If you're a driver and have received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), you might want to know what it means and how it affects your driving record. The most important thing to do is to remain calm and not to panic.
In this article, we will explore what a NIP is, why you might have received one and how to respond to it correctly so you don't land yourself in hot water. Let's get going!
What is a notice of intended prosecution?
A Notice of Intended Prosecution is basically a formal heads-up from the police about a possible traffic violation involving your car. It is sent to you - the registered owner of a vehicle, even if you weren’t the one driving at the time of the incident.
This document tells you what you’re being accused of and gives you a chance to say who was really driving when it happened.
Reasons why you might receive a notice of intended prosecution
Getting a Notice of Intended Prosecution usually happens when you've committed a traffic offence.
This could be for:
Running a red light
Careless or dangerous driving
Failing to stop after an accident
Driving under the influence
Driving without insurance
Overloading a vehicle
Using a mobile phone while driving
Driving without due care and attention
In what time frame should you receive a NIP?
You can expect to receive a NIP within 14 days of the offence. However, there are situations where you might not receive the NIP right away so don't just assume you've got away with it if it hasn't landed on your doorstep in this time frame.
How long do you have to respond to a NIP?
You have 28 days to respond to a Notice of Intended Prosecution, which starts from the day you receive it.
You can respond by admitting outright if you are guilty and agree to receive the penalty. If you weren't the one driving when the alleged offence occurred, you need to inform the authorities about the actual driver. Failing to provide the driver's details may lead to penalties for not sharing the necessary information.
You do have the right to request more information to help you make an informed decision. You can also dispute your case and defend it in court if needed.
Make sure you check the specific details and instructions on the NIP you receive. The processes can vary depending on the nature of the driving offence and the area in which it is issued. Always act quickly and make sure your response is within the 28-day time frame to avoid any added legal consequences.
What is the penalty for not complying with a NIP?
Not complying with an NIP might result in penalty points on your driving licence. There's even a chance of facing a fine of up to £1000. For more serious offences, you could even be disqualified from driving.
It's worth mentioning that failing to comply with an NIP and receiving a conviction can have detrimental effects on both your personal and professional life. It may even lead to the unfortunate outcome of getting yourself a criminal record – not something anyone would want!
What happens after you have responded to a NIP?
The police or relevant authority will review your response and decide whether to proceed with prosecution. If there is insufficient evidence or it's not in the public interest, they may take no further action.
For minor offences, you could receive a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, or if prosecution continues, a court summons. At court, both sides present their cases, and a decision is made. Penalties may include fines, penalty points, or disqualification from driving, depending on the offence.
Can you contest a NIP?
Yes, you can contest a NIP. Contesting a NIP means you are disputing the alleged offence so before you do this, make sure you have the right evidence to do so.
If you've received an NIP and think there might be a mistake, you can ask for extra details and evidence about the offence. It's often called an "evidence pack" or "disclosure." The police have to provide this information to you.
It's smart to properly access this evidence against you. Look at the photos and statements and try to find any weak or unclear aspects that support you.
As always, when you are contesting something, an expert solicitor can and will assist you in considering your options, and guide you through the legal process. They will help to gather your evidence, pinpoint the weak spots in the case, and help to prepare the arguments to present in court.
If you are summoned to court, you'll have the prosecution (usually the police) and your defence presenting their cases. The court will then carefully evaluate the evidence and arguments from both sides before reaching a decision.
Received a Notice of Intended Prosecution and need help?
At Lawhive, our team of expert solicitors are on hand to help you with a Notice of Intended Prosecution or any other driving offences which you believe to be false.
To get started working with one of our solicitors, get in touch with us today.