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Dispute a Speed Ticket: You Were Not the Driver

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 7 Feb 2021 |
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.


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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Hello, I bought a car on 26/07/2020 and insured it to drive. I sold the car on 21/08/2020 to someone The car was returned back to me on 29/09/2020 for a gearbox fault. I accepted the return and became the owner on 29/09/2020. A week later on 06/10/2020 I received NIP for doing 39 in a 30 zone on 28/09/2020 I filled the form saying I bought the car after on 29th and the speeding ticket is on 28th so it wasn’t me. Past forward 4 months I received a letter saying they have a record of me having insurance on the car and they think I was the registered keeper and offender They sent me 2 more NIP which were during the period I had sold the car. One on 13/09/2020 and another on 23/09/2020 I sent them a letter saying I didn’t own the car , nor was I the registered keeper. I provided a copy of my logbook stating I acquired the car on 29/08/2020. I provided dvla emails of when I sold it on 21/08/202 and became the owner on 29/09/2020. Does anyone know what else I can do ? As I have provided proof that I wasn’t the registered keeper. Surely they should stop bothering me now ?
Bob - 7-Feb-21 @ 10:08 AM
I’ve received points for speeding through a camera when it wasn’t me .i didn’t know anything about this until it was too late this happened twice . Can I get the picture from the cameras to correct the decision
Cocky - 3-Feb-21 @ 7:32 PM
Hi, My Sons van was photographed by a hand held camera speeding at 37 mph in a 30 mph zone. The photograph does not show the driver as the sun has bleached the screen and it could have been him, myself (his Father) or his girlfriend. The paperwork sent with the NIP states that 'if you cannot recall who was driving' is not an acceptable reason why the driver cannot be established and the matter may be referred to Court! Is this just scare tactics or should he request a Court hearing and hope that when a Judge sees the photographic evidence and the fact that is was most likely either my Son or myself driving but they are unable to identify the driver due to the poor quality photograph, they will dismiss the case?
Max - 6-Nov-20 @ 9:13 PM
Was delivered a NIP (36mph in 30mph zone) but was unsure who the driver of the car was at the time (shared car, 4 potential drivers - all insured etc.) and no-one can remember being in the speeding spot at the time indicated. Checked all our phone and financial records - nothing indicative. Requested photos from police - arrived . . . completely reflective windscreen meaning you can't even see that there IS a driver, let alone who it is!! I then sent an email and (identical) registered post letter (with help from your templates) back to the police suggesting that the photos were inconclusive, that we'd tried all (bank statement/text/phone records) means to identify the driver and also mentioned DSI Roberts case (as suggested). Also gave all names/addresses of the 4 potential drivers. Received an automated final-reminder letter for the (non-replied to) original NIP, and called them to ensure it was an automated letter that I did not need to take notice of, since I'd been separately in communication via letter/email. Was told on the phone that yes, it's just an automated letter that I can ignore, but : 'yes, the DSI Roberts case does get mentioned a lot, but our stance is that the registered keeper should know who's driving the car at all times . . . and the only/next course of action is a court summons for a magistrate to decide outcomes'. So . . . I now expect that summons. Any advice on what to do here/next? - there is genuine lack of knowledge about who the driver may have been at the time and nothing we can find helps identify them. Should I expect to go to court? - what to do on that day? - help/advice greatly appreciated here please!!
TonyLamezma - 18-Sep-20 @ 1:00 PM
I bought a car from a dealer in the south of England .I only paid the balance of it when I collected it from him after he drove it to the highlands. I now have a speeding prosecution impending after he made various speeding infringements on the way to Scotland. I phoned him and he had the cheek to ask me to send him the paperwork and that he had also incurred another one the next day! I've never had a notice like this in my life and it's affected my health. A pensioner, I now have to travel to England and fight my case.
