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Notice Of Intended Prosecution: A Comprehensive Guide
If your vehicle is suspected of being involved with a road traffic offence, you may receive a notice of intended prosecution. Opening an envelope to discover this notice is likely to fill you with dread, and you’ll probably be wondering what you should do next.
In this article, we’ll explain exactly what a notice of intended prosecution is, the potential consequences of the notice and how you should proceed.
Receiving a notice of intended prosecution might send you into a panic. However, the most important thing is to stay calm and deal with the situation in hand.
If you’re unsure of the best way to respond to a notice of prosecution, we’d always recommend seeking expert legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in motoring offences. They will work with you to find the right way forward for your individual case.
Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about receiving a notice of intended prosecution.
A notice of intended prosecution, sometimes referred to as a NIP, provides formal notice to a possible defendant that they may be prosecuted for a driving offence. This notice is issued by the police soon after the alleged offence has been committed.
The purpose of a NIP is to give the driver or registered keeper of the vehicle sufficient notice that prosecution is being considered for the offence. At this point, the offence should still be fresh in the driver’s mind, and the registered keeper should be able to remember who was driving the vehicle on the date and time in question.
The NIP is usually sent through the post, although it can be given verbally by police if you are stopped. However, a notice of intended prosecution must be served to the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the alleged offence.
If the details of the driver at the time of the alleged offence are not known, the notice of intended prosecution will contain a section 172 request to provide the driver’s details. Filling in this section 172 request does not mean that you are admitting to the alleged driving offence, only that you are admitting to driving the vehicle at the time.
Receiving a notice of intended prosecution does not mean that you will definitely face prosecution, or that you will need to attend court. However, it does act as a warning that you may be prosecuted for the alleged offence.
A notice of intended prosecution can be served for a range of driving offences, ranging from speeding to careless driving. Motoring offences which may lead to a NIP being served include:
The notice of intended prosecution will provide details of the alleged offence, including the type of offence for which prosecution is being considered, the vehicle involved, the location of the alleged offence and the date and time that the offence was committed.
If you are stopped by the police, a notice of intended prosecution can be given verbally. However, if the vehicle is not stopped at the time of the alleged offence, the NIP will be served by post to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
A section 172 notice will also accompany the NIP. This places a legal obligation on the registered keeper to supply details of the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. If you weren’t driving the car at this time, you will need to name the driver on this form and they will then be sent a new notice of intended prosecution in their own name.
A notice of intended prosecution is sent to the registered address of the vehicle according to DLVA records. These records are based upon the address recorded on the registration certificate for the vehicle.
Every driver has a legal obligation to inform the DVLA if they move address – your log book must be updated whenever you move house. Therefore, the NIP is considered legally served if it has been sent to the address recorded by the DVLA.
You will not usually be able to contest a failure to respond to a section 172 request as a result of forgetting to update your address details after moving house.
A notice of intended prosecution must be received by the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days. However, there are a few situations in which you may not receive a NIP through the post within 14 days.
If you receive a notice of intended prosecution after the 14-day window has elapsed, it’s worth seeking legal advice from a specialist motoring offences solicitor. They will be able to advise you on whether it could be possible for the case to be overturned as a result of the delay.
It’s easy to panic if you receive a notice of intended prosecution. However, we have expert road traffic offence solicitors on hand to offer legal advice and talk you through the procedure.
First of all, you’ll need to respond to the section 172 request to identify the driver. Admitting to driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence does not mean that you are admitting to committing the offence, simply that you were driving the vehicle.
You’ll need to provide the requested information within 28 days of receiving the notice of intended prosecution. Failing to do so could result in prosecution for failure to furnish driver information, which often carries a more severe penalty than the original offence. Make sure that you get proof of postage and keep a copy of your response.
If you respond to the notice of intended prosecution to confirm that someone else was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence, that person will then receive a new NIP addressed to them.
However, if you return the notice of intended prosecution to confirm that you were the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged motoring offence, there are a few different courses of action which could be taken by either the police or CPS.
The registered keeper of a vehicle has a legal duty to know who is driving their vehicle at any point in time. If you don’t know who was driving your car at the time of an alleged offence, you’ll need to take advice from a solicitor who specialises in dealing with road traffic offences.
If you have any information about who was driving your vehicle, we’d always advise that you provide as much information as possible to the police, such as the names and addresses of potential drivers. Demonstrating cooperation could help you to avoid a charge for failure to furnish driver information.
Working with an expert motoring offences solicitor will help to minimise your chances of prosecution, as any correspondence sent to police can be used as evidence in future court proceedings.
We’d never recommend ignoring a notice of intended prosecution. You have a legal duty to respond to a section 172 request for driver details, and failure to provide these details within 28 days could result in prosecution for failure to furnish information.
An MS90 conviction, also known as failure to furnish information, typically results in six penalty points being endorsed, along with a fine. This is usually a more severe penalty than the original offence, so it’s always best to respond to the NIP.
If you’re unsure of how to respond to a notice of intended prosecution, it’s best to seek legal advice from a specialist motoring offence solicitor, rather than ignoring the section 172 request.
Whether or not you were driving the vehicle in question at the time of the alleged offence, you have a legal obligation to respond to any notice of intended prosecution that is addressed to you. It’s important to remember that responding isn’t an admission of guilt and you’ll be able to defend the allegation at a later date if required.
If you have been wrongly accused of a road traffic offence, you’ll need to seek legal advice from an experienced motoring offence solicitor. Caddick Davies can talk you through the options available to you, based on your individual case.
When you receive a notice of intended prosecution, you’ll probably be wondering if it means you’ll be summoned to court. Most of the time, minor offences are dealt with through a fixed penalty (including a penalty point endorsement and a fine) or a driver education course such as a speed awareness course.
If you’re offered a driver education course or a fixed penalty and you don’t dispute the offence, you can accept these offers without the need to go to court.
If you disagree with the charge, you’ll need to respond to the fixed penalty by requesting a court hearing to defend the allegation. In this case, it’s advisable to consult an experienced motoring offence solicitor for expert legal advice.
In the case of more serious offences, the case may be referred to the courts. If this happens, you will receive paperwork from the courts which asks you to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Again, we’d always advise you to seek legal advice from a specialist road traffic offence solicitor if you receive paperwork from the courts.
A notice of intended prosecution is issued by the police. This informs you that the police are considering prosecution for an alleged motoring offence. Although this doesn’t always mean that you’ll be prosecuted, the police are legally required to inform a potential defendant that prosecution is being considered within 14 days of an alleged offence.
Evidence will be required before a driver can be prosecuted for speeding. This evidence can include a handheld speed camera, a speed camera fitted to a police car or a fixed speed camera. A notice of intended prosecution will not be sent unless there is evidence that the vehicle in question exceeded the speed limit.
If you’ve received a notice of intended prosecution, you may be concerned about the potential implications.
If you were the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence, you may be concerned about the potential consequences of admitting that you were driving the vehicle in question. On the other hand, if you weren’t the driver of the vehicle, you may be worried about being prosecuted for failure to furnish driver information.
At Caddick Davies, we’d always recommend seeking advice from a specialist motoring offence solicitor. Whether you’re looking to defend an allegation of a road traffic offence or protect yourself from being charged with failure to furnish driver information, we are here to help.
If you’re looking for expert legal advice regarding your notice of intended prosecution, contact us today for a free consultation.
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