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Dispute a Speed Ticket: You Were Not the Driver

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 18 Aug 2018 |
 
Speeding Speed Camera Ticket Nip Fixed

In the UK, you can be caught speeding by either a fixed, mobile or average speed camera, which calculates time over distance. If you receive a speeding ticket but you think this is wrong, then there are a number of ways to dispute it. One of the reasons for disputing the ticket is that you do not know who the driver was.

Receiving a NIP

The document you receive will be a Notice of Intended Prosecution (also known as a NIP). The NIP has been sent to you as the Registered Keeper of the alleged speeding vehicle i.e. the person who the vehicle is registered under with the DVLA. This is not necessarily the owner of the vehicle.

The NIP will come from the police, explaining the details of the alleged incident, including, but not limited to the vehicle registration, date, time and location. The Registered Keeper will be requested to complete the required details on the NIP and return it within 28 days. This is known as a Section 172 Notice. You are to return it to the address notified on the NIP. Before signing and returning the NIP you might need to challenge the details, for example, if you do not know who was driving the vehicle, and so you should not sign the NIP before carrying out the actions below.

If you were driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, or you know who was driving then you must say so in the Section 172 Notice. As the Registered Keeper, you have a duty to notify the police and it is an offence to withhold/not provide the police with information.

Conditional offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice

Once you have return the Section 172 Notice identifying the driver, you (or the driver if it was not you) will most likely receive a conditional offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice, depending on the nature and severity of the offence. In these circumstances, you will be offered a fixed penalty of £60 plus receive 3 points on your licence, instead of going to court. This is the easiest and safest option if you believe you were the driver.

You were not driving at the time

If, however, you were not driving or do not know who was driving i.e. there are more than one insured persons or you were sharing the vehicle that day, then you should not return a signed NIP. If you do so, then it is unlikely that you will be able to reverse it.

Instead, you should write to the address given on the NIP stating that you acknowledge receipt of the NIP and are the Registered Keeper, however, you do not know who was driving the vehicle at that time. Request all photographic evidence and/or other evidence the police have so that you can help them to identify the driver and assure them that you are doing all you can to speak to and identify the other possible offenders in the meantime. The police should provide you the photographs if they are available, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If your car was stolen prior to the time of the incident, then make sure this is reported immediately.

Evidence

Once you have received the evidence, you should consider it carefully. Can you clearly identify the driver? Is the photograph blurry or unclear or do you not recognise the driver? If the photograph is blurry then you should write back to the police and say that unfortunately, the photograph is too blurred to be able to identify the driver and ask if they have any further evidence.

If the person in the photograph is not somebody you recognise then you should write back to the police and tell them that you are still unable to identify the driver but you will provide them with a list of all the names and addresses of the possible drivers.

If you request further evidence because the photograph is blurred or unclear, and the police do not write back to you with any further photographic evidence, then you should write back within 14 days and state that you have been unable to identify the driver as you have not been provided with any photographs, however, you were not the driver at the time of the alleged offence and you are now providing a list of all possible drivers, for the police to pursue.

Case law

There have been a number of cases, and in particular, police officers who have successfully disputed speeding prosecutions because photographs have not been enough to show who the driver was.

One of the most cited cases is that of Regina v Detective Superintendent Adrian Roberts, who appealed against a fixed penalty notice. His defence was that he could not remember if he been driving at the time. It was subsequently ruled that the photographic evidence was inconclusive and the ticket was scrapped. It is useful to cite cases such as this when writing to the police.

Hopefully, this will be the end to it and you will not hear anything more. This is because it might be infeasible for the police to continue with their enquiries if, for example, the evidence is unclear. Another factor for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider is whether or not it is worth running the case. If this is the case, you should receive a letter saying that no further action will be taken in this matter. If not, you may be questioned further or be summoned to court anyway.

Court Summons

The police may not accept your letters and decide to summon you to court. A summons is a legal notice which requires you to attend a court hearing. This will usually be in front of one or more magistrates. The summons could either be because:
  • You are believed to be the driver at the time of the incident
  • You have failed to identify the driver

Being summoned to court does not necessarily mean that the police believe you to be guilty. In most situations, the police do not think they have the power to consider defences or mitigating circumstances and therefore, decide that it is for the court to make the decision.