Twiddlingthumbs - 13-Aug-20 @ 11:21 AM
why do people post questions here? you won't ever get a response!
dont bother - 11-Jul-20 @ 8:35 PM
Hi, I was in a rental car in the UK, in my name but my partner was driving, and a after we returned to the Republic of Ireland we got notice from rental company of a speeding fine. This was on the 8th of March 2020. We have recieved no fine in the post well over a month later. Do they bother to send fines to Ireland?
kbeg - 29-Apr-20 @ 3:32 PM
My car was caught by a speed camera and I was sent a letter to introduce the driver, I named a friend of mine who lives abroad as the driver at the time, now I received another letter by the police to send them the driver’s insurance to prove that covers a driver in the UK, otherwise I’ll be prosecuted and punished for 6 points and or up the value of £5000.00 fine. In the same letter there is section that says : I have enclosed a notice of IntendedProsecution for confirmation or [[ reconsideration of your nomination ]] once completed please return to the address above . I wonder if it is another opportunity to nominate the right driver at the time and explain there has been a miss understanding of the date and time when the offence took place and I named the the wrong person ? If I remember who the driver was and nominate him, will there be a less punishment instead of 6 points and or up to the value of £5000.00 fine ? Thanks and regards
Alex - 23-Mar-20 @ 1:32 PM
So i recieve a speeding ticket a few month ago, first i call the police asking for proof of drivers as my wife also drives the vehicle, photo arrived so blurred you cannot make out if male or female, i call tell them again thier said there check and try send out a better photo, months go bye then i get another summons to go to court stating the failed to give them the drivers details? Very frustrating were do i stand, i genuinely do not know if me or my wife was driving so unfair that no doubt i will get a hefty fine and 3 points added to my license.
Sean - 21-Nov-19 @ 9:12 PM
Summons received for an alleged speed of 37 in a 30mph zone.I and my partner were the only insured drivers of the vehicle, which has long been disposed.After 1.5 yrs, I had to go to the local magistrates court to plead NG and demand prosecutorial evidence as part of common law disclosure.This also applies under the FOI (Freedom of Information) guidelines. My partner (the keeper) put my name on the Article 172 paperwork and then it subsequently became my problem. The injustice of traffic violations is that the state simply want money and most people are afraid of the court.They rather pay up and take the points, as opposed to making the prosecution and police waste resources to prosecute the law-abiding citizen.The `way to approach the dilemma of 'guess the driver' is to create doubt in a court room by demonstrating that you have exercised "reasonable diligence" in trying to find out who was driving at the time.Ask for the video camera evidence, humbly, and claim that this evidence may help shed light on the drivers identity - which it probably won't, as the camera only zooms in on the license plate.So, then look for case law that can help.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 had 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.
Marty - 28-Oct-19 @ 6:27 PM
Hi I been summonsed to court over speeding I am not registered keeper I am motor trader the police say they sent 2nip to me I never received them because the car was on my insurance they charging me two offences and ime innocent when 3weeks before this speeding I already filled nip innaming driver of car for speeding he was prosecuted fined and points and its happend again I don't no who driver was it was not me ime innocent I have clean licence and I abide by the law and now ime been prosecuted. Its a nightmare I feeling very depressed with it all.BOC thanks
Boc - 14-Sep-19 @ 3:52 AM
Hi -we bought a personalised number plate in June. We have just received an NIP for speeding in South Wales. Our car was parked at the station in Oxfordshire and driven home 40minutes after the speeding fine-over 2,5 hours away. We weren’t anywhere near the area. What should we do?
