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Been detected? FAQs

Whilst we aim to assist drivers to reach an informed decision, there is a necessity to be mindful that the matter is subject to legal procedures and that we do not enter into “litigation by letter”, thereby contesting the case outside of any Court proceedings as the more appropriate forum for such matters.

The following are a list of the most commonly asked questions and guidance, which may be of assistance, should you have any further questions please find our contact details at the end.

About the notice of intended prosecution

Why have I received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)?

You may be either the registered owner/keeper, nominated owner/keeper/driver/hirer or a person our investigations have identified as someone who may have information that may lead to the identification of the driver of a vehicle detected exceeding the legal speed limit or contravening a traffic light.

I did not receive the NIP within 14 days

We are required to post the initial NIP in sufficient time that ordinarily it would be expected for the Registered Keeper to receive it within 14 days of the alleged offence. We do not have to prove it was delivered, merely that it was posted. There is no time restriction on subsequent notices. In certain circumstances this 14 days can be exceeded, for example if you fail to register the vehicle promptly and enquiries need to be made.

What happens next?

The purpose of the NIP is to identify who was driving the vehicle at the time of an alleged offence.

If you are providing details of another person/company, a Notice will be issued in their own name. If you become aware that your nominee has not received a Notice please contact this office immediately. Should they subsequently dispute your nomination you may be requested to provide further detail to support your nomination.

If you cannot provide the required information you should still respond to the NIP providing any information, which it is in your power to give in order that we can carry out further investigations. Any supporting evidence and/or actions you have taken to identify the driver would also assist our enquiries.

If you were the driver, and circumstances permit, this matter may be dealt with by way of a Speed Awareness Course (SAC) or Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (COoFP) as an alternative to a court hearing.

The COoFP provides the driver with the opportunity to settle the matter without having to go to court. This may be by way of attending a SAC or by way of Fixed Penalty by accepting a £100 fine and having their driving licence endorsed with 3 penalty points.

You do not have to accept the Notice of Intended Prosecution or COoFP and can request for the matter to be dealt with by way of a Magistrates Court hearing.

If you have more than 8 points on your licence at the date of the alleged offence (received in the last 3 years) or if you were detected at a very high speed, then you will not be able to accept a COoFP. In these cases the matter can only be dealt with by the courts.

Are my human rights infringed if I sign and/or respond to this notice?

The form provided with the Notice of Intended Prosecution is a self serving statement as such it must be signed by the person providing the information, either in the format provided or similar written format. An unsigned admission or nomination is deemed to be a failure to provide the information, and will be treated as such.

Cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights have concluded that the information provided does not infringe Human Rights legislation (incrimination of self or others)

Also, a caution is not required under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 prior to returning the information requested.

About the driver and vehicle

What happens if I ignore the NIP form or I am unable to identify the driver?

Failure to supply the details of the driver may render you liable for prosecution under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This carries a maximum fine of £1,000 and six penalty points, which through totting up could also result in disqualification. The Courts will require you to demonstrate reasonable diligence as to why you could not identify the driver. If required we can provide images of the alleged offence by email, which may or may not assist you to recall the incident or identify the driver. Printed images sent via post will not be as clear as those sent by email.

What if the driver is no longer in the country?

In this instance you may be requested to provide proof that the person exists, was in the country at the time of the offence and that the driver has returned abroad or has gone abroad for an indefinite period. You may also be requested to prove that the person was insured to drive the vehicle at the time of the offence.

If you are unable to provide this information you may still be prosecuted for failure to supply the details of the driver or Permitting No Insurance.

I don't believe that this was my vehicle. What should I do?

Please contact us so that we can check the details of your vehicle against the offending vehicle. If there is a discrepancy, appropriate action will be taken and you will be advised accordingly. If there is no discrepancy then you may be required to provide written proof confirming the whereabouts of your vehicle on the date in question.

I sold this vehicle prior to the offence. What do I need to do?

If you have informed the DVLA of the change of ownership before the alleged offence no further action will be taken against you.

It would however assist our enquiries if you could complete the form with details of when and to whom you sold the vehicle, sign and return it to this office. If you have not already informed the DVLA and the date/time of change of ownership is disputed you may be required to provide proof accordingly.

About your driving licence

What happens if I have a Non GB driving licence?

You can still accept a Fixed Penalty of £100 plus 3 points. Wait until you have received your COoFP, and then you will need to send a photocopy of your non GB driving licence with your fine payment, unless you have already been issued with a GB counterpart or driver number from the DVLA, which should be sent instead.

The type of driving licence you hold does not affect your SAC eligibility.

