Home > Get Off a Speeding Ticket > Dispute a Speed Ticket: You Were Not the Driver

Dispute a Speed Ticket: You Were Not the Driver

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 15 Jun 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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[Add a Comment]
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
TomL I'm in exactly same issue. NIP hit the mat today. We were off camping in our VW and shared the driving. We don't know who was at the time of the incident. The pic is the rear only. I haven't sent the form back yet. Any advice?
chatoxman - 1-Jun-18 @ 4:25 PM
GM - Your Question:
My car was caught speeding in a 30mph zone doing 36mph I can't remember driving in that area on that date as far as I csn recollect I was working from home. I asked for and recieved photographic evidence which shows an unrecognisable blurry figure. The car is clearly identifiable. This seems like the case of Regina v Detective Superintendent Adrian Roberts. I sent the unsigned form back stating something like this, but they have sent a reminder saying they haven't recieved my form. Just wondered if they hoped I would give in and admit to it. I don't fancy the idea of going to court.

Our Response:
Did you keep a copy of the form you returned? You should have signed it and simply said you were not the driver (assuming you can prove you were working from home that day). Who else could have been driving your vehicle? You are supposed to give their details if you don't think you were the driver. You should also say if you think the vehicle may not actually be yours (i.e a cloned vehicle). You should definitely respond to the reminder or you will end up in court.
NoPenaltyPoints - 1-Jun-18 @ 3:09 PM
My car was caught speeding in a 30mph zone doing 36mph I can't remember driving in that area on that date as far as I csn recollect I was working from home. I asked for and recieved photographic evidence which shows an unrecognisable blurry figure. The car is clearly identifiable. This seems like the case of Regina v Detective Superintendent Adrian Roberts. I sent the unsigned form back stating something like this, but they have sent a reminder saying they haven't recieved my form. Just wondered if they hoped I would give in and admit to it. I don't fancy the idea of going to court.
GM - 31-May-18 @ 11:56 AM
Hi all, I got clocked (65 in a 50) by a manned camera in November last year, at the time I was out with my wife and we were both sharing the driving that day. We are both insured on the vehicle as it’s a company car. Me and my wife have had various discussions to who was driving but neither of us can conclusively say who was driving at the time of the offence. I’ve gone through all the correct channels of explaining to Thames Valley police in asking for a picture, but this just shows the rear of the vehicle, no evidence to who was driving. I have replied to that effect quoting the cited case and they have now passed it to the single person justice system for reply. It feels like I’m being backed into a corner to plead guilty that I truly do not who was responsible, I need to reply before next week and am really unsure what to do. Any advise greatly appreciated.
TomL - 23-May-18 @ 7:41 AM
Adams’s- Your Question:
I let my girlfriend use my car to learn in while I was sat in the passenger seat, I had no learner plates on my car and she wasn’t insured as a learner but I think she got clocked speeding @72 in a 60mph road and she is only on a provisional liscence, can she take the points or will I end up in court as the registered keeper of the vehicle?

Our Response:
The NIP will be sent to you as the registered keeper. You will need to declare that you were not the driver. Your girlfriend will be penalised not only for speeding, but also for driving without the correct insurance and driving otherwise than in accord with her licence. You,as the owner of the vehicle could also face a hefty fine and penalty points.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-May-18 @ 11:11 AM
i let my girlfriend use my car to learn in while I was sat in the passenger seat, I had no learner plates on my car and she wasn’t insured as a learner but I think she got clocked speeding @72 in a 60mph road and she is only on a provisional liscence, can she take the points or will I end up in court as the registered keeper of the vehicle?
Adams’s - 15-May-18 @ 7:18 PM
EH - Your Question:
I’ve received photographic evidence from a NIP. There are two images, both containing the date and time taken. However only one of the pictures contains the recorded speed and distance in metres (I presume away from the camera). Shouldn’t both pictures show the speed and distance in order to make the correct calculation: SPEED = DISTANCE/TIME?