If this occurs, you must attend court at the specified time and when asked, enter a plea of "Not Guilty". When asked why, tell the court exactly the same as you have written in the letters; that you were not driving at the time or do not know who was driving and why this is the case. Tell the court that you have provided the police with as much information as you possibly could. Take all of the evidence, correspondence and list of possible drivers with you to the Magistrates. You should also cite cases which are similar to yours such as that of Detective Superintendent Adrian Roberts above.

What is the Burden of Proof?

Usually in English Law, the burden of proof is on the Claimant or the Prosecution to prove that the Defendant is the "wrongdoer". However, in the case of speeding, the burden of proof is on the Registered Keeper of the vehicle to prove that they are innocent. When defending the NIP, you must demonstrate that you have exercised "reasonable diligence" in trying to find out who was driving at the time. This simply means you must do all you reasonably can when trying to identify the driver, such as finding text messages about the car on that day, or identifying the whereabouts of you as the driver at the time the offence was committed.

Once in court, the burden of proof still lies with the Registered Keeper. However, the Magistrates must be satisfied that:

  • You were the driver of the vehicle at time of the offence
  • You exceeded the speed limit for that part of the road
The Magistrates know the law and are impartial. If they are not satisfied as to these elements, then they will not be able to find you guilty.

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I was not driving my vehicle that time because my plate number got stolen from the 26th March 2018. Crime reference number:1907691/18, I have been applied beforethat and I have not received any response
Emad almajdi - 18-Aug-18 @ 11:14 PM
My brother in law has received an NIP for his van for doing 56 in a 40 on the m1 as it had been slowed down to a 40, I was the one driving it on that day, how ever the incident date was 12/07/18 as stated on the NIP yet the letter date which I assume is the date the letter was drafted says 30/07/18 so that makes it 18 days before it's even been Sent, is this grounds to reject it I can't say when the letter was received as we was both on holiday and there is no postage date on the envelope Also the photo evidence only shows back of the van with no evidence of the driver, there are 3 of us insured on the van is this grounds to say we don't know who was driving that day If I was to own up for it would I be offered speed awareness course I'm 32 and my first offence but I was Doing 16 mph over the limit What should I Do??
Woodmyster - 14-Aug-18 @ 7:39 PM
Hi I received a letter that I exceeded 50 mph to 30 mphtime 15:30 but I’m working from 8:30 to 7 pm in hospital and I’m in Wales and the place that I’m driving is in Bristol
Bob - 26-Jul-18 @ 4:53 PM
My cousin got an NIP for not following a traficsignal .. but he was not the driver at the time. But instead it was one of his friend who took the vehicle out.. so if details of his friend are given to the police what will happen to him.. as he is a new driver will it cause him problems.. if my cousins friend doesn’t respond to the letters will it cause problems to my cousin
Zuljay - 24-Jul-18 @ 2:42 AM
Hi i have a ticket that came throught offering a speed awareness course so i asked for the photos and it only shows the back of the vehicle(its a van so you cant see any driver or passenger)and i dont know remember driving that day and my partner is insured on it but he wasnt driving it. Should i say i was and do the course incase they say i did it in court anyway because im the registered keeper or reply back to them saying i dont know who the driver was.
Hunny - 18-Jul-18 @ 8:41 PM
I was at a party and had some drinks so I gave my keys to one of my friend's brother's to drop me home. It turns out he jumped a red light and was flashed so its likely I'll receive the penalty and points. Is it possible to fight at least the points off my license? thanks
nathan001 - 15-Jul-18 @ 8:15 AM
I put my car for sale a man come to check it and drive it I receivedNIP py post I ring the driver he given me his address and name the police sand me back said they can not find the information of the driver . What can I do ? Thans
Adam - 9-Jul-18 @ 11:21 PM
Hi i think i may have been cought by a mobile speed van.. it was facing me ( camera window open to me) ..i was goig up to hill doing about 35mph as soon as i saw it i put foot on brake and got down to about 25mph as i passed it i no i shouldnt have been speeding but now im absolutly bricking it as its my father in laws car is there anyway i can find out if i have been cought ?? Please help
Vicky - 6-Jul-18 @ 5:34 PM
Pasco - Your Question:
Hi there. 2/07/18I'm alleged to have been speeding at 41mph by a speeding camera at 21.11pm.They sent me 2letters at exactly the same time, the other accuses me of doing 48mph at 21.20pm. 9 minutes later. Surely they can't try to prosecute me for 2alleged offences within 9minutes of each other? Surely it's one or the other.

