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Photographic Evidence – Notice of Intended Prosecution
If you have received a Notice of intended prosecution for a driving offence but aren’t sure it was you that was driving, you can request photographic evidence from the Police before nominating a driver. It is important to note that the Police have no legal obligation to provide this, and if they don’t, you are still under a duty to respond within the relevant time period.
You must respond to a notice of intended prosecution and/or a request for drivers’ information within the required 28-day period specified on the notice, even if you are not sure you were the driver or don’t recognise the vehicle in question. Failing to respond in time could result in prosecution for the office of ‘failing to provide drivers information’.
At Caddick Davies, our leading team of motoring offence solicitors have a reputation for success when it comes to defending motorists charged with driving offences. We can provide valuable advice and assistance from the second you receive a notice of intended prosecution and help you to take the right steps for the most successful outcome possible. We work with clients all over the UK and are rated in the top 20 law firms on TrustPilot.
Read on for more information about the processes involved when you receive a notice of intended prosecution, requesting photographic evidence, and how it can be used in relation to nominating a driver in connection to alleged motoring offences.
A notice of intended prosecution is issued by the police under Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. It is a notice that informs an individual that the police are considering prosecution for an alleged motoring offence connected to a specific vehicle. Although, that does not always mean that you will be prosecuted.
This notice is usually sent combined with a request for drivers’ information. A request for drivers’ information is provided for by Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and requires the registered keeper to respond to that notice, nominating the driver of the vehicle.
The type of photographic evidence that can be used depends on the specific offence and how it was detected but some common examples include; speed cameras, red-light cameras, and CCTV footage.
Speed cameras capture images of the offending vehicle, often including its registration plate, as it passes the camera at a speed above the legal limit. Red-light cameras, as the name suggests, capture images of vehicles that fail to stop at a red light.
Here are some examples:
In all cases, the photographic evidence used to confirm the identity of the driver must be clear and accurate. If there is any doubt about the identity of the driver, further investigation may be necessary, and the case may be referred to court.
The notice of intended prosecution will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle. This will be who the vehicle is registered with the DVLA as being the owner of the vehicle. The notice will be sent to the recorded address for the owner of that vehicle. It is therefore important the registered keepers current address is up to date. You can update your address using the vehicle’s logbook (V5C).
In accordance with Section 1(1)(c) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 a notice of intended prosecution and/or request for drivers’ information must be received by the registered keeper within 14 days of the alleged offence.
The NIP will provide details of the alleged offence, including the date, time and location, and will also inform you of your rights and what to do next. It will usually sent by post to the registered keeper of the vehicle or to the driver unless:
If the above exceptions do not apply and you have received a notice of intended prosecution outside of the 14 days then it is recommended that you seek legal advice. You may be able to have the matter dropped or may have a valid defence to the charge if you did not receive the notice within this time period.
If you receive a notice of intended prosecution and/or request for drivers information you will be required to respond within 28 days of the notice being sent. In some cases, if you do not respond within 28 days then the police may send you a reminder allowing a further period of time to respond. If you have received the notice late and realise that the 28 days has expired it is worth contacting the police immediately to ask for an extension.
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 is important to remember that responding is not an admission of guilt and you will be able to defend the allegation at a later date if required.
If you nominate yourself as the driver for a speeding offence, you may be able to defend the charge in court. You will need to resile from the admission that you made and provide an explanation as to why you nominated yourself initially.
If you intentionally nominated yourself to prevent another individual being charged however then you face the risk of being charged with perverting the course of justice. Therefore, this defence may only be available to you if you made a genuine mistake.
If you nominate yourself as a driver of a vehicle for an offence such as careless driving or dangerous, you may have done so because you were driving at that date and time, but you do not agree that any such offence has been committed – please contact us if you are in this position and we will be able to advise if you have a defence available to the offence that you have been charged with.
If you have received a notice and you do not know who the driver was then you need to ensure that you exercise ‘reasonable diligence’ in trying to ascertain who the driver was.
If it is your vehicle and numerous individuals have access to that vehicle then that may involve discussing in depth with those individuals who could have been driving that day, checking your diary or checking a driver’s log if you keep one.
If you have exercised ‘reasonable diligence’ to identify the driver then you may have a defence available to you under Section 172(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 but you will need to prove on the ‘balance of probabilities’ (i.e., more likely than not) that reasonable diligence had been exercised.
If you receive a notice you can ask the police for photographic evidence if you believe that this will help you ascertain who the driver was. For example, a photograph is usually taken when a speed camera is activated and you may want to see that photograph to try and determine who was driving.
If you do not know who the driver was and you would like to see photographic evidence then you need to act on this immediately, to avoid not responding within the 28-day time period.