Our Response:
No, not all of the photos need to display this information.
NoPenaltyPoints - 14-May-18 @ 11:42 AM
I’ve received photographic evidence from a NIP. There are two images, both containing the date and time taken. However only one of the pictures contains the recorded speed and distance in metres (I presume away from the camera). Shouldn’t both pictures show the speed and distance in order to make the correct calculation: SPEED = DISTANCE/TIME?
EH - 13-May-18 @ 2:45 PM
I received two speeding tickets from same road. It was a friend of my ex partner driving the car. He is Romanian and now back in Romania. He showed me he had insurance to driver any other vehicle when he borrowed it but I never made any note of company etc. Police are now saying I have to prove to them that this driver was insured for my car. I can’t get hold of him anymore and think his number has hanged. What do I do?
Gavlar - 12-May-18 @ 8:51 AM
My car was clocked doing 84 on the M6. Two of us shared the driving. Other lad had his own policy with a 3rd party entitlement to drive any car. Dropped him off as he was meeting friends then heading back to Eire to care for his father. I received a NIP 2 weeks later. I asked for photographic proof and was sent 3 blurry pictures showing 2 blobs in my car. I forwarded the other drivers details and he can't be traced. What do I do. I have now received a 2nd letter asking me to confirm his address and told that I am liable if they can't find him
Davidgmac - 4-May-18 @ 6:15 PM
Amz - Your Question:
Recived a speeding ticket for my car clocking 38m in a 30m at 04.04hours. I was definatly not the driver as I was bed. I was on a date that nite and stupidly invited them back to mine on this date. He had left earlier and upon looking at pictures I can see that he took my car and although it was returned in the morning it was without my concent. All I have is his 1st name and a telephone number. Where do I stand??

Our Response:
We advise you seek professional legal representation, you will need it as the reason does unfortunately sound implausible.
NoPenaltyPoints - 1-May-18 @ 11:31 AM
Recived a speeding ticket for my car clocking 38m in a 30m at 04.04hours. I was definatly not the driver as i was bed. I was on a date that nite and stupidly invited them back to mine on this date. He had left earlier and upon looking at pictures i can see that he took my car and although it was returned in the morning it was without my concent. All i have is his 1st name and a telephone number. Where do i stand??
Amz - 30-Apr-18 @ 3:18 PM
Hi, I’ve been driving my husband car, having a provisional driving licence and an insurance for learners, with Marmalade! I got an NIP for red lights and I am wondering if, when we’ll complete the forms saying that I was the driver, they will ask me to provide the insurance as well! If anyone has faced a similar situation, please let me know how it works in this case! Thanks
Alissia - 21-Apr-18 @ 8:07 PM
Kelly - Your Question:
Hi, received a NIP today for a car that we don't own under the name of someone who has never lived at our address. The printing on the letter also seems a little amateur so not sure if this is a genuine letter or phishing of some kind. Any ideas on the best way to handle this as not sure whether to ignore but can't find a number anywhere to call about this. Thanks!

Our Response:
Contact the police authority where the offence took place - you should be able to find details on the Internet. They will be able to verify or refute the validity of the NIP. If it's genuine, complete the form saying you are not the registered keeper or the driver etc
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-Apr-18 @ 2:05 PM
Hi, received a NIP today for a car that we don't own under the name of someone who has never lived at our address. The printing on the letter also seems a little amateur so not sure if this is a genuine letter or phishing of some kind. Any ideas on the best way to handle this as not sure whether to ignore but can't find a number anywhere to call about this. Thanks!
Kelly - 17-Apr-18 @ 12:52 PM
Anton - Your Question:
Clocked going 51mph in a 30, did see the sign changing from 60mph to 30mph, I know that’s no excuse, but I’ve recently passed my test and I’m wondering is there any chance they might show a little leniencey towards me and not give me 6+ points and revoke my licence? Thanks

Our Response:
Sorry there's not much you can do about this at this point in time. 51mph in a 30mph zone will almost certainly result in a court summons and will attract between 4 and 6 points. It might be worth seeking legal advice if you want to mitigate this in any way.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Apr-18 @ 11:20 AM
Clocked going 51mph in a 30, did see the sign changing from 60mph to 30mph, I know that’s no excuse, but I’ve recently passed my test and I’m wondering is there any chance they might show a little leniencey towards me and not give me 6+ points and revoke my licence? Thanks
Anton - 11-Apr-18 @ 5:56 PM
Jezza - Your Question:
I was out with a friend, I was driving my car when we stopped off at McDonald’s. I have a knee injury (I need to have surgery for it shortly, which I can prove) that started to play up before we left, I didn’t feel very comfortable to drive, and my house is only a 5 minute drive away so my friend offered to drive us back to my house. On the way back he was found to be speeding and we were flashed by the camera, obviously I was mortified about this, I had no idea I was even in the wrong for allowing him to drive, is there anything I can to defend myself and avoid getting points for allowing him to drive? Or is this situation (the injury and only one very short journey) of no use? Thanks

