David Beckham: NIP Not Received Within 14 Days
Let’s talk about the David Beckham case, notices of intended prosecution and the 14 day rule.
We had around five enquiries yesterday where people had read about the case and wanted to know if they could ‘get off’ a speeding allegation using the same defence. Let’s try and nail this shall we?!
Firstly, you can’t raise this defence if it’s not what actually happened in your specific case, that would be perverting the course of justice/perjury. Neither could a lawyer advance the argument in the court room if they knew that it wasn’t true, that would be a breach of our professional conduct rules, we are not allowed to mislead any parties to the proceedings on a client’s behalf if we know that the argument isn’t a true reflection of the circumstances of the client’s case.
So let’s assume that the notice of intended prosecution (a pre-requisite of a prosecution for a speeding offence) arrives more than 14 days after the date of the alleged offence. Day one of the 14 days is the day after the alleged offence.
The most common explanation for this is that the person receiving the notice isn’t the registered keeper of the vehicle on the V5/logbook. The 14 day rule only applies to the registered keeper. Technically no one else requires a notice of intended prosecution in writing. So if you’re not the registered keeper of the vehicle you don’t have an argument.
Neither do you have an argument if you are stopped at the time of the alleged offence and the officer gives you a verbal notice of the intention to prosecute. This alleviates the need for a written notice to be sent within 14 days.
The only obligation on the police in relation to a written notice relates to serving it on the last known address of the registered keeper as per the DVLA database as at the date the police look. So if you’ve moved recently or if you’ve only just purchased the car/vehicle then that won’t necessarily be you as at the date the police look at the database.
The DVLA can take weeks and weeks to update the database even if you notify the purchase immediately or notify the change of address on the day you move. As long as the police send the notice within 14 days to the last known address as per the database on the day they look then they will have have satisfied their obligations and the argument won’t be available.
Finding a case with a legitimate defective notice of intended prosecution argument is rare. We probably deal with in the region of 4500 to 5000 cases a year and around 60 to 90 new enquiries every day. We come across legitimate defective notices of intended prosecution arguments probably once a month.
If you do have a legitimate argument it does not entitle you to ‘reject’ the notice of intended prosecution. The notice is what is known as a combined document. It contains two legal requirements. Firstly the warning that somebody might be prosecuted for a speeding offence (the notice of intended prosecution) but secondly the requests driver information under section 172 road traffic act 1988. So if you don’t deal with that request for information and reject the notice in its entirety, then you commit an offence of failing to provide driver information.
Failing To Provide Driver Information
The offence of failing to provide driver information does not require the service of a notice of intended prosecution. So by failing to deal with that part of the notice you create an offence that you CAN be convicted of and which carries six points and around £800-£1000 in fines and court costs. You effectively solve the problem for the police/prosecution. You give them a legitimate prosecution, for an offence to which you won’t have a defence, when you might have had a valid argument to defend the speeding matter at the root of it.
So if you do have a valid argument that the notice is defective then you still need to name driver. You then have to make a decision as to whether or not to take a speed awareness course/fixed penalty (three points £100 fine) or whether to ask for a court hearing and lose that opportunity.
At this stage you need to make a judgement call.
If you take the case to court and lose the argument (fail to undermine the presumption of service) you could expose yourself to far higher fines/court costs and increased penalty points and possibly even the risk of disqualification if for example you have six points already or the speed alleged is high and falls into one of the upper guidelines at court.
So if you are offered or entitled to do the speed awareness course and avoid penalty points altogether then our strong advice is that you should probably be pragmatic and take it on the chin. You will pay around £100 to do the speed awareness course. You would have to pay a lawyer considerably more than that based on a point of principle in order to stand a realistic chance of making a legitimate defective NIP argument at court.
Arguing that the notice of intended prosecution was defective involves reference to both case law and the statutory provisions. It’s not an easy argument to make. It is dealt with as a preliminary issue at trial if you are unable to persuade the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the matter in advance of a trial. This means giving evidence on oath and being cross-examined. If you have an anecdotal problem in relation to your postal service then this will add weight to the argument.
So if you think you may have a legitimate argument give us a call or send us an email. We can easily assess your prospects of success and give you clear advice on the risk of taking the case to court and losing. We have a NIP TESTER on our website where you can check for yourself whether the notice is likely to be effective.
The argument raised on behalf of ‘David Beckham’ wasn’t rocket science, it was just a simple application of what is very basic day-to-day road traffic offence law. There is no magic here. We don’t try to pretend that it is rocket science, but it is certainly well within our comfort zone because we are dealing with these issues day in day out. Ask us first before you do anything and if you’ve got a good argument we will tell you, if you haven’t we will tell you that too….. Ask Us A Question