What is a Notice of Intended Prosecution?
If You Have Received a Notice of Intended Prosecution in Today’s Post Read On
What is a notice of intended prosecution?
The law requires that to be convicted of many road traffic offences a driver, or registered keeper of the vehicle in question must receive a warning that a prosecution is being considered within 14 days of the offence (as it can be difficult to defend oneself if only notified long after the event). One of the ways in which a driver can be notified is by way of a Notice of Intended Prosecution.
Which offences are covered by this rule?
There is a long list including driving dangerously, without due care and attention, speeding and certain offences of failing to comply with traffic signs. Please note that the requirement to serve a notice within 14 days does not apply if the vehicle concerned was involved in an accident.
What if the first I heard of this allegation was months later?
If the police claim a notice was served by first class post it is presumed (in law) that it was unless or until the contrary is proved ie there is a rebuttable presumption of good service. This could mean you could only overcome this by attending your trial and giving evidence in your defence that the notice was not served. Also, you should bear in mind that breach of the rule does not prevent prosecution only conviction.
In some circumstances, if the police have not complied with the law and you can demonstrate this to them (with an authoritative letter setting out the relevant law and facts) it may be that they would consider dropping the case against you.
If I prove
If the police can show they acted with ‘reasonable diligence’ in trying to trace the accused/registered keeper but could not have been expected to do so within the time limit, then the limit may be found by a court not to apply. Also, if the accused makes it difficult for the police to trace him this can also be taken into account.
Must a notice of intended prosecution comply with certain requirements?
Yes, the notice must comply with certain requirements including specifying the nature of the alleged offence and the time and place where it was alleged to have been committed. However, the law in this area is technical. If you are unsure of your ground then you should obtain legal advice.