Regardless of why you may have been charged with a driving offence, we appreciate the inconvenience this can cause. We’re perfectly placed to defend you should you wish to dispute the charges and avoid a significant fine or disqualification from driving.
The term ‘driving endorsements’ refers to any penalty points that you, as a driver, may receive in regards to a motoring offence. These endorsements, otherwise known as penalty points, are added to your licence and remain there for a set period of time. After this time period ends, the points are removed. These penalty points can remain on your driving record anywhere from four to 11 years.
The number of points you receive will depend on the offence. In most cases, the more serious the offence, the more penalty points you’ll get. For example, if you’re caught speeding, you could receive between three and six points, depending on the extent to which you’ve exceeded the speed limit.
On the other hand, failing to comply with traffic light signals carries a maximum of three penalty points, while driving without insurance carries six to eight points. More serious offences, such as driving under the influence of alcohol carries a mandatory ban or the unauthorised taking of a vehicle a discretionary disqualification.
If you accumulate 12 or more penalty points on your licence within a three year period, you can be disqualified from driving altogether. Your ban could last for six months, one year or even two years depending on how many points you already have on your licence and if you’ve been disqualified from driving in the past.
As long as you’ve fewer than 12 points on your licence, you’re able to continue driving. However, you may be required to inform your employer - especially if you’re supplied with use of a company vehicle as this will impact on the insurance policy.
You’ll also need to declare such endorsements to your own car insurance company. It’s likely that it’ll increase your premium. However, failing to do so could invalidate your policy, which is bad news if you need to file a claim.
If you’re still within two years of passing your driving test and you build up six or more penalty points, you’ll have your licence taken off you (revoked by the DVLA). To get it back, you’ll need to re-apply for a provisional driving licence and you’ll need to retake both your written theory test and practical driving test.
If you’re caught committing certain road traffic offences, the police will give you a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) as the registered owner of the vehicle. This informs you of the driving offence that has been committed, including information such as the time, date and location of where it took place. It also includes the details surrounding the incident. For instance, if you were caught speeding, the NIP will state the speed at which you were travelling.
The NIP may be issued to you verbally by a police officer at the time of offence, or you’ll receive a NIP letter in the post. You must receive the NIP within 14 days otherwise it may become invalid. This is designed to ensure that you, the defendant, have adequate time to consider your options and prepare your legal defence if you so wish.
If you notice that the NIP has mistakes on it, such as an incorrect date of birth or a misspelt name, you can request for a replacement document to be sent. However, major changes, such as to the charge itself, cannot be made.
There are a number of reasons why you may have received a NIP. For example, the police may believe that you’ve committed one of the following offences:
It’s important to note that a NIP is only a warning. It doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically face prosecution.
If you receive a NIP, you’ll need to sign it and return it to the address provided. It’ll also be accompanied by a Section 172 notice. This notice requires you, by law, to provide the details of who was driving at the time of the alleged offence. This must be done within 28 days of receiving it. If you’re unable to provide these details, you’ll need to give as much information as possible about all of the potential drivers, such as their full names, addresses, dates of birth and driving licence numbers.
Once the NIP has been returned, the police have six months to progress your case further. At this point, it’s likely you’ll receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). This is considered to be a conditional offer, and it’s up to you to decide whether you accept it or not. For example, if you are caught speeding, the FPN will consist of a minimum fine of £100 and a three penalty point endorsement.
Alternatively, you may be summoned to court. In some cases, the police may decide to take no further action. After six months has passed, the police are unable to bring any charges against you.
If you don’t agree with the offer you’ve been sent, you’ve the right to dispute it. However, even if you don’t agree with the offence detailed in the NIP, you must still fill out and return the Section 172 notice. Failure to do so is an offence in itself which could result in six penalty points and a fine of up to £1,000.
There are a variety of reasons why you might want to dispute the NIP you’ve received. For instance, you may want to challenge it if you’re being charged for failing to comply with a road sign, but there were incorrect or missing signs at the scene where the offence took place.
In the first instance, you might be able to submit an informal appeal to your local police force by writing a letter explaining why you think you should not be charged. If your local police don’t accept appeals, you could choose to take your case to court. You can do this by filling out the relevant section of your FPN.
Taking your case to court can be a highly stressful and complex process. There’s a specific set of steps you’ll need to follow, so it’s extremely important that you understand these before you get started.
If you want to take your case to court, you can start by getting in touch with the specialists at Slater and Gordon Lawyers. As one of the UK’s leading law firms, we’re here to provide you with the legal representation, support and advice you need to dispute your driving offence charge. Regardless of the details of your situation, we’ll work with you to determine if you’re able to dispute the alleged offence, and should you decide to proceed, we’ll assist you every step of the way.
At Slater and Gordon, our solicitors are highly trained and equipped with the knowledge and resources to review your case, examine the evidence against you and identify whether you’ve a defence. We can then put together a strategy to reach the best possible solution. In some cases, our solicitors can prevent the issuing of penalty points, even if there’s a conviction.
We’ve a wealth of experience in dealing with a variety of traffic related cases. Even if you already have existing points on your licence and you face additional points or a driving ban, we’ll do everything we can to get you the result you’re looking for. We’re realistic and honest, and will let you know how successful we think your case will be to help manage your expectations. Our expert driving offence solicitors are professional yet friendly in their approