Notice of Intended Prosecution
One of the biggest questions that our crime department is asked relates to the implications of receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution from the police, relating to driving offences. This can be a very worrying time and the majority of people who receive this document have very little experience of a court of law.
The notice is formal confirmation that a criminal offence has been recorded and the police intend to prosecute the person responsible. This is likely in cases where a driver is not stopped by a Police Officer, for example in speeding cases, but can also be served by a Police Officer if the vehicle is stopped. The general principle, although this does not apply to all such offences, is that the notice is served on the registered keeper of the vehicle involved within 14 days of the offence.
With the notice, the driver will receive a Request for Driver Information, which places a legal obligation on the driver to provide the details of the person who was driving at the time of the offence. The registered keeper must respond within 28 days of receipt. This is extremely important as there are consequences of a failure to provide this information, which is a separate and arguably more serious criminal offence, with a penalty of 6 penalty points on your driving licence and a Fine of up to £1000.
Should the registered keeper provide incorrect details of the person driving and therefore committing the original offence, they are committing the very serious offence of Perverting the Course of Justice, which is an offence that although begins in the magistrates court can only be dealt with in the Crown Court by a Judge, with the maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
If the registered keeper accepts being the driver and committing the original offence or whoever is named as the driver at the time, the police will respond with either penalty points and a fixed financial penalty. Should the driver have 9 or more penalty points on their licence, you will become a “totter” and receive a date to attend your local magistrates court, who will consider disqualification. For more serious offences, the matter will automatically go straight to court and you will receive a court date in the post. It is important to ensure that the registered keeper’s details are up-to-date with DVLA and the address recorded is current, as this is the correspondence address for the court.
Should you fall under the totting rules, you are at risk of losing your driving licence for a period of 6 months. In addition, if the driver passed their driving test less than 2 years prior and has accrued 6 penalty points, the driver falls under the New Driver provision and the licence will be revoked by the DVLA. In those circumstances the driver will be required to undertake their theory and practical tests again.
Road Traffic law is a minefield and a rather complex area of criminal law. We specialise in providing expert and professional legal advice in this area of law. There are real consequences to not following the correct procedures in place, that could result in you losing your driving licence, having potential implications on your employment and family.
Contact our criminal litigation department on 01752 827941 to see how we are able to help if you, a family member, a colleague or a friend find themselves in this tricky situation.
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