I have received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) from the police – what do I do now?

Here, Paul Gallagher, Partner, Head of Crime and Regulatory, explains what it means and what you must do to avoid a penalty that could result in you receiving more penalty points and a fine of up to £1,000. 

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 send a NIP to the registered keeper of the vehicle.    

The notice will outline the alleged offence, vehicle details, date, time, and location of the incident.   The NIP must be served upon the registered keeper within 14 days of the incident, as failure to do so could render the NIP invalid, with some exceptions. Occasionally, the user of the car may receive a NIP after 14 days if the vehicle is a lease vehicle and is still registered with the lease company etc. 

The notice requires the registered keeper to nominate either themselves or another driver of the vehicle at the time of the incident. If there is a possibility of a number of users, then all details must be provided. For example, a family pool vehicle that’s used by dad, mum, siblings etc. If you fail to comply within the statutory 28-day period to return the notice, you will be liable to prosecution and receive six penalty points, in addition to a fine of up to £1,000. It’s often the case that this offence exceeds the penalty for the substantive offence such as speeding that can carry three points or more. 

If you have received a NIP and you were not the driver, then you can either complete the NIP and return it in the post, or use the police website identified on the notice to nominate the driver. The latter cannot be used if you are in fact the driver at the time. In that instance the notice must be completed and returned in the post. It’s imperative that you obtain proof of postage and keep a copy of the completed NIP. There have been occasions when drivers have returned notices and the police have not received them. This has then led to prosecutions for failing to provide the information under Section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988. 

We have represented many clients who have been prosecuted under Section 172, either by making representations to the police to discontinue a case, or not guilty verdicts when a trial has taken place. 

A recent case in which our client was acquitted was on the basis that he had returned the NIP, but the police had not received it. He did not have proof of postage. He maintained he had returned the NIP and therefore complied with his obligations under Section 172. The client was prepared to plead guilty to the substantive offence of speeding, but the police would not accept this and proceeded to trial for the Section 172 offence. Our client was acquitted, and a defendant’s costs order (DCO) was made to recover some of his legal costs. This resulted in our client receiving no penalty points at all. 

This can be a complex area of law and we would always advise to seek independent legal advice if you have received a single justice notice (prosecution) for failing to provide information under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. 

We also represent clients who face disqualification as a result of accumulating 12 points or more (totting up). We have successfully argued that clients should not be disqualified from driving. 

Contact us, we are here to help

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