With certain road traffic offences, the police are required to notify the suspected offender of an intention to prosecute. Speeding is a good example of this. When one of the ever increasing number of speeding cameras detects a vehicle speeding, the police will send a notice of intending prosecution to the registered keeper of the vehicle. The registered keeper of a vehicle may or not be the owner of the vehicle.
The purpose of this process in the context of speeding is for the authorities to establish who was driving so the right person can be dealt with or prosecuted. The letter (notice) received, is what lawyers refer to as a ‘S172 notice’ (section 172 Road Traffic Act).
It is an offence not to respond to the notice. If the person who receives it was the driver, he or she can complete the form identifying themselves as the driver. If not, then the form allows the contact details of the driver to be filled in and that person will themselves later receive a similar notice once the form is returned.
The notice is not that easy to follow. Quite a few people don’t know how to fill it in and more commonly, people don’t fully understand the consequences of doing and returning it. Some people think it is a good idea to ignore the form. It isn’t. This is a separate offence entirely and the failure to complete the form is likely to result in a summons or postal requisition to attend a road traffic magistrates court for both the original offence alleged (possibly speeding) and the separate offence of failing to complete the form and return it.
It always sensible to seek legal advice when a notice is received. If you have received such a notice then call Wells Burcombe and ask to speak with one of our road traffic offence lawyers. In many road traffic cases there is a potential for points on your licence, a heavy fine or worse, a driving ban. Our road traffic solicitors can help avoid a driving ban and advise you on all aspects of the process.