Receiving through the post a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) is not the best surprise to receive through your letter box, but ignore it at your peril.
Offences such as speeding, or contravening a red light, normally result in an NIP being sent to your home address and it will include the time, date and place where the alleged offence is judged to have occurred, as well as the nature of the offence itself.
An NIP must be sent to the registered keeper or the driver of the vehicle within 14 days of the incident and then you have 28 days to respond, or face conviction.
The penalty for failing to provide the relevant details to the police is steep: six penalty points (most minor motoring offences attract fewer than six points) and a fine of up to £1,000.
A driver can also be disqualified by a magistrate.
If you identify another person as the driver then they will be sent an NIP; however, there is no 14-day time limit when this occurs.
On occasion you may not be able to identify who was driving the vehicle (you cannot just say someone else was driving as this can be seen as attempting to pervert the course of justice and could lead to a jail sentence) and in this situation it is important that you seek professional advice.
A few years ago there was an interesting case in which a driver was attempting to sell her scooter privately and she allowed a potential male buyer to take it out for a test ride.
She did not take his details and during his ride he broke a 30mph speed limit.
When the subsequent NIP arrived, she had no way of identifying the man who was driving her vehicle.
But the police did not accept her story and she was convicted by magistrates.
However, an appeal to the high court led to her conviction being quashed after the judges accepted her argument that she did not know and could not, by reasonable diligence, have ascertained who the driver was.
If you are not sure how to respond to an NIP, please speak to one of our specialist team. It may be possible to challenge the offence and we can advise you of your options.
Contact our motoring offence solicitors for advice on 0800 046 3066