What if my name/address details have changed but my DVLA licence hasn't been updated yet?

This would not affect your eligibility for SAC, however should you decide to accept the £100 fine and 3 penalty points, you will be required to send your payment and your paper driving licence (plus photocard where issued) to the Fixed Penalty Office (FPO), within 28 days. Where applicable, complete the section on your licence for change of name/address and signature. Once your licence has been endorsed, it will be returned to you and you will then be able to contact the DVLA directly to obtain a replacement licence.

(Note: it is an offence to not update the DVLA of a change of address)

I have lost / mislaid my driving licence or it has been stolen. What should I do?

Please complete the Notice and return it to this office with a written explanation, we will then be able to advise how much time can be allowed for the licence to be replaced.

However, to accept the COoFP or if the matter is referred to court, you will need to produce a current driving licence (the card and paper part). We would therefore recommend that you apply to the DVLA for a replacement / duplicate driving licence as soon as possible. (Forms for this can be found at any main Post Office, or you may be able to apply online at www.dvla.gov.uk)

How long will the points stay on my licence?

Penalty points are valid for three years but cannot be removed from your licence until four years have elapsed. After this, you can apply to the DVLA for a replacement licence.

I am going out of the country and need to take my licence with me. What should I do?

You need to advise us of this immediately so that we can consider if an extension to the 28 days can be made.

About the offence

For a speeding conviction to be valid, there are only two requirements: appropriate speed limit notification (through speed limit signs or presence of streetlights) and evidence that the speed limit was broken.

Can I see a photograph of the alleged offence?

Yes you can view your offence images on our Public Access System, details of which are on your letter or NIP.

Are your cameras accurate and can I see a calibration certificate?

All speed and detection equipment is type-approved by the Home Office and calibrated annually in accordance with the manufacturers' guidelines. Each device also has a built-in self-diagnostic check to ensure that the calibration is correct every time it is used. Copies of calibration certificates are here.

What information can I request under the Freedom of Information Act relating to this offence?

We will respond to all requests for information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Before making a request for information under the Act, please be aware that any information released under the FOIA will be considered published in the public domain without caveat, and that exemptions will apply to certain types of information. In general, this means that requests for information about an individual speeding or red light offence will be refused under FOIA on the grounds that the information relates to an individual, although we may provide it under our normal course of business. Also, no prosecution evidence will be released under the FOIA, but may be obtained from the Crown Prosecution Service once a summons has been issued.

I was the driver, but wish to challenge the alleged offence or plead mitigating circumstances. What can I do?

The Safer Roads team will only consider mitigation in very exceptional circumstances on public interest grounds or where it can be shown that an error has occurred in the process. Beyond this to challenge the offence or to provide mitigation the case will have to be referred to the Magistrates Court . If you choose to do this, a court summons will be issued which will allow you the opportunity to provide in writing any mitigating circumstances that you wish the Magistrates to consider. The Magistrates are impartial and have the power to dismiss the alleged offence and award costs. However, they also have the power to increase the penalty, which can be up to £1,000, 3-6 penalty points, Victim Support Levy and possible disqualification.

Please be aware that any correspondence in relation to the offence will have no bearing on the time limits for you to return the completed Notice of Intended Prosecution or to accept the COoFP.

I do not think the offence is valid because:

I didn't see a camera or any signs. There is no legal requirement to inform motorists that a speed camera is ahead, make them highly visible or locate them at sites with a history of serious crashes.

I did not see the speed limit. Streetlights mean 30mph (unless signs indicate otherwise). If there are no streetlights and no repeater signs then it is likely the road is subject to a national speed limit. In all other circumstances repeater signs should be present.

I think the police vehicle was parked illegally. For the purpose of law enforcement police vehicles may park legally in any location providing they do not cause a hazard or obstruction.

I don't think the camera was justified at that location as it is not a casualty trouble spot. Although no longer a DfT requirement, all of our Red Route sites have been assessed against set criteria which have identified them as being some of the most dangerous roads in the county. Other enforcement locations are identified as request sites.

There is a mistake on the Notice. The Notice of Intended Prosecution must specify the nature of the alleged offence and the time and place where it is alleged to have been committed. Errors in date, time, vehicle registration or speed, which are caused through clerical error, will not automatically render the Notice invalid. Any errors should be brought to our attention immediately.

About the penalty

How many penalty points can I get before I am disqualified from driving or my licence is revoked (new drivers)?

The number of points on your licence does not affect your SAC eligibility.

Any driver who accumulates 12 or more penalty points within a 3-year period faces disqualification from driving. Therefore any driver who already has more than 8 points on their licence at the date of the alleged offence is unable to accept a COoFP and is automatically referred for Prosecution.

