What To Do If You Are Caught Speeding
The Law Of… Responding To A Notice Of Intended Prosecution
What should you do if you are caught speeding by an unmanned camera and receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)? Julie Robertson, Head of Motoring Offences at Simpson Millar, provides a handy guide to the steps you need to take if an NIP lands on your doormat.
If it is alleged that you have been caught speeding by an unmanned speed camera, you will have been served a Notice of Intended Prosecution. The purpose of the NIP is to inform you of the intention to prosecute whoever was driving the vehicle in question at the stated time.
A Notice of Intended Prosecution is always sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle, regardless of whether or not they were the driver when the alleged speeding offence took place.
I Have Been Caught Speeding And Received A Notice Of Intended Prosecution, What Should I Do?
The following 14-point guide explains what you need to be aware of if caught speeding and how you should respond to a Notice of Intended Prosecution:
- The first thing to do is to check that you received the Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days of the alleged speeding offence. It can be argued that an NIP is invalid if you received it outside of this time limit. This only applies if it addressed to you, the registered keeper, and you have not recently changed address or acquired the vehicle.
- If the Notice of Intended Prosecution has been received outside of the 14 day period, you should respond using the provided form, within 28 days of receipt. Your response should be signed and confirm who the driver of the vehicle at the time was. You should also include on the form information that details the date the NIP was received. This will allow you the opportunity to defend the alleged offence, should it go to prosecution, on the basis that you received the Notice out of time.
- If you have received your Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days of the alleged speeding offence, sign and return the provided form within 28 days, including the details of who was driving at the time.
- If you nominate yourself as the driver, you will be offered one of the following:
- A Driver Awareness course – A course you must attend, specific to the alleged charge
- A Fixed Penalty – A fine, which may also carry penalty points
- A court summons – A demand for you to attend Court on a specific date or plead guilty by post.
Which of these penalties you receive will depend upon the severity of the alleged speeding offence.
- If you name somebody else as the driver, they will receive their own NIP, which will require them to confirm the nomination is correct. If asked, you will need to be able to demonstrate to the police that the nominated driver was insured to drive your vehicle, particularly if it is somebody who is not a resident of the UK.
- If you were in the process of selling the vehicle and the alleged offence was committed during a test drive, you will need to show that you were satisfied the driver was insured and that you saw their driving licence. You will also be expected to provide their name and address, a detail you should always insist upon prior to allowing a test drive to avoid falling foul of NIP requirements.
- If you are genuinely unaware of who was driving at the time it is alleged they were caught speeding, you will be expected to name all potential drivers and provide their addresses and dates of birth. You will also need to explain fully why you are unable to nominate a driver and what efforts have been made to narrow the possibilities down. It is important you seek expert legal advice about what a court will expect of you when attempting to determine driver identity. Doing so can enhance the prospects of an acquittal if a case of 'failing to identify the driver' arises.
- If you know you were not in the area at the time the speeding offence was recorded and suspect your vehicle to have been cloned (identical vehicle fitted with false plates), you should report it immediately to the police. Once you have done so, respond to the Notice of Intended Prosecution, quoting your Crime Reference Number, within 28 days and state why you believe your vehicle has been cloned. Also include details of your whereabouts at the time. At this stage, an alibi should be prepared, as you may be required to provide one.
- If your company, or the company you work for, has received the Notice of Intended Prosecution, you must use the records that the company is legally obliged to maintain to identify the driver. In these circumstances, you should only respond to and sign the NIP if you are a Company Secretary or Director.
- By law, you should only complete and sign a Notice of Intended Prosecution that is addressed to you.
- You must not give false details regarding the driver of your vehicle at the time of the alleged speeding offence. Nominating a driver with intent to deceive can lead to a prosecution for perverting the course of justice, a criminal charge that carries a custodial sentence.
- You should keep copies of all the correspondence and documents you send and receive in regards to the Notice of Intended Prosecution. You can obtain free Proof of Postage from the Post Office when responding to the Central Ticket Office.
- Most importantly of all, you should obtain professional and independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity and prior to completing any documentation. That way you will be fully versed in what options are available to you, along with what legal obligations you have as the addressee of the NIP.
- Once you have responded to the NIP you can address whether you wish to challenge or accept the alleged recorded speed. Challenges to speeding offences are highly technical and it is best to instruct a motoring offence lawyer, who will guide you through the best way of defending your case. In the event a high speed is alleged, such an expert will be invaluable for damage limitation purposes so that your chances of avoiding a ban are maximised.
If it is alleged you have been caught speeding, delay no further. Take action and contact Simpson Millar's Motoring Defence team today.