Our Response:
If you were speeding twice at two different locations, yes you can be penalised for both. If you don't think it was you (on either occasion) follow the advice on this site.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:37 PM
JSharm - Your Question:
I received an NIP in the post, however it was my partner, not myself driving at the time of the incident. After sending the section 172 form back with his details outlined, will I hear anything more or have anything more addressed to me? He’s also never had an NIP before so would he be offered the speed awareness course?

Our Response:
The next communication should be sent directly to your partner. We can't say whether he will be offered a speed awareness course as we do not know what speed he was travelling at, or the speed limit at that location.
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-Jul-18 @ 2:52 PM
OD - Your Question:
Hello,I just received a notice of intended prosecution, it has my full name and address, however, it gives details of a car I never owned, in a place I've never been in!Could it be an honest mistake or should I be worried that someone has faked my identity/ documents?I have no idea how they could connect these wrong details with my full, correct ones.Could you please help solving this riddle?Thank you!

Our Response:
Return the NIP with a note saying you're not the vehicle owner and have never owned that vehicle or a vehicle with that registration number.
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-Jul-18 @ 2:48 PM
Sexysue - Your Question:
Hi I have just gone online to find I have 6 points on my licence and a fine for something I was unaware of after making calls and finding out it was a car I went to purchase and put on my trade insurance, I purchased the car and sold it as soon as I got home to someone a few streets away from me. I forgot I had put it on my insurance but the car was never registered to me I had since moved and never received the letters there saying they sent what can I do?

Our Response:
How was the initial documentation sent out? Did you not receive any documentation prior to getting the points? The car must have been regsitered to you at some point as the vehicle registration details are what the police use to find out who was driving. If you have the receipt/copy of v5 seller's information etc, that might be sufficient to prove this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-Jul-18 @ 12:03 PM
Hi there.2/07/18 I'm alleged to have been speeding at 41mph by a speeding camera at 21.11pm.They sent me 2letters at exactly the same time, the other accuses me of doing 48mph at 21.20pm. 9 minutes later. Surely they can't try to prosecute me for 2alleged offences within 9minutes of each other? Surely it's one or the other.
Pasco - 2-Jul-18 @ 2:35 PM
Hi I have just gone online to find I have 6 points on my licence and a fine for something I was unaware of after making calls and finding out it was a car i went to purchase and put on my trade insurance, I purchased the car and sold it as soon as I got home to someone a few streets away from me. I forgot I had put it on my insurance but the car was never registered to me I had since moved and never received the letters there saying they sent what can I do?
Sexysue - 2-Jul-18 @ 8:42 AM
I received an NIP in the post, however it was my partner, not myself driving at the time of the incident. After sending the section 172 form back with his details outlined, will I hear anything more or have anything more addressed to me? He’s also never had an NIP before so would he be offered the speed awareness course?
JSharm - 30-Jun-18 @ 8:47 AM
Hello, I just received a notice of intended prosecution, it has my full name and address, however, it gives details of a car I never owned, in a place I've never been in! Could it be an honest mistake or should I be worried that someone has faked my identity/ documents? I have no idea how they could connect these wrong details with my full, correct ones... Could you please help solving this riddle? Thank you!
OD - 30-Jun-18 @ 5:08 AM
I jus received a NIP of 29m/h in 20m road, in the picture you can clearly see that I was in the passenger seat. The driver was my boyfriend but he held a learner driving license and Ijust held my license for 8 months. I am very concern on what is going to happen. Are they going to take points from my license? ( my boyfriend was caught 4 months ago driving my car with the learner license and without insurance but still haven’t receive anything from that offence)
Vero - 29-Jun-18 @ 11:17 PM
numptywit - Your Question:
I received an nip caught doing 38 in a 30, the only two people that drive the car in question is myself and my wife but we dont know which of us was driving at the time, photos are inconclusive as taken from rear by camera van, what should I do??

