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Have you had a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) pop through the letterbox? You shouldn't just roll over and accept it.

Don't ignore a Notice of Intended Prosecution
A motoring offences solicitor can assist you in several ways, whether you're guilty, or not guilty.

What Is A Notice Of Intended Prosecution?

If the police allege that you have committed a motoring offence, but they didn't caution or warn you at the time of the alleged offence, they MUST send you a Notice of Intended Prosecution, which is a document stating the allegation made against you.

You MUST respond to the NIP within 28 days. If you don't do this, it can lead to you committing the separate motoring offence of failing to identify the driver, which is punishable by a maximum £1000 fine and 6 penalty points on your driving license in the event of a conviction.

Usually, a NIP is sent out because evidence for the offence relies on a camera or evidence from another person, rather than being stopped by the police. Typically, the offences they're given out for include speeding, failing to comply with a sign or traffic light, driving without due care and attention or sometimes using a mobile telephone.

Despite its name, receiving a NIP doesn't mean you're going to be prosecuted. With most minor offences, after returning the NIP, you could be offered a place on an awareness course as an alternative to penalty points of you could receive a conditional offer of a fixed penalty notice. You can choose to pay this and accept the penalty, or you can challenge it.

If the police decide to prosecute you, they will send you a court summons in due course.

What Can I Do About A Notice Of Intended Prosecution?

The laws involving the road are often very technical, and proper procedures must be followed if the state decides to prosecute you. This is one of the situations in which a solicitor who specialises in driving offences can help you.

For example, did you know:
  • The NIP must be posted to the registered keeper within 14 days of the alleged offence, unless there are specific and reasonable delays in establishing who the registered keeper is. In the event that a NIP is received by the registered keeper outside the 14 day period due to, for example, Christmas postal delays - this is an absolute bar to conviction.
  • Even if you weren't the driver, if you receive the NIP, you're legally obliged to respond. If you do not you will be prosecuted for failing to identify the driver.
  • You cannot claim the right of self incrimation as justification for not completing the NIP. This argument will not succeed at Court.
  • The police must lay a Court summons against you to appear in Court within 6 months of the date of the alleged offence.
If you have committed an offence, but there are reasons that potentially explain why you did, a solicitor is able to put forward a 'plea in mitigation' or argue special reasons to avoid endorsement to try to reduce any possible sentence because of the circumstances.

Julie Robertson, Partner and Head of Motoring Offences at Simpson Millar LLP is offering free 20 minute sessions in which she'll be able to evaluate the evidence and give you advice on the options available to you, without any obligation.

When times are busy, you can call Julie directly on her mobile, at 07508 517987, and get some quick advice.

This will be able to clear up many of the questions you may have about how to best deal with an NIP or court summons you've received. After this, you'll be able to make your own decision on how best to proceed.

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