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Does an NIP have to be Served Within 14 Days?

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 10 Jan 2021 | comments*Discuss
 
Speeding Camera Ticket Notice Of

Q.

I have just received a letter about a speeding offence that allegedley took place on the 19th August. I received the letter (dated 24th September), on the 25th September.

I was under the impression that the NIP had to be served within 14 days. This is clearly over that time, so I was wondering if you thought I would be able to use this technicality as a defence?

(Mr Adrian Moore, 4 October 2008)

A.

If you are caught on camera committing a motoring offence, before any action can be taken against you, it is a legal requirement that you must to be informed that you have been caught breaking the law and that the authorities intend to prosecute.

Because you were 'caught on camera' rather than being stopped and served with intent to prosecute by a police officer, a Notice of Intended Prosecution or NIP, will be sent out to you - and this document will be set out in a way that complies with the regulations laid down in the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

Most typically, NIPs relate to speeding offences and running red lights, or similar offences and the obligation is on the authorities to have sent out the Notice in a timely fashion so that it arrives within 14 days of the offence being committed.

So what's with the 14 day limit?

The 14 day limit refers to the amount of time that the Police need to process the original Notice of Intended Prosecution. There is a lot of misinformation about the 14 day rule, but the facts are:

  • It’s not up to the police to prove that the NIP reached the registered keeper within 14 days
  • It is up to the police to be able to prove that in the normal course of events, the NIP would have arrived at the last known address of the registered keeper within the 14 day time limit

Can you explain that a little more?

The onus is not on the police to chase down the registered keeper of the offending vehicle: all they have to do is prove that they sent out the ticket in time to reach the registered keeper within 14 days if there are no ‘unusual events'.

Can you give me an example of 'unusual' events?

Things such as a postal strike, or the registered keeper no longer being at the last known address. If this happens, the ticket will not be considered void as best endeavours were undertaken to contact those responsible. If the registered keeper is, for example, a leaseholder - or company car driver ,then the driver may well be unaware of the offence within 14 days - but as long as the NIP arrived at the last known address of the registered keeper - the head office or leasing company - in time, that's what matters.

Tickets issued over the 14 day limit

If the issue date of the NIP sent to you was more than 14 days after the alleged offence took place, than you can refuse to accept it on the basis that it is time barred. This is certainly true in your case and if you appeal against the ticket on these grounds you should have no problem getting the ticket cancelled.

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