Our Response:
Not that we know of. Ignorance of the law is never accepted as a legitimate excuse for breaking it.
NoPenaltyPoints - 11-Apr-18 @ 3:21 PM
I was out with a friend, I was driving my car when we stopped off at McDonald’s. I have a knee injury (I need to have surgery for it shortly, which I can prove) that started to play up before we left, I didn’t feel very comfortable to drive, and my house is only a 5 minute drive away so my friend offered to drive us back to my house. On the way back he was found to be speeding and we were flashed by the camera, obviously I was mortified about this, I had no idea I was even in the wrong for allowing him to drive, is there anything I can to defend myself and avoid getting points for allowing him to drive? Or is this situation (the injury and only one very short journey) of no use? Thanks
Jezza - 11-Apr-18 @ 3:13 PM
Jogee71- Your Question:
Can someone give me some advice? My Brother who lives in Cumbria was pulled over on the motorway for speeding and gave my husbands D.O.B and our address as the driver details to the police officer!! I am both fuming and upset he has done this. I found out when he confessed to my Dad yesterday what he had done. My brother had a ban in place for drink driving and it was his own company car he was driving! My brother apparently regrets giving in my husbands name and is coming back down from the lakes on Saturday to tell us ‘face to face’ what he has done. My husband had a clean license and will not under any circumstances lie for my brother. What do we do now? Will the fine came to our address or my brother as the registered keeper of the vehicle? How do we dispute this? Do we need to go to the police station? My brother knows he faces a probable custodial sentence for this but I don’t know what to do and who to tell?

Our Response:
Your brother should tell the police as soon as possible, they should advise on what the next steps will be.
NoPenaltyPoints - 4-Apr-18 @ 3:41 PM
Can someone give me some advice? My Brother who lives in Cumbria was pulled over on the motorway for speeding and gave my husbands D.O.B and our address as the driver details to the police officer!! I am both fuming and upset he has done this. I found out when he confessed to my Dad yesterday what he had done. My brother had a ban in place for drink driving and it was his own company car he was driving! My brother apparently regrets giving in my husbands name and is coming back down from the lakes on Saturday to tell us ‘face to face’ what he has done. My husband had a clean license and will not under any circumstances lie for my brother. What do we do now? Will thefine came to our address or my brother as the registered keeper of the vehicle? How do we dispute this? Do we need to go to the police station? My brother knows he faces a probable custodial sentence for this but I don’t know what to do and who to tell?
Jogee71 - 3-Apr-18 @ 3:01 PM
Kinnell - Your Question:
Wow! Just reading through posts on site as I have received a NIP speeding ticket 48 in a 40, I do not remember travelling on this road at the time stated as I would have been at work. Here's the Thing!..I have just read NIGE earlier post "Hi I received a NIP on the 5th Jan 2018 stating the car with my number plate was driving 48mph in a 40mph area in Southend. It is impossible that it is my car as it was parked in my drive all day in Yorkshire. this appears to be a case of cloning of my number plate. I intend sending a letter to the Police/ Enforcement team stating this and asking for photographic evidence. I have also stated the make & model of my car and given my licence number so they can check with DVLA ( If that's what they do). what should I expect to happen now? will I have to change my plates?" I also have recieved this notice advising that I apparently speed in Southend ???? I'm from Southend and the supposed area of offence apparently has cameras in the traffic lights? It would be interesting to know what vehicle NIGE has and the area he was supposed to have been offending in.BUT heres the KIcker I was in my bank and one of the cashiers had also received a ticket for the same speed 48 in a 40 at the same point on the same road? he also can not remember but does drive the road he suspects it was when he moved for a fire engine but isn't it strange that 3 people have experienced the same issue. Any suggestions ?

Our Response:
This is strange, or it could be a coincidence. Do let us know how you get on and if anyone else has the same issue post here! We'll keep tabs on this one.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Mar-18 @ 2:36 PM
Wow!!! I have come to this site as I have received a NIP and I can not remember being in the car at the apparent time of offence as I was at work with the vehicle. Today I also spoke to a bank clerk whom had also received a NIP for the same location and they too were unable to recollect the incident but has acknowledged the NIP as he drives the said area each day.......BUT heres the Kicker I have just read NIGE entry on this forum and he also seems to have experienced a similar problem........you see I live in Southend and the offending area the NIP refers too is also in Southend. I would be interested to know if NIGE NIP was for the same area. Can you suggest how I should respond?
Kinnell - 16-Mar-18 @ 10:26 PM
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