you are simply doing this and NOT admitting the offence. You have simply confirmed that you were driving at the time and date detailed within the NIP. If it was not you driving at the time of the offence and you know who was driving then you cannot avoid a conviction by a failure to complete the s.172 Notice.
Should you not respond, then you could be charged with an additional offence of Failing to Provide Driver Information – see below.
Once you have returned the NIP you are then likely to receive a conditional offer of a fixed penalty. This will depend upon the speed involved. It is at this point that you can accept the offer after which you must pay the appropriate fine or book the recommended driver awareness course. If you dispute the alleged offence then you should not accept the conditional offer. By accepting a conditional offer, you are effectively pleading guilty to the offence. If you have 9 + penalty points on your licence you cannot accept a fixed penalty, you will have been sent the offer in error.
Failure to identify the driver
The registered keeper (or any other person) is under a legal obligation to identify the driver of their vehicle if the vehicle is alleged to have committed an offence (e.g. speeding) and they are asked by the police. If you do not identify the driver then you will likely be summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for an offence of “failing to identify the driver”.
If you do not know who the driver is, then it will be a defence if you are able to show that you did not know who the driver was and you have exercised all reasonable diligence to identify the driver.
This means that you will have to show firstly that you did not know who the driver was and secondly that you have taken all reasonable steps to work out who it was.
This will usually mean asking the police for photographic evidence, looking at the location of the offence, the time, speaking to all of the possible drivers and generally doing all that you can to work out who it was.
If you find yourself faced with a request from the police and are unable to identify the driver you should write to the police making sure you can prove delivery, explaining the difficulties that you are encountering and if there are a number of possible drivers, providing the names and addresses of these people.
If you are subsequently prosecuted for failing to provide driver information, this letter will provide valuable evidence that you have acted reasonably and done all that you can
Failure to identify driver penalty
Failing to identify the driver carries 6 penalty points or an immediate ban, and a fine of up to £1,000.
However, if handled correctly, you have a very good chance of winning your case. Notices requiring you to identify a driver or disclose driver details are sent out by the Central Ticket Office. This office is staffed by civilians, not police officers, and such notices are mass produced by computer. This means that staff from the Central Ticket Office often misunderstand and misapply the law, and there is often a margin for error.
If you have been charged with failing to identify a driver, or failing to provide driver details, there are several ways that the case can be defended.
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To be convicted of an offence of speeding, the Police and Prosecution must prove each of these elements beyond reasonable doubt.
- the driver’s identity
- that they were driving a motor vehicle
- they were driving in a public place or on a public road
- That they were at the time exceeding the speed limit
We will be happy to discuss your case with you as there may be one or more defences available to you in respect of your case once we have given consideration to the facts of the case, such as –
- Factual – you were not speeding
- Expired time limits i.e. Notice of intended prosecution and summons
- Signage – The speed limit was not identifiable
- Speed detection devices – was it approved, operating correctly and operated correctly?
In all speeding cases the magistrates have a discretion not to endorse penalty points for the offence if they are satisfied that there were “special reasons” in connection with the offence.
For instance if you were driving at excess speed owing to an emergency, subject to the facts, it may be argued that penalty points should not be endorsed. There may be other circumstances that lead to you speeding and we will be happy to discuss your case with you and to advise if the explanation would be considered a special reason.
Contact us for a free initial telephone advice session with an experienced motor solicitor on 0151 480 5777 or fill out the contact form and we will get back to you.