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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS


request for information, and then after that has been done to take the matter to Court, enter a not guilty plea, and then before the Court have a legal argument that the NIP was defective/was not served so the driver cannot be convicted.


Often, depending on the strength of the case, we can have these arguments with the Police and the Crown Prosecu- tion Service behind the scenes to persuade them that there is no realistic prospect of conviction and ask them to discontinue the proceedings before trial.


EXAMPLE


The Court would examine the NIP carefully and look at the severity of the error and whether it fundamentally changes the offence or the particulars. They look at each notice on a case-by-case basis and so it is always best to get legal advice before arguing this point.


CAN I REJECT A NOTICE THAT IS DEFECTIVE OR OUT OF TIME?


Once you have established that a NIP is required but has not been given, and believe there may be an argument to be had, the next stage is to present that argument properly.


Put simply, it cannot be ‘rejected’. There is no such thing as rejecting a notice. A NIP is a document warning the driver of an offence. There is no option to reject it.


Enclosed with the NIP – sometimes even on the same piece of paper - is a request for driver information. Very often, this is where people get confused. People assume that if a NIP is defective, they do not need to respond to the request for information.


But - even though it is often on the same bit of paper this is a completely separate legal document and legally requires the person to whom it is addressed to respond. Failure to complete that request (even if the NIP is defective) and return it could see you prosecuted for failing to provide driver information, an offence which carries six points and up to a £1000 fine.


SO WHAT OPTIONS ARE OPEN?


Even if the notice is defective, the correct procedure would be to continue to nominate the driver by completing the


MAY 2021


A good example was the case of David Beckham, which we reported in an earlier edition of PHTM.


Mr Beckham’s vehicle was allegedly recorded speeding. Speeding is an offence which requires a NIP and therefore a NIP was sent to the registered keeper – Bentley Motors – within 14 days. But, Bentley Motors did not receive the NIP until day 15.


Bentley Motors however still nominated Mr Beckham as the driver - even though they received it out of the 14 days. And Mr Beckham then got a NIP/request for information in his own right, and he would have responded nominating himself as the driver.


He was then taken to court for speeding and at court entered a not guilty plea on the basis that no NIP was served within 14 days.


The court agreed and he was acquitted. TO SUMMARISE…


The law is confusing and such cases are rarely straight- forward. Always obtain legal advice before arguing these complicated legal points.


If you receive a NIP that you believe is defective or out of time, call us for free initial advice on 01626 359800 and we can advise you whether you have a case.


For regular updates on road traffic law follow us on twitter.com/Patterson_law_ or facebook.com/PattersonLawMotoringSolicitors


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