For certain types of motoring offences, the police are under an obligation to serve a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) upon the Registered Keeper of the vehicle and must warn them that the driver of the vehicle may face prosecution.
This crucial requirement is placed upon the prosecution as a result of Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 which states:
“Section 1(c) Within fourteen days of the commission of the offence a notice of the intended prosecution specifying the nature of the alleged offence and the time and place where it is alleged to have been committed, was—
(i)in the case of an offence under section 28 or 29 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (cycling offences), served on him,
(ii)in the case of any other offence, served on him or on the person, if any, registered as the keeper of the vehicle at the time of the commission of the offence.”
A NIP is commonly sent on offences where the police is either not present at the time of the alleged offence or have not stopped the driver of the vehicle because it may have been caught on a speeding camera.
The Verbal Notice of Intended Prosecution
If the driver of the vehicle was stopped by the police for example a person believed to have been speeding is followed and then pulled over by the police, the officer will usually issue a ‘Verbal Notice of Intended Prosecution’. If a verbal NIP has been given at the time of the offence, then the prosecution is no longer required to serve a written notice.
The Registered Keeper
The prosecution is only under an obligation to serve the NIP upon the ‘Registered Keeper’ of the vehicle, not the driver. The registered keeper is the person or company recorded on the V5 logbook of the vehicle as the person responsible for official communications. In certain circumstances the owner and the registered keeper may be the same person however, the registered keeper and the owner could be different.
The vehicle could be on a lease contract or a company car in which case the registered keeper could be recorded as the finance company or an employer.
The vehicle captured committing the offence of say speeding could be a family car which is driven by multiple family members, but it would only have one person named as the registered keeper, the prosecution is only required to write to the registered keeper.
The 14 Day Time Limit
The prosecution must write to the registered keeper with the NIP within 14 days of the alleged offence occurring.
The NIP can be served upon the registered keeper:
- by delivering it to him;
- by addressing it to him and leaving it at his last known address; or
- by sending it by registered post, recorded delivery service or first-class post addressed to him at his last known address.
The notice of intended prosecution is automatically regarded to have been served within the time limit unless it is disputed.
The prosecution is not required to serve a notice within 14 days if, at the time of the offence or immediately after it, an accident occurs owing to the presence on a road of the vehicle in respect of which the offence was committed.
Received the Notice of Intended Prosecution?
Once you have received the NIP, it will usually be accompanied by a ‘Section 172’ request for driver details.
Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 places an obligation upon the registered keeper of the vehicle to complete and name the person driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence.
The request must be completed by the registered keeper on the form provided by the police and must be signed and returned to the police within 28 days. If this request is not complied with, the registered keeper will usually face a prosecution for Failing to Provide Driver Details, which is an offence that attracts 6 penalty points. The registered keeper may not have been the person driving the vehicle at the time of the offence however, not responding with the name of the person driving the vehicle is a separate offence.
Once the person driving the vehicle at the relevant time has been named by the registered keeper (it may well be the same person) that person may then face prosecution for the alleged offence and the prosecution will communicate directly with the person that was identified as the driver.
AGREED FEE DRIVING OFFENCE LAWYERS
Our Agreed Fees for Motoring Offence cases start from;
£1000 + VAT
Providing Incorrect Details
If someone else has been deliberately incorrectly identified as the driver, other than the person driving at the time, then a prosecution for Perverting the Course of Public Justice can be brought against the person that provided the false information. Perverting the course of justice is a very serious criminal offence, and one which can attract life imprisonment. It is therefore crucial that the prosecution is provided with the correct details.
A recent example of this involved Fiona Onasanya who was the MP for Peterborough when she provided the details of someone else, the prosecution investigated the matter and found that the person she had nominated was abroad at the time and Fiona was then prosecuted and convicted for perverting the course of justice and given a 3 month prison sentence.
If you have received a Notice of Intended Prosecution and would like to speak with one of our specialist motoring lawyers about the options available to you, please complete our contact form or call our specialist driving offence solicitors on 03452229955 for a no obligation telephone call.
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