New drivers who accumulate 6 or more penalty points within two years of passing their driving test will have their licence revoked by the DVLA and will have to reapply for a provisional licence and retake their theory and practical driving test. Given these circumstances you may wish to have the alleged offence dealt with by a hearing in a Magistrates court rather than accept the Fixed Penalty, which will inevitably lead to the revocation of your driving licence. Points incurred whilst on a provisional licence can also count towards the six penalty points. Contact the DVLA for further information.

Can I pay a higher fine and have no penalty points on my licence?

No. The fixed penalty is not negotiable. If you choose not to accept the fixed penalty the matter is referred to court.

Can I pay the fine in instalments?

There is no facility to pay a fixed penalty in instalments. However you can choose to have your case heard by the Magistrates who will be able to take account of your financial circumstances and can make arrangements for payment by instalments.

About Speed Awareness Courses (SAC)

Can I take a SAC instead of a fine or penalty points?

In all likelihood, yes - they are available to drivers exceeding the speed limit up to 42 in a 30mph limit, up to 53 in a 40mph limit, up to 64 in a 50mph limit, up to 75 in a 60mph limit, and up to 86 in a 70mph limit who have not already attended nor are currently waiting to attend a National course for a previous offence within the last 3 years. The course must be completed within 5 months of offence.

How do I request to attend a SAC?

First of all you need to return the NIP confirming that you were the driver at the time of the alleged offence. Subject to eligibility checks and time permitting to complete the course within 5 months of the alleged offence, we will send you a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, which will include the offer and information about how and where you can attend.

I don't live in Northamptonshire. Can I attend in my home county?

In all likelihood, yes – Northamptonshire Police are part of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme. Your driving licence number will be checked against the national database to ensure you are eligible, and then details of participating Forces and how to apply will be enclosed with the COoFP. If you do not wish to be considered for the SAC please indicate this on your NIP response.

What does it involve? Will there be any driving, or a test?

The Northamptonshire SAC is a 4 hour classroom-based course held at a Northampton or Corby venue and is run by Road Safety experts. There will be up to 24 delegates with you, and there is some group work involved. You won't have to take a test but you will be expected to make a positive contribution to the course, which challenges attitudes to speeding. The course has a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere; it is not intended to make you feel like a criminal. Even professional drivers with many years experience have reported a positive benefit from attending. The courses are run Weekdays (excluding Bank Holidays) Mornings, and Afternoons with occasional Saturdays. Courses offered elsewhere may vary and should be confirmed with the elected provider.

How much does it cost? Will I still get points?

Course fees vary depending on the location and type of course delivered, which cover the Police and Providers costs. The Northamptonshire SAC costs £90 (Saturday £95). By completing the course you will NOT incur any further penalty in relation to this incident.

What if my plans change and I can't make my appointment after I have confirmed it?

In certain circumstances the appointment may be rearranged but there may be an extra fee for this. Full details of refunds and charges are supplied with the COoFP.

What if English is not my first language – can I still attend a Speed Awareness Course?

Yes. One person to act as interpreter may accompany you. You must let the course providers know at the time of confirming your booking.

Further information and booking

Please click here to visit the Driving Educational Courses section of the website.

About speed limits

Remember – the speed limit is the absolute maximum and does not mean it is safe to drive at that speed irrespective of conditions. Speed limits are there for a reason, and are not open to individual interpretation.

As well as the posted speed limits, certain classes of vehicle are subject to their own speed limits and the lesser speed limit must be adhered to. For example, on a dual carriageway road where a saloon car may be driven up to 70mph, a Transit van (being a goods vehicle and not a car-derived van) is restricted by its class to 60mph.

Streetlights mean 30mph (unless signs indicate otherwise).

If you are unsure of the speed on a road where there are street lights, assume that the speed limit is 30mph, otherwise there will be repeater signs at regular intervals. The law does not allow the highway authorities to place repeater signs in a 30mph area where there is a system of streetlights (lit or unlit).

Dual carriageways in built-up areas may have a reduced speed limit of 60, 50, 40 or even 30mph to ensure the safety of all road users.

About speed

Why is there so much attention on detecting speeding offences – it's all about the money isn't it?

Certainly not. More than 3,000 people are killed on Britain 's roads every year. Excessive speed not only increases the risk of collision, but in the case of a collision, increases the severity of injuries sustained. By enforcing speed limits, we aim to make our roads safer for all road users.

Tackling speeding through enforcement is just one element of our Force's overall casualty reduction strategy that also encompasses education.

Useful contacts

Click here for our contact details.

 

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