Brown envelopes on the doormat are rarely a cause for celebration, particularly when they contain a message from the police that they have evidence of your vehicle exceeding the speed limit.

There are a number of considerations when you are the recipient of such a message. For one thing, s it within the required time limits?

Some road traffic prosecutions require a NIP or Notice of Intended Prosecution. Applicable offences include:

  1. Speeding
  2. Careless and dangerous driving
  3. Disobeying certain traffic and police signals

The NIP must be given within 14 days of the possibility of prosecution or the offence itself. It can also be given orally at the scene. Although the effect of the NIP is merely to inform you that you consideration is being given to a prosecution  (as well as, usually ,to ask you to confirm who was driving the vehicle while it’s fresh in your mind), if it is not delivered correctly it may affect whether the prosecution can proceed any further.

Of course, whether or you receive the NIP in time to respond to it and inform the police who was driving the vehicle will depend on a number of factors, not least whether or your vehicle is correctly registered to you. Over the years I have encountered many happy people who have entered the office waving an out of time NIP that has reached them many months after the event, only to have to have to inform them that this isn’t quite the escape hatch it seems. If it was a hire car, the ‘clock stops’ once it reaches the hire company and similarly if the NIP had gone to a previously registered address where you no longer live,  or to a work address, it will be regarded as complete, even though you, as the driver, did not receive it in time.  Under section 1(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, the requirements of that section are deemed to have been met unless and until the contrary is proved.

Nevertheless, if you are in doubt it is essential to seek advice from a specialist road traffic law solicitor. There are many cases of this provision being challenged in court and the area, as with most road traffic law, continues to develop.

Road traffic law is a complex and changeable area of practice. It requires specific expertise.

At Major Family Law, we have solicitors with a wealth of experience in all aspects of road traffic law, who can explain your options in a no nonsense, straight forward, understanding manner. We can provide representation from the police station to the end of any court proceedings, if the case progresses that far.

Call Major Family Law at the first sign of trouble on 01661 82 45 82 and one of our experienced road traffic law solicitors will be on hand to help.

Image by j via Flickr (Creative Commons)