When a motorist commits an offence where the identity of the driver is not immediately known, a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) is sent out to the registered keeper of the vehicle. The most common instance of this is when a vehicle is flashed by a speed camera.
Section 172(2) and (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states:
Where the driver of a vehicle is alleged to be guilty of an offence to which this section applies
(a) the person keeping the vehicle shall give such information as to the identity of the driver as he may be required to give by or on behalf of a chief officer of police [or the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police Force], and
(b) any other person shall if required as stated above give any information which it is in his power to give and may lead to identification of the driver.
(3)Subject to the following provisions, a person who fails to comply with a requirement under subsection (2) above shall be guilty of an offence.
The notice places upon the registered keeper a legal obligation to name the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. The registered keeper can confirm that he himself was the driver or nominate someone else who may have been driving at the time. A nominated driver would then receive their own NIP to complete.
The offence of failing to furnish information arises when someone upon whom the obligation is placed fails to provide information that is expected to be in their power to give. Basically, if you’re expected to know who was driving and you fail to provide information then you can be charged with failing to furnish information under section 172(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
A motorist receives penalty points for failing to furnish information but it is more serious than most speeding offences which can attract fewer points. This is to act as a deterrent to those who consider ignoring an NIP on purpose to try and secure a lesser penalty. In addition to the points there is also a fine of up to £1000.00. If you are already on 6 or more points you will face disqualification as a totter and we would urge you to visit our totting page to find out more about the options available to you.
If the registered keeper is a company as opposed to a human driver then they can face a significant financial penalty.
There are some circumstances where a motorist may genuinely not know who was driving the vehicle at the time of an alleged offence. This is often the situation with couples who car-share during a journey and have no way of remembering who was driving at a particular time of day almost 2 weeks previously. If the relevant parties took all reasonable steps to try and identify the driver and the court accept that it just wasn’t possible then the motorists would have demonstrated that they exercised “reasonable diligence” in trying to ascertain who the driver was and be found not guilty.
The law that governs this allegation is complex and also allows for a number of technical defences particularly if you never actually received the original notice. There are also other potential options for sentencing and we would urge you to contact us to discuss this further.
The costs of representation will largely depend upon whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty.
Your first court date will be when you must attend and confirm whether you are pleading “guilty” or “not guilty”.
If you plead guilty to the charge then in most cases only one hearing is required and we can agree a fixed fee. If you plead not guilty, then it may be several months before your trial date and the fees incurred will be influenced by:
For more detail about the fee structure and payment options available please visit our dedicated funding page here or contact us on 020 7923 4020 to discuss your case in more detail.