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]
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]
At last the frustration caused by this looks as though it will be removed. Drivers have long asked why low speeds are required even when no one is working and it has tended to bring speed control into disrepute.
Motorway roadwork speed limits will be increased to 60mph as long as they can be safely operated.
Highways England, which runs the UK’s motorway network, says it is “working hard to reduce drivers’ frustration” with roadworks, and will be conducting a trial to see if higher limits can be introduced during periods when less work is being carried out.
Current [read on]
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has hinted at further restrictions to new drivers, in an effort to cut road casualties.
The Department for Transport is due to research a 'graduated licencing system', similar to those used in various other countries around the world, that could potentially ban new drivers from carrying passengers and driving at night.
This particular issue was raised by Jenny Chapman, Labour MP for Darlington, after a child was killed in her constituency by a learner driver. Figures demonstrated that a quarter of young drivers (between age 17 and 24) are involved in an [read on]
Renowned Ferrari fan and celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay has recently offered what he considers to be a 'great tip' for likeminded petrol-heads, to avoid being caught by speed cameras. His vast collection of his favourite branded car is often taken out for late night (or early morning) blasts along the freeway near his LA home. Despite the speed limit being 65mph, Ferraris can reach up to 200mph, but he states he never gets caught because he wraps his number plates in cling film, reflecting the flash of any speed camera.
If a motorist was to attempt this, they would be committing a serious [read on]