What is a Notice Of Intended Prosecution? If I receive one what should I do and is there any way that I can fight this?
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty first and discuss what a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) is. The issuance of a NIP is in accordance with s172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and requires the registered keeper of a vehicle to identify who was driving the vehicle at the time a motoring offence was committed.
An example where the need to identify accurately the driver of a vehicle can best be demonstrated by considering hit and run accidents which result in death. According to Department of Transport Figures in 2008 approximately 3% (110) deaths were caused by hit and run drivers so any successful prosecution is going to hinge on accurate proof of who was driving and when.
Under the Act, if the keeper of the vehicle cannot remember who was in fact driving the vehicle at the time of the offence then the keeper may still be liable to prosecution. So a ‘poor memory’ is not necessarily a defence that will hold any water.
As one can imagine under such a circumstance it would be strongly advised to get a competent and specialist driving offence solicitor.
Additionally it should also be pointed out that a common misconception held by the public is that NIPs are only issued for speeding offences and in particular for speed camera fines. A list of some of the main offences include:
1. Driving without due care and attention.
2. Dangerous driving.
3. Mobile Phone offences
4. Traffic light offences and
This list is by no means exhaustive but should highlight the wide variety of offences that a notice of intended prosecution can cover.
Now that you have an idea of what s172 and of what a notice of intended prosecution is – What can be done about it?
The first logical question you have to ask yourself (and a bit of honesty is required here!) Is how serious is the offence?
Let’s face it a hit and run accident that results in death or serious injury is going to be much more serious than speed camera fines. Additionally if you have been charged with drink driving – then that is a much more serious dilemma. A drink driving charge will be heard before a Magistrates Court and is a criminal offence not a motoring offence and again as I mentioned before in such serious cases a competent solicitor to give you advice is highly desirable.
OK, assuming that you have been issued with a NIP and let us surmise that it is for a speed camera fine one of the first steps is to know that a NIP must be issued and served on the driver or registered keeper within 14 days.
Now before you decide to ‘go it alone’ and assume you have a valid defence – think again! This is where you need to get an expert because if you complete the Notice of Intended Prosecution incorrectly or do nothing with the Notice you may end up with more penalty points and a higher fine that you would have possibly received had you dealt with the Notice of Intended Prosecution correctly in the first place.
Looking at for example a more serious offence such as drink driving, traffic offence solicitors and especially Drink driving solicitors are worth their weight in gold. I’m not suggesting for one minute that you may ‘get off’ some sort of penalty, especially if the evidence is irrefutable but that the potential penalties can to some extent be mitigated and in some cases a good driving offence solicitor may be able to challenge the driving offence successfully in court and have the Magistrates acquit you or force the prosecution to drop a case where the correct drink driving or speeding laws have not been correctly adhered to.
Usually a proper presentation by a legal expert in this field can help your fight, possibly defeat and or mitigate any penalties that may arise from a driving offence and always expert advice from a road traffic solicitor is always advisable.