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Notice Of Intended Prosecution (NIP)

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated September, 21, 2022

A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) is a warning issued to inform a driver that they may be prosecuted for a motoring offence. 

For which road traffic offence is a NIP issued, and what happens if you get a Notice of Intended Prosecution and ignore it?

We have the answers below. 

What Is a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

A NIP is a warning issued under Section 1 of the Road Traffic (Offenders) Act 1988 that serves to inform the driver, or registered keeper, of the vehicle that they might be prosecuted for committing a certain road traffic offence

Receiving a NIP doesn’t mean that you will be prosecuted—as the name suggests, it is a warning that you might face prosecution. 

What Offences Need a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

Not every traffic offence involves a NIP, only the ones mentioned in Schedule 1 of the Road Traffic (Offenders) Act 1988.

Typically, a Notice of Intended Prosecution applies to offences such as:

  • Speeding
  • Not complying with traffic signals 
  • Careless and/or dangerous driving

Other offences such as drunk driving, driving while using a mobile or causing death by dangerous or careless driving are penalised with different measures under the Road Traffic Act.

What Forms Can a NIP Take?

When it comes to delivering a NIP, the police can issue one verbally at the time of the offence, or it can be sent by post. 

When the police issue a Notice of Intended Prosecution verbally, you may receive fixed penalty points and pay a fee. In this case, they’re not required to send you a physical copy of the notice. 

NIPs delivered in written form, on the other hand, are normally issued if your offence was caught on speed cameras. These documents can be sent by first class post, recorded delivery or by hand delivery. 

A written NIP should include details, such as the nature of the offence, the date and the location. 

It also must be served to the driver or registered keeper of the vehicle (if the driver’s details are not known) within 14 days of the offence. Otherwise, the notice is not valid, and the offence cannot proceed in Court. 

Notice of Intended Prosecution 14-Days Rule

As mentioned above, for a NIP to be valid, it must be delivered within 14 days of the offence to the last known address of the driver or registered keeper of the car.  

For instance, if you are to be served a NIP for speeding while using a leased car, the lease company would receive the notice since they are the registered keeper. It is then their responsibility to identify the driver.

You might be interested: Do lease cars come with insurance?

Keep in mind that if it takes the leasing company more than 14 days to identify the driver operating the vehicle at the time, the NIP is still valid as it was delivered within the Notice of Intended Prosecution time limit.

The same applies to company cars.

If the driver is the registered keeper of the vehicle and they received a Notice of Intended Prosecution for speeding after 14 days from the incident, the NIP is rendered invalid. 

Note: If you changed addresses without notifying the DVLA and the letter is sent to your old place of residence, the NIP is still valid. 

What Do You Need to Do if You Receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

The notice has three sections. You must complete one of them and

  • Identifying yourself as the driver
  • Name the driver who was operating the vehicle at the time of the alleged incident 
  • Name the current owner of the vehicle if you have sold it. 

In either case, if you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution for speeding or other road traffic offence, you will be required to complete the form and return it by post.

Make sure you keep proof that you, in fact, posted the notice and have a copy of the completed NIP in case the police do not receive it. 

What to Do if You Were Not Driving the Vehicle at the Time?

The NIP also comes with a requirement to identify the driver who was operating the vehicle at the time of the incident. Also known as 172 Requirement, this section obligates the registered keeper to make every reasonable effort to identify the driver within 28 days of receiving the notice. 

Failing to respond within the statutory time limit of 28 days can result in further prosecution, six penalty points and a fine of up to £1000, which is much higher than the actual fine for speeding in the UK. 

You could face worse penalties, including imprisonment if you are deliberately withholding the identity of the driver. 

What Happens After I Have Responded to a NIP?

Once you complete and return the form, the police have six months to progress the case and inform you of their intended course of action. 

Typically, if you have been issued a speeding NIP, there are three ways the case can progress. 

You might be required to attend a speed awareness course, which can run you up between £80 and £100. However, this option is only available if the speed is not deemed too high (10% above the speed limit plus 9 mph is the applied threshold).  

Alternatively, you might be issued a fixed penalty of 3 points on your licence and a £100 fine or court summons where you can contest the matter.

If you do have to go to court, learn more about legal cover on car insurance in this article. 

Bottom Line 

The most important thing to do when you get a Notice of Intended Prosecution for dangerous driving or another road traffic offence is not to panic. A NIP does not automatically mean that you will go to court—it is simply used to identify the driver of a vehicle involved in a road traffic offence.

Another must: do not ignore a NIP, whether it is a speeding Notice of Intended Prosecution or another offence. Doing so may result in further prosecution, penalty points and a fine, so if you ever receive this letter, make sure to respond no matter if you were driving the vehicle at the time or not.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

What if I don’t know who was driving at the time of the offence alleged in the Notice of Intended Prosecution?

As a registered keeper of the vehicle, you are responsible to provide details about who was driving the car at the time of the offence. If you don’t know who the driver is, you must give a genuine reason as to why you were unable to identify the person that was driving the car, or you can face prosecution for failure to provide information.

What happens if the person driving the car at the time of the incident was a visitor to this country and is now abroad?

If you receive a NIP, your only responsibility is to identify the driver in the form. You may be required to answer whether they had insurance or not. Beyond that, it is up to the Court to reach a decision depending on the offence.

How to tell if I’ve received a fake Notice of Intended Prosecution letter?

The NIP should contain details of the alleged offence and needs to be issued by a police authority. To check whether the notice is real, go to the police website listed on the notice or contact the issuing authority. Another telltale sign—in a genuine Notice of Intended Prosecution letter, you’ll never be asked for payment, thus if you receive a notice where you’re required to pay the fine, it is probably a scam.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.