Our Response:
You can ask for more photographic evidence. Thenthe advice in the above article follows:
If the photograph is inconclusive then you should write back to the police and say that unfortunately, the photograph is too blurred to be able to identify the driver and ask if they have any further evidence.
If the person in the photograph is not somebody you recognise then you should write back to the police and tell them that you are still unable to identify the driver but you will provide them with a list of all the names and addresses of the possible drivers.
If you request further evidence because the photograph is blurred or unclear, and the police do not write back to you with any further photographic evidence, then you should write back within 14 days and state that you have been unable to identify the driver as you have not been provided with any photographs, however, you were not the driver at the time of the alleged offence and you are now providing a list of all possible drivers, for the police to pursue.
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Jun-18 @ 2:52 PM
I received an nip caught doing 38 in a 30, the only two people that drive the car in question is myself and my wife but we dont know which of us was driving at the time, photos are inconclusive as taken from rear by camera van, what should i do??
numptywit - 26-Jun-18 @ 11:07 PM
KGeorge - Your Question:
Received a speeding ticket for a speeding in January. The ticket was delayed as I forgot to change the address on V5. Now I have requested for the photos. They sent me 2 photos which is from the back of the car. I am unable to identify who was driving at that time. I am willing to pay the penalty, but don't see the reason for accepting the points. Can I dispute this in the basis of not able to identify who was driving at that time?Thanks.

Our Response:
If you don't think you were driving you can appeal. You have to give the name of any other drivers who could have been driving your vehicle at the time. If you want to dispute this you may need to be prepared to attend court. If your're willing to pay the penalty you must have accepted that you are guilty surely? The fine comes with penalty points, that's the way the system works.
NoPenaltyPoints - 26-Jun-18 @ 2:44 PM
Greggs - Your Question:
Hi guys. Please can you help, I scrapped my car back in December and doing so sent the v5/3c form off to the DVLA. Months later a guy messaged me on Facebook saying he has bought my old car and wanted some info on previous work I had done on it etc. A couple of months later I received 2 NIP saying that I am still the registered keeper. But I know it was not me driving. Please help!

Our Response:
Contact the DVLA - did you keep a copy of your V5 form? Keep the message that you received from the person who said he'd bought it. Did you get a receipt of the scrap merchant? All this will contain evidence you need to support your case. So sign each NIP form and say you are not the registered keeper and give the date that your scrapped the car.
NoPenaltyPoints - 26-Jun-18 @ 2:23 PM
Received a speeding ticket for a speeding in January.The ticket was delayed as I forgot to change the address on V5.Now I have requested for the photos.They sent me 2 photos which is from the back of the car.I am unable to identify who was driving at that time.I am willing to pay the penalty, but don't see the reason for accepting the points. Can I dispute this in the basis of not able to identify who was driving at that time? Thanks.
KGeorge - 24-Jun-18 @ 10:27 AM
Hi guys. Please can you help, I scrapped my car back in December and doing so sent the v5/3c form off to the DVLA. Months later a guy messaged me on Facebook saying he has bought my old car and wanted some info on previous work I had done on it etc. A couple of months later I received 2 NIP saying that I am still the registered keeper. But I know it was not me driving. Please help!
Greggs - 24-Jun-18 @ 3:08 AM
I am disputing a speeding ticket as the photo doesnt show if it was myself or my partner. It could have been either on that day as we were in fact together in the car and had taken the journey in turns. I think it will end up in court, I’m not taking points if I wasn’t driving. What happens if they find the onus is on the owner (which is me) and it’s gone to court. Do you still get 3 points and a fine or is it much worse than that,your info above is helpful bi it only says you could be found not guilty. Not if they find you guilty. The photos are really bad.
Dutchy25 - 15-Jun-18 @ 4:56 PM
Ray - Your Question:
I was stopped doing 36 in 30, by what I was sure was a community speeding Hans held device. No Police were in attendance. My NIP says it's from Suffolk Police and has offered me a 100£ fine and 3 points. Can they do that? How can I prove it was not Police?

