I have received a Notice of Fine and Penalty points and knew nothing about the proceedings – what do I do now?

Here, Michael McKeown, Legal Advisor in our Crime Department, explains what it means and what to do if you receive correspondence from the Court that you have no knowledge about. 

When a road traffic offence has been committed such as:   

  • Speeding  
  • Contravening a traffic light signal  
  • Obstructing the highway  
  • Or a collision  

The police will initially send a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to the registered keeper or nominated driver. If no response is given, then the police will refer the matter under the Single Justice Notice (SJN) for prosecution.   

We have had many enquiries from clients who say that “out of the blue” they have received notifications from the Court of a fine and penalty points being imposed in their absence. It can often be the case in this instance that the original NIP or SJN has not been received by the client. Accordingly, the client was not aware of the proceedings and has been convicted in their absence. 

It is important to seek immediate legal advice to assess what action you can take when this occurs. The driver may have originally committed a speeding offence which attracts less than six penalty points. A conviction for failing to provide information carries six penalty points. If the driver was unaware of the initial proceedings, then they had no knowledge of the request to provide information or deal with the SJN. In these circumstances the client may be able to reopen the case and have the conviction/points quashed and the proceedings recommenced. This can be important as reopening the case could result in the driver pleading guilty to the substantive offence (speeding) for example, and therefore reducing the penalty points/fine that has been imposed in their absence. 

If you are advised to reopen the case, then you will need to make a statutory declaration under Section 142 of the Magistrates Court Act 1980. This will require you to attend Court to make the statutory declaration so the case can be re-opened. The usual grounds are that the client was never aware of the original proceedings etc. 

We would recommend you obtain legal advice as you may have grounds to reopen the case. We can provide a free 30-minute initial call to assess your needs. 

If you need any support or advice relating to this issue, please contact our expert team who will be happy to help. 

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