The Police Sent Section 172 Notice and Notice of Intended Prosecution to the Wrong Address!
Most motorists are aware that the police have statutory power to require the registered keeper of a vehicle to say who the driver of it was on any specified occasion. Police across England and Wales will send out many thousands of these during the course of the year.
What happens if the requirement is sent to the wrong address?
It is often accompanied by a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and for many road traffic offences, such a notice must be received within 14 days if there is to be a prosecution based upon it. I receive lots of telephone calls from motorists who have got caught up in court proceedings when the original notice went to the wrong address. It might eventually catch up with them, but it has arrived very late.
First question is where do the police get their addresses from? In the vast majority of cases, the address of the registered keeper comes from the Police National Computer which in turn obtains its vehicle registration information direct from the DVLA. For the PNC information to be accurate, the DVLA must also be accurate. Many of us know that the DVLA is not always accurate, despite insisting that it is.
Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 applies to a long list of road traffic offences and provides that before someone can be convicted they must within 14 days of the commission of the offence have been served with a NIP. Unless a roadside warning is given verbally, the notice has to be served and this can be done by (a) delivering it personally, (b) addressing it and leaving it at the last known address, or (c) sending it by registered post, recorded delivery or first class post to the last known address.
Most are served by ordinary first class post. The police don’t like using recorded delivery because the item can be refused.
If the strict time limit is not complied with there can be no conviction, but there is a get out if the name and address of the accused or the registered keeper could not with reasonable diligence have been ascertained in time for the notice to have been served within the 14 day period.
What this means is that if the NIP went to the wrong address or was not served at all the police may be able to explain away the failure by showing that they exercised “reasonable diligence”. This will require the provision of evidence by police to satisfy the court that they did their best. If the court is not satisfied that they did their best then the failure to comply with the 14-day rule will mean there can be no conviction.
Time limits and details are always worth checking.
Using these to avoid speed detection by police laser devices is a serious offence. It falls squarely within the definition “of doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice contrary to common law.”
On 11 April 2019 Court of Appeal had to decide how to sentence Nicholas Burke. The facts were straightforward and very typical.
On 18 February 2018 a police officer used a device to capture evidence of the speed at which Mr Burke’s BMW was travelling in Yorkshire. The officer believed from what he had seen that the car was travelling in excess of [read on]
From Monday 10 June 2019 drivers who ignore lane closure signs on smart motorways in England will be issued with automatic £100 fines and 3 penalty points.
A closed lane on smart motorway is indicated by a 'Red X' displayed on an electronic overhead gantry and instructs motorists to move to another lane that's running normally to avoid an incident ahead.
According to recent surveys, a significant number of motorists have been ignoring closed lane warnings either because they are not understood fully, or because they think nothing will come of it. The signs have been around for a [read on]
The law relating to drug driving has been in force for a few years now but certain aspects of it continue to cause difficulty.
The law was changed to plug a gap and to make it easier to detect and charge motorists driving under the influence of drugs or with drugs in them over prescribed limits whether they were impaired or not. It brought the drug drive laws into line with drink driving. Police were given new equipment to carry out saliva swipes and require blood samples.
For the first time the law also listed legal and illegal drugs that could form the basis of a charge if prescribed [read on]
Motorists in parts of France who have been convicted of drink-driving could only be allowed back behind the wheel after serving any ban if their car is fitted with an alcohol-activated immobiliser.
The UK has a mixed legal position that appears fragmented. Low-level alcohol offenders generally just serve their ban and then reapply for a licence. As long as they are not High Risk Offenders, or don’t have a history of persistent alcohol misuse they will get a licence again. Others are monitored by the DVLA using medical reports from GPs.
It can seem very hit and miss. I have [read on]
These have been in the pipeline for quite some time.
Now Volvo is to install technology in its self-driving cars that can detect if the driver is drunk. They will use a combination of in-car cameras and sensors to spot if the motorist is showing signs of being over the limit.
Cars will slow down before ringing the Volvo call centre, and a member of staff will speak to the driver and take over the car if necessary.
The self-driving vehicle may even park the car by itself if the driver is unresponsive.
Sensors in the car will monitor changes in the physical movements of both the [read on]
I often get asked this. Many people have an idea that most motoring prosecutions have to be started within 6 months of the date of the offence and are puzzled when a Postal Requisition or Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN) arrive after 6 months. Sometimes they can arrive very late.
In most instances there is no good reason for the police to be so slow, but they can be.
Prosecutions are usually started in one of two ways. The most common is SJPN which requires the recipient to respond by pleading guilty or not guilty. No court date is fixed unless it’s a not guilty plea or the [read on]
Recent Home Office figures showed a 43% rise in the number of motorists going to court during the course of the last four years. The number of motorists facing court action in 2013 was 240,000 and this increased to 342,000 in 2017. This is an astonishing increase. At the same time the number of fixed penalty notices issued by police declined from 1,201,000 996,000.
Why has it happened? There are two factors that might contribute.
In April 2017 the penalty for using a mobile phone whilst driving was increased from 3 to 6 points. The penalty points increase for this offence means that more [read on]
As a recent 60 year old I decided I needed a challenge outside the courtroom and I'm sure over the years many an opponent has wished I'd get on my bike (lots of other people too I expect).
I have been doing just that for quite a few months and will be taking part in the Prudential London 100 on the 29 July. It's a bike ride of 100 miles from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, west into Surrey (nasty hills they have in Surrey) and then back for a finish on the Mall. It's a timed ride so no slacking is allowed.
I feel fortunate to be well enough to do it, and am using my place to raise money for [read on]
New testing devices look likely to bring about some swift changes to drink drive breath samples. Drink drivers are to face swifter processing thanks to new roadside breathalyser technology that will allow police to gather on-the-spot proof.
Mobile evidential breath tests will allow police to gather early evidence of drink driving, by taking a breath sample from suspect drivers at the roadside. The instant test means they will not need to be taken back to a police station to obtain evidence as is currently the case.
It will mean those marginally over the drink drive limit will not have [read on]