Our Response:
Community Speed watch has no powers to issue penalties. If you were stopped - did you ask who they were? What did they say?Is it an NIP you've received? An NIP is not normally issued at the roadside as it is to identify the driver. Sorry but you need to give more information
NoPenaltyPoints - 15-Jun-18 @ 10:50 AM
I was stopped doing 36 in 30, by what I was sure was a community speeding Hans held device. No Police were in attendance. My NIPsays it's from Suffolk Police and has offered me a 100£ fine and 3 points. Can they do that? How can I prove it was not Police?
Ray - 14-Jun-18 @ 8:01 AM
KGeorge - Your Question:
I received a speeding ticket in May regarding an overspeeding incident on 03rd January.I disputed this, stating that it had passed the 14 day period.The reply stated that the first letter was posted on 11th January 18 within the 14 day period.On 10th February 18, the letter was returned undelivered and on further investigation the vehicle was still shown registered to the same details at the DVLA.(I moved my house in December and had changed my drivers licence details.I assumed that the vehicle keeper would have automatically changed with the driver details.) The letter continued, "On 10the Feb 18 a reminder notice was issued which was also returned to the office undelivered and after further checks it was noted that the vehicle had been re-registered to a new address resulting in a further notice being issued on 1 May 2018. Police are satisfied that all notices have been sent in accordance with section 1 of the RTA 1988 and certificates of posting would be produced in the event of a not guilty hearing at court. A formal response to our request for details of the driver is awaited.Failure to provide the information in the manner required may result in court proceedings being initiated for that failure." What should I do in this circumstance?Can I defend this by saying that 6 months passed since the incident? Please help.

Our Response:
No. If you were the owner of the car at the time you should say whether you were the driver or not. The 14 day rule does not apply as the police have sent it the DVLA registered keeper's address. You did not ensure the vehicle was registered at your correct address nor did you have your post forwarded to your new address. A judge will not see any of these as reasons to reject a speeding penalty.
NoPenaltyPoints - 12-Jun-18 @ 3:09 PM
Ollie - Your Question:
I got a notice of intended prosecution for a speeding ticket for a ford the registratiob being dv18hcd but I m dont own the car nor I have it insured under my name. what should I do ?

Our Response:
Return the form saying were not the driver not are you the registered keeper of the vehicle.
NoPenaltyPoints - 12-Jun-18 @ 12:26 PM
I received a speeding ticket in May regarding an overspeeding incident on 03rd January.I disputed this, stating that it had passed the 14 day period.The reply stated that the first letter was posted on 11th January 18 within the 14 day period.On 10th February 18, the letter was returned undelivered and on further investigation the vehicle was still shown registered to the same details at the DVLA.(I moved my house in December and had changed my drivers licence details.I assumed that the vehicle keeper would have automatically changed with the driver details.) The letter continued, "On 10the Feb 18 a reminder notice was issued which was also returned to the office undelivered and after further checks it was noted that the vehicle had been re-registered to a new address resulting in a further notice being issued on 1 May 2018. Police are satisfied that all notices have been sent in accordance with section 1 of the RTA 1988 and certificates of posting would be produced in the event of a not guilty hearing at court. A formal response to our request for details of the driver is awaited.Failure to provide the information in the manner required may result in court proceedings being initiated for that failure." What should I do in this circumstance?Can I defend this by saying that 6 months passed since the incident? Please help.
KGeorge - 11-Jun-18 @ 12:02 PM
I got a notice of intended prosecution for a speeding ticketfor a ford theregistratiobbeing dv18hcd but i m dont own the carnor i have it insured under my name .. whatshould i do ?
Ollie - 9-Jun-18 @ 10:57 AM
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