What is a NIP?
A NIP, or Notice of Intended Prosecution, is used to notify you that you may be prosecuted for a road traffic offence that has been committed.
A NIP can be issued verbally to the driver at the time of the offence or in written form 14 days from the date of the offence.
There are circumstances where you may not have received the NIP within 14 days, if for example the DVLA do not have the correct address for the registered keeper of the vehicle or where there was a company vehicle involved.
If you have received a NIP for a road traffic offence we recommend you contact us immediately to review your options.
The most common instance where Notice is served is an NIP for speeding. However, the following offences require you to be given notice of intended prosecution:
- Dangerous or careless driving/cycling
- Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous place
- Failing to conform with the indication of a police officer directing traffic or with a traffic sign
How is a notice of intended prosecution given?
There is an NIP time limit that applies of 14 days from the offence. However, how this is calculated will depend on how the notice is given. It can be:
- given verbally at the time of the offence (i.e. you are stopped by the police and they inform you they are considering prosecuting), or
- by a formal notice of intended prosecution within 14 days of the offence at the last known address, served on the offender or the registered keeper of the vehicle, or
- by a summons being served on the offender within 14 days of commission of the offence.
Failure to give proper notice of intended prosecution is a Defence unless an exception applies (see below). You should always keep the envelope the NIP came in as proof of when it was posted.
What if I have not heard anything within 14 days?
The obligation on the prosecution is to show they served the Notice of Intended Prosecution 14 days or less from the offence. The day of the offence is not counted in the calculation. They do not have to show you actually received it, so the general rule that post is deemed to be served 2 days after posting applies.
If you move house or buy a vehicle and do not register the change of details with the DVLA then the notice will go to the wrong address. As it was due to your default it does not invalidate the notice.
Also, if you were driving a company or hire car the notice is sent to the company or hire company. It can be weeks, if not months, before you find out about it but again this does not invalidate the notice.
- Notice of intended prosecution is not required where a full or provisional fixed penalty notice has been given or fixed; or if you were knowingly involved in an accident at the time
- If the notice of intended prosecution is received late it may still be valid and you should seek advice on this.
- There is also an exemption where the police could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained the name and address of the accused in time for service of the summons or notice within the 14 day period, or the accused