ABOUT THE NOTICE OF INTENDED PROSECUTION

Why have I received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)?  

You may be either the registered owner/keeper, nominated owner/keeper/driver/hirer or a person our investigations have identified as someone who may have information that may lead to the identification of the driver of a vehicle detected exceeding the legal speed limit, contravening a traffic light or other Road Traffic Offence.

I did not receive the NIP within 14 days

We are required to post the initial NIP in sufficient time that ordinarily it would be expected for the Registered Keeper to receive it within 14 days of the alleged offence.  We do not have to prove it was delivered, merely that it was posted.  There is no time restriction on subsequent notices.  In certain circumstances this 14 days can be exceeded, for example if you fail to register the vehicle promptly and enquiries need to be made.

What happens next?

The purpose of the NIP/S172 is to identify who was driving the vehicle at the time of an alleged offence.

Due to the legal time restraints, we reserve the right not to issue a COFP (or a Driver Awareness Course offer) but instead refer the case directly to court. Therefore it is important for you to deal with matters expeditiously to allow the driver the maximum time available to consider all options available to them.

If you are providing details of another person/company, a Notice will be issued in their own name.  If you become aware that your nominee has not received a Notice please contact this office immediately.  Should they subsequently dispute your nomination you may be requested to provide further detail to support your nomination.

If you cannot provide the required information you should still respond to the NIP providing any information, which it is in your power to give in order that we can carry out further investigations.  Any supporting evidence and/or actions you have taken to identify the driver would also assist our enquiries.

If you were the driver, and circumstances permit, this matter may be dealt with by way of a Driver Awareness Training / Driver Diversion Course or Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (COFP) as an alternative to a court hearing.

DO NOT SEND YOUR DRIVING LICENCE AT THIS STAGE

Should you attend a driving course you will need to show your driving licence prior to the course commencing.  Should the matter be dealt with by Conditional Offer Fixed Penalty, a form will be sent to you explaining that your licence and payment has to be sent to Her Majesty’s Court Service (HMCS) Fixed Penalty Office.

You need not accept the offer of a course or a fixed penalty notice and may elect to have the allegation dealt with at the Magistrates Court.

If you have more than 8 points on your licence at the date of the alleged offence (received in the last 3 years), if you were detected at a very high speed or if you do not hold a current driving licence, then you will not be able to accept a COFP.  In these cases the matter can only be dealt with by the courts.

 Are my human rights infringed if I sign and/or respond to this notice?

The Section 172 form provided with the Notice of Intended Prosecution is a self serving statement, as such it must be signed by the person providing the information, either in the format provided or similar written format.  An unsigned admission or nomination is deemed to be a failure to provide the information, and will be treated as such.

Cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights have concluded that the information provided does not infringe Human Rights legislation (incrimination of self or others) Also, a caution is not required under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 prior to returning the information requested.

Due to the legal time restraints, we reserve the right not to issue a COFP (or a Driver Awareness Course offer) but instead refer the case directly to court. Therefore it is important for you to deal with matters expeditiously to allow the driver the maximum time available to consider all options available to them.

ABOUT THE DRIVER AND VEHICLE

What happens if I ignore the S172 document or I am unable to identify the driver?

Failure to supply the details of the driver may render you liable for prosecution under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This carries a maximum fine of £1,000 and six penalty points, which through totting up could also result in disqualification.  As the keeper of the vehicle the courts will require you to demonstrate “due diligence” as to why you could not identify the driver.  If required we can provide images of the alleged offence, which may or may not assist you to recall the incident or identify the driver.

What if the driver is no longer in the country?

In this instance you may be requested to provide proof that the person exists, was in the country at the time of the offence and that the driver has returned abroad or has gone abroad for an indefinite period. You may also be requested to prove that the person was insured to drive the vehicle at the time of the offence.  If you are unable to provide this information you may still be prosecuted for failure to supply the details of the driver or for permitting the use of the vehicle with no insurance.

I don’t believe that this was my vehicle.  What should I do?

Please contact us so that we can check the details of your vehicle against the offending vehicle.  If there is a discrepancy, appropriate action will be taken and you will be advised accordingly.  If there is no discrepancy then you may be required to provide written proof confirming the whereabouts of your vehicle on the date in question.

I sold this vehicle prior to the offence.  What do I need to do?

If you have informed the DVLA of the change of ownership before the alleged offence no further action will be taken against you.  It would however assist our enquiries if you could complete the form with details of when and to whom you sold the vehicle, sign and return it to this office.  If you have not already informed the DVLA and the date/time of change of ownership is disputed you may be required to provide proof accordingly.

ABOUT YOUR DRIVING LICENCE

What happens if I have a Non GB driving licence?

Subject to changes in legislation from 1 April 2009, all drivers regardless of where their driving licence was issued are eligible for a Conditional Offer Fixed Penalty (COFP) as an alternative to prosecution.  EU Licence holders who have already been issued with a GB Counterpart will need to surrender the counterpart for endorsement.  EU licence holders who do not hold a GB counterpart and all other foreign licence holders can now have a “Driver Record” created at the DVLA (Swansea) to record endorsements on.  When the record has been created the DVLA will notify the driver of the record number.  The COFP explains the information that needs to be supplied to create the Driver Record.

If you are eligible for Driver Awareness Training the type of driving licence you hold does not affect your eligibility to attend a course.

What if my name/address details have changed but my DVLA licence hasn’t been updated yet?

This would not affect your eligibility for a Driver Awareness / Driver Diversion Course, however should you decide to accept the £60 fine and 3 penalty points, you will be required to send your payment and your paper driving licence (plus photocard where issued) to the Fixed Penalty Office (FPO), within 28 days.  Where applicable, complete the section on your licence for change of name/address and signature.  The FPO will then forward your licence to DVLA to be updated.  If the section is not completed the licence will be returned to you and you will have to contact the DVLA to obtain a replacement driving licence.  (Note: it is an offence not to update the DVLA of a change of address)

I have lost / mislaid my driving licence or it has been stolen.  What should I do?

Please complete the Notice and return it to this office with a written explanation, we will then be able to advise how much time can be allowed for the licence to be replaced.  However, to accept the COFP or if the matter is referred to court, you will need to produce a current driving licence (the card and paper part).  We would therefore recommend that you apply to the DVLA for a replacement / duplicate driving licence as soon as possible.  (Forms for this can be found at any main Post Office, or you may be able to apply online at www.dvla.gov.uk)

How long will the points stay on my licence?

Penalty points are valid for three years from the date of the offence but cannot be removed from your licence until four years have elapsed.  After this, you can apply to the DVLA for a replacement licence.

I am going out of the country and need to take my licence with me.  What should I do?

You need to contact and inform us of this immediately so that we can consider if an extension to the 28 days can be made.