Deal with the NIP, or it may bite
If you have received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) then the police have evidence that you (or the person driving the vehicle at the time) were travelling in excess of the speed limit.
The offence of speeding is becoming increasingly difficult to defend and previous avenues of potential defences are being tightened. Arguments such as non-calibration of speed cameras or user error are being covered off in police witness statements, in a belt and braces approach to increase the security of a conviction.
Are there time limits associated with NIPs?
The registered keeper of the vehicle must receive a NIP at the registered address for that vehicle within 14 days of the alleged offence. If they do not, then the police cannot bring a prosecution and the driver will escape a speeding conviction. Again, it is becoming more unlikely that a speeding offence can be challenged on the basis that the registered keeper did not receive the NIP within the 14 day statutory period, as systems move towards automated processing of NIPs to ensure this statutory deadline is not missed.
If you are driving a company car or hire vehicle and receive a NIP outside the 14 day statutory period, it is likely that the registered keeper of that car (such as your employer and hire company) has responded to the initial NIP by nominating you as the driver of that vehicle, at the time of the speeding offence. Although you as the driver haven’t received the NIP within 14 days, it only has to be received by the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days, so you must still respond to the NIP within the specified timeframe.
What is a section 172 demand?
It is of paramount importance that you read any NIP you receive for a speeding offence carefully and respond accordingly. Enclosed with the NIP will often be a demand under section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) for the registered keeper of the vehicle to supply the details of who was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. This is a separate matter to the alleged offence of speeding under the NIP. Failure to respond to a section 172 demand can result in a further, separate prosecution for failing to provide details of the driver.
Although a NIP must be received within 14 days of the alleged offence, this statutory time limit does not apply to a section 172 demand. In the instance that the NIP did not arrive at the registered keeper’s address within 14 days of the alleged offence and you do not respond to the section 172 demand either, you would escape prosecution for speeding but may still be prosecuted for failing to provide details of the driver.
In the event that you do not respond to the NIP when it has been received within 14 days of the alleged offence, or the section 172 demand, you could find yourself on the end of a prosecution for speeding and failing to provide driver’s details.
What are the penalties?
The penalty for speeding will depend on the speed you were driving at the time of the alleged offence. Penalties include points being endorsed on your licence, a fine up to a maximum of £1,000 and possible disqualification.
The penalty for failing to provide details of the driver will be 6 points being endorsed on your licence and a maximum fine of £1,000.
Make sure you deal with any NIP and section 172 within the time frame stated on the NIP, or you may find yourself on the receiving end of 9 points and a hefty fine. If you already have 3 or more points on your licence, then you will be facing a minimum 6 month ban from driving under the totter principle for accruing 12 or more penalty points on your licence.
What should I do next?
If you have received a NIP, a section 172 demand or are being prosecuted for both speeding and failing to provide driver’s details, contact our team of Regulatory Solicitors for assistance. They have experience in advising and representing drivers who find themselves in this position and driving offences generally.