Notice of Intended Prosecution definition is that either a written letter or verbal warning is issued to warn an individual that they are being considered for prosecution.
The law states that a defendant cannot be convicted of certain road traffic offences (see below for examples) unless they have received prior warning that they are being considered for prosecution.
The Notice of Intended Prosecution procedure initiates either verbally or by writing at the time the offence was committed, or within 14 days of the offence a summons or Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) may be issued to the defendant. The 14 day rule is explained in further detail towards the end of this page.
Notice of Intended Prosecution examples
The offences to include aiding and abetting, to which Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 are as follows:
- Dangerous driving – see dangerous driving for further details on the offence and potential penalties and fines
- Careless driving and/or driving without reasonable consideration – see careless driving for further details on the offence and potential penalties and fines
- Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position
- Dangerous cycling
- Careless cycling
- Disobeying certain traffic signs and police signals or light signals such as a red light
- Speeding offences
Notice of Intended Prosecution time limit
By law you must receive the Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days of the date of the offence, unless it was issued at the time of the offence. The actual day of the offence is not counted within the 14 day rule. A NIP is still often sent even if you were warned by police at the time of the offence that they are to consider prosecution.
If the Notice of Intended Prosecution was received after the 14 days, they may be unable to prosecute you. There are circumstances however where receiving the NIP after 14 days can still lead to prosecution. If you were driving a company car, hire car, rent car or were using someone else’s car at the time of the offence, you may still get prosecuted when receiving the NIP after 14 days.
The Notice of Intended Prosecution 14 day rule is for the police to abide by to ensure they have served the original notice within. Authorities must ensure that the notice is sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle if they are unable to determine who was driving at the time of the offence.
Such situations may occur when a NIP is issued due to an offence caught via a speed camera. A Notice of Intended Prosecution can be sent via normal first or second class post, recorded delivery or occasionally delivered by hand.
If the Notice of Intended Prosecution was sent within the 14 day time period but you did not receive it due to driving a hire car, borrowed car, did not register the vehicle with the DVLA, moved house or sold the car, none of this invalidates the notice. It may take many weeks or months before the offender becomes aware of the NIP, the police however have up to six months to prosecute.
Notice of Intended Prosecution lost in post
A Notice of Intended Prosecution delivered by post was originally only delivered by recorded or registered delivery. As of 1994 however, the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 was amended to allow for standard postal delivery. As already covered, a NIP can be sent via first class or second class mail or recorded delivery. Many of us have at some point experienced mail either not finding the address it was intended for, or a piece of mail never arriving.
A Notice of Intended Prosecution getting lost in the post is therefore possible. You will of course only realise this when you have received a NIP reminder. Unfortunately, the prosecutions only requirement in this matter is to prove that the original NIP was sent within the 14 day time limit. Providing the notice was sent to you within the time constraint, the original NIP remains valid regardless of when you received it.
Notice of Intended Prosecution not signed
The Notice of Intended Prosecution must be signed, but not necessarily by hand signature. It is acceptable for the notice to be signed on behalf of the Chief Constable by type.
Notice of Intended Prosecution penalty, fines and points
Upon receiving the NIP, it should be signed and returned to address supplied within 28 days. The Notice of Intended Prosecution time limit of 28 days can incur harsh penalties of a fine up to £1,000 and six penalty points on a driver’s licence if not dealt with inside the 28 day time constraints. A Notice of Intended Prosecution penalty points and fines vary depending on the severity of the offence and whether a Fixed Penalty was offered or if the case is referred to court.
Notice of Intended Prosecution speeding
If you have received a Notice of Intended Prosecution through the post due to being caught by a speed camera, you may if the offence was relatively minor or there are mitigating circumstances, receive a Conditional Offer Fixed Penalty or a Speed Awareness Course offer. The conditional offer of a Fixed Penalty fine is £100 along with 3 to 6 penalty points depending on the severity of the offence. If the offence is referred to court, a speeding offence has a maximum fine of £1,000, or £2,500 if the offence was committed on a motorway.
