I have recently received a Notice of Intended Prosecution from the Police telling me that me that my car was caught speeding. The letter asked me to identify the driver, what should I do?
This sounds like the Police have issued you with a notice under Section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988. This is a legal request from Police to identify the driver of a vehicle involved in a road traffic offence. The notice places a legal requirement on you, as the registered keeper of the vehicle, to provide any information which could assist in identifying the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence. You must respond to the request within 28 days of the service of the notice.
You must provide this information unless you could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was. This is the ‘statutory defence’ that applies and if the magistrates determine that you could not have identified the driver then they should find you not guilty after any trial. You should ensure, however, that you return the Notice highlighting the names of any other possible drivers or the reasons you are unable to identify the driver.
If you ignore the notice then you could face a further criminal offence of ‘failing to give information to identify a driver’. It is important to realise that this could leave you worse off than admitting that you are the driver in the first place. For example an offence of speeding, say 34 in a 30 zone, carries a penalty of 3 points and a fine whereas failing to identify the driver following a Section 172 notice carries a penalty of 6 points and a fine. The Court could even choose to disqualify you from driving if they believe that it is just to do so.
Knowingly providing false details of the driver on the day of the offence is extremely serious as this could amount to Perverting the Course of Justice which will almost certainly result in a prison sentence being imposed.
The Notice of Intended Prosecution must be served upon you within 14 days of the initial driving offence otherwise the prosecution would be out of time so you should carefully check the date of the Notice and any stamp mark on the envelope.
If you are unsure about what to do with a Section 172 Notice you have received you should always seek advice from a Criminal Solicitor before proceeding.
Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist criminal defence solicitors who can advise you an all issues surrounding road traffic offences. To speak to a solicitor please phone 0191 565 3112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that this advice was correct at the time of writing. However there may have been changes in the law or procedure since that date. If you are in doubt you should obtain up to date legal advice.