Cookie - 11-Sep-19 @ 9:12 PM
I drive a company vehicle for a living. I have received a letter from the lease company telling me that they have been asked to provide information to the police in respect of a speeding offence. The offence took place on 29/07. I have not received an NIP to date. Today is 16/08. Can I appeal on the grounds that the NIP did not arrive within 14 days, of the offence or is it 14 days from the day that the leasing company provided my details?
pictureman36 - 16-Aug-19 @ 5:10 PM
Hi,I have just received an nip for a fail to conform to a red/green arrow/lane closure camera it states,time into red at 3.99seconds the freehold set.by the chief con stable is 2.99 the offence date was 05/05/2019,I have just received the n.i.p dated. 08/08/2019 no prior notification is this still valid
Rookieboy - 12-Aug-19 @ 12:38 PM
Himy brother was driving on road 30 mp with short distance is 40 mpand I was with him in the car because he had a learner driving licence wich I have to be with him so we got letter from police saying you driven over speed 30 mp to 42 mp. So how i give them his details?do I have to send his licence with the letter or wait till they ask me to send his licence? Thank you
Dmas - 18-Jul-19 @ 7:46 AM
i have a nip from when my car was being road tested for a sale and the driver has given me false name and address, is there anything i can do?
pegler66 - 4-Jul-19 @ 12:25 PM
I had sold my vehicle for cash in hand and handed over the logbook instead of sending it off to the DVLA to remove myself from the tax, as I was told the car was going to be salvaged I thought nothing of it, during the time I was sorning the vehicle after receiving a letter from the dvla saying I had still had the car taxed under my name a speeding fine had been committed by the person who had bought my car, I had issued the police with a statement to say I had not driven the car and had been driving my new car for at least a month before the incident had occurred. I have offered my old mobile phone to be used as evidence but cannot provide a name or number as the phone is broke but has the details stored on it. What should I do as I have now been summed to court and I am being charged as I can’t provide the drivers name.
Mitch - 20-Jun-19 @ 3:09 PM
The V5 keeper and owner of a car was issued a notice provide details of the driver re a speeding offence in 2017. The keeper did so. The party named has moved. The vehicle keeper has since died of cancer in 2018. The named driver has not responded. The car was on my insurance at the time. In 2019 i am now being prosecuted for this offense, failing to provide the driver's details. It is not my car, and never was, i do not know who was driving and have contacted the Court and the CPs and told them. I have been summoned to court. Can I be prosecuted under the law?
Red Foxx - 1-May-19 @ 5:34 PM
I'm a delivery driver for an online food company. 25th March of this year I got a letter saying I was speeding 50 in a 30 and the alleged offence took place on the 16th Jan of this year. I sent my details back straight away and now it's been sent to court awaiting date for court. My question is i don't know if I was driving the van so if they can't prove it was me then where do I stand ? Thanks for your time.
N/a - 24-Apr-19 @ 5:02 PM
Hi my friend borrowed my motorcycle 2 days ago and he told me that he is not sure if he was flashed by a camera at limehouse link tunnel. My problem is that he is not a uk national and is returning to his home country at the weekend. What should i do if i get a NIP in the post.
Bigazza - 4-Apr-19 @ 3:25 PM
Hi I had recieved a letter from police regards to over speed in road 30 mp was driven in 40 mp and I was not the driver at the time and it was my friend which I didn’t know he took the car key and drive the car with out telling me. I filledthe police form and sent out back to them and now the police saying they can’t find the person and trying to take me to court and they asking me to eather to plea guilty if not they will take me to court and I don’t know what to do
abdi Mohamoud - 14-Feb-19 @ 2:24 AM
I have been named as the driver at the time of a speeding offence by the registered keeper. However I was not driving the vehicle and do not know who was. What do I do now ??
Bob - 8-Dec-18 @ 9:53 PM
Hello I recently discovered that I was not the registered keeper of my car, but I have owned the vehicle insured and taxed it for four years, how would I know if I had any outstanding fines if I’m not the registered keeper? Would someone still be able to contact me?
Hob - 29-Nov-18 @ 10:57 PM
Hi I had recieved a letter from police regards to over speed in road 30 mp was driven in 40 mp and I was not the driver at the time and it was my friend which I didn’t know he took the car key and drive the car with out telling me. I filledthe police form and sent out back to them and now the police saying they can’t find the person and trying to take me to court and they asking me to eather to plea guilty if not they will take me to court and I don’t know what to do
Razgtr - 25-Oct-18 @ 1:54 AM
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
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