Remember though, the police are under no legal obligation to provide this evidence to you but if you explain that you need the evidence to ascertain who the driver was, then they may be more inclined to provide this to you in order to assist.
If you have completed the request for driver information then there is nothing further that you need to do. If you nominate yourself as the driver then you will either receive a fixed penalty notice from the police or if the offence is more serious, the matter will be issued with court proceedings within 6 months from the date of the offence. The police will usually send a fixed penalty notice a few weeks after the nomination is received, but there is no deadline for them to issue the penalty.
If you did respond to the notice and you have been charged with an offence of failing to provide drivers information, then you may be able to defend the charge on that very basis. You will need to give evidence in court and provide as much information as you can.
We always recommend keeping a copy of proof of postage of the notice to ensure that you have evidence that the notice was responded to. This can later be used in court as evidence. It may also be possible for a third party (e.g., a member of your household, family member or friend) to confirm that you responded by giving witness evidence in court.
A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) is typically sent to drivers who have committed certain motoring offences in the UK. Some common offences that may result in an NIP include:
It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and other motoring offences may also result in an NIP being issued. If you receive an NIP, it is important to read it carefully and take the appropriate action, which may include accepting a fixed penalty notice or attending court to contest the allegation.
Under Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 one of the below must occur in order for an individual to be charged with an offence:
If you are stopped at the roadside for a motoring offence then the police should issue the driver with a verbal notice of intended prosecution. As the driver has been identified at the roadside, there is no requirement to send a written notice to the registered keeper and request for the driver’s identity.
However, if the driver was not stopped at the roadside – either as it was not possible to stop the driver or if the driver was detected by a camera – then a written notice of intended prosecution will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
If you fail to respond to the notice within 28 days then this could result in prosecution for an offence of failing to provide drivers information under Section 172(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
This will result in an MS90 conviction. The penalty for such an offence is:
You may be able to defend such a charge on one of the below grounds:
If you did not receive the notice, then you may also have a valid defence to the charge. This defence however is only available when you did not receive the notice through no fault of your own. There may be certain instances when you did not receive the notice for the following reasons:
Or quite simply, you did not receive the notice and there is no explanation as to why. You would be able to defend the notice pursuant to Section 172(7)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 on the grounds that it was not ‘reasonably practicable’ for you to respond, as you did not receive the notice.
If you failed to update your address with the DVLA when you moved house, then this defence would not be available to you. Or if you were away from the property for a significant period of time and did not have a system in place to have access to your post.
If you responded to the notice outside of the 28-day time limit then you may be able to defend the charge on the basis that you provided the information as soon as it was practicable to give it pursuant to Section 172(7)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
You would need to provide an explanation as to why the nomination was sent late and there are a number of valid reasons including;
If you can provide a reasonable explanation as to the delay, then you may be able to establish such a defence.
The police do not need photographic evidence to charge you with an offence, but they will need witness evidence in order to charge you with an offence.
It is not a requirement that the offence was captured by way of video or photographic evidence. A person can be charged with an offence if a police officer or civilian witnessed the alleged offence occur. Should you wish to challenge the offence, then you would need to go to court and reject any statements of that individual.
For example, if you have received a notice for an offence of using a mobile phone whilst driving there may not be any video or photographic evidence that you were using your phone and you may have been witnessed by a police officer. This evidence is enough to convict an individual of an offence unless you can rebut their allegations and be found credible in court.
In order for the court to convict you, they would need to be satisfied having heard the evidence of all witnesses, that the offence has been committed. This would involve you and the witnesses giving verbal evidence in court.If you have no criminal convictions (or no recent convictions), then that will add to your credibility in court and your evidence will hold more weight.
The use of technology such as speed cameras, red-light cameras, and CCTV footage has made it easier for law enforcement agencies to detect and prosecute traffic violations, and as a result photographic evidence plays a crucial role in the process of Notice of Intended Prosecution for driving offences.
Photographic evidence can provide a clear and objective record of the alleged offence and help to identify the person who committed the offence, which is particularly useful to drivers who don’t believe they were driving at the time of the alleged offence.
Regardless of whether you were driving or not, you must respond to a notice of intended prosecution and/or a request for drivers’ information within the required 28-day period specified on the notice.
At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we have a team of specialist motor defence lawyers that specialise in representing motorists at risk of a disqualification or a large number of penalty points. From the simplest to the most complex of cases, we are here to help. We start every enquiry with an informal discussion to get a clear understanding of your circumstances and are here to answer any questions that you may have in confidence.
For efficient and effective legal advice for motoring offences, please get in touch to discuss your case with our friendly team today.
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