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Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)

Where a driving offence has been committed (such as driving carelessly, or speeding) the law requires that you get fair notice that you are going to be prosecuted. This is to allow you to gather your evidence and make a note of what happened. It would be unfair to spring a prosecution on you six months after an incident when your memory of events has faded and your evidence has vanished. As a result, the police are required to warn you that you will be prosecuted. They can warn you at the time of the offence by telling you that you may be prosecuted.

NIP – By Post

Where the police do not speak to you personally at the time, they can put this warning on paper and send it to you within 14 days. Usually this warning will be a document headed “Notice of Intended Prosecution”, called a NIP for short. It should state the nature of the offence (for example Speeding) together with the time, date and place, so you know exactly what is being referred to. However, where the police do not warn you, or send out a NIP within 14 days, that can be crucial to your case: without fair notice there can be no prosecution.

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Which offences require the police to issue a NIP?

The police do not always need to warn you that you will be prosecuted or give you a NIP. It depends on the offence.  These offences require a NIP or verbal warning:

Do the police always need to issue a NIP for these offences?

The answer is no.  If you are cautioned and charged at the time of the offence, that counts as your warning. If the police sent the Notice of Intended Prosecution to the registered keeper within 14 days, then that counts as your warning too, however unfair that may be.

There is a huge amount of misinformation about the Notice of Intended Prosecution procedure and NIP defences on the web, even from sources which should be accurate. If you would like an informal discussion, free of charge, about how the rules apply to your case, please be in touch.

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