Notice of Intended Prosecution has incorrect name or address
A Notice of Intended Prosecution that has incorrect name or address details may not be enough to invalidate the notice. Although it may be tempting to ignore a Notice of Intended Prosecution due to these inaccuracies, if the matter goes to court, it will be determined whether the offender is trying to avoid prosecution due to minor technicalities.
If the notice is obviously issued to the correct name and address but was ignored due to incorrect spelling or other typing details, the court may fine up to £1,000 and up to six penalty points for failing to identify the driver of the said offence.
A Notice of Intended Prosecution is sent to the name and address of the registered vehicle, details of which are obtained from the DVLA database. The police and NIP processing department cannot be held responsible for name or address inaccuracies in a court.
The Notice of Intended Prosecution arrived after 14 days
If the Notice of Intended Prosecution arrived 14 days after the offence (excluding the day of the offence), you cannot be prosecuted unless for the following exceptions:
- A full or provisional fixed penalty notice has been given or fixed
- A NIP that arrived later than 14 days but was posted well within the 14 days’ time limit so that it would be ordinarily considered to reach the recipient within the limit
- The car of the driver charged has been involved in an accident, and the driver is aware of it.
- The police with reasonable diligence could not obtain the name and address of the offender within the 14 day limit
- The police are unaware of your current address and send the NIP to last known address
Notice of Intended Prosecution procedure
Providing the NIP has been received by the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days and the NIP has been returned naming the driver at the time of the offence within 28 days, police will issue either a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or if the driving offence is more serious, a court summons.
Notice of Intended Prosecution 14 day rule
Many of us lead busy lives. Driving is often considered a chore and a means to get where we need to go in the shortest of time. It’s surprisingly easy to forget where we have been driving, on which roads and what times. The Notice of Intended Prosecution 14 day rule is what the police notice processing department must abide by to allow a reasonable time frame for the offence to be processed and delivered, but also to allow motorists as minimal time as possible from the date of the offence to remember who was driving.
It’s common for partners to share one car. The Notice of Intended Prosecution will be sent to the registered keeper if the offender was not questioned by the police at the time of the offence. For example, this could be due to receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution due to a speed camera. It is law that the registered owner of the vehicle must identify the driver responsible for the offence, hence the 14 day time limit rule allows motorists in this situation a reasonable time-frame to remember who was driving.
Ignoring a Notice of Intended Prosecution
Ignoring a Notice of Intended Prosecution is potentially going to result in the issue escalating, resulting in greater fines. If there are inaccuracies within the NIP or you received the NIP late, it’s important that you reply.
It is law that upon receiving a NIP, the driver at the time of the offence must be identified to the authorities. Ignoring a Notice of Intended Prosecution is therefore failing to identify which can incur a £1,000 fine and 6 penalty points on a driving licence.
Requesting photographic evidence
It is surprisingly difficult to remember who was driving at a particular time and place several days ago, especially when multiple persons have access to the same vehicle. It becomes even more confusing if the original NIP sent by first or second class post never arrived, only to receive a reminder several weeks later from the time of the offence.
The police are not obliged to release photographic evidence along with the Notice of Intended Prosecution, however many authorities will supply photographic evidence upon request. Unfortunately, such photographic evidence seldom helps the situation due the driver being obscured or insufficient clarity on the image.
A Gatso speed camera will typically take photos of the rear of the vehicle, making it almost impossible to distinguish the driver. Although not remembering who was driving at the time isn’t a ‘loophole’ as such, you can’t be prosecuted if you weren’t driving at the time of the offence and it’s the prosecutions job to determine the proof needed.
If you genuinely cannot remember who was driving, don’t be pushed into providing a name. Explain the situation to the police and do all you can to obtain any evidence as to whom was driving. It’s not advised to lie however. If proof is obtained by the prosecution as to the driver of the offence, the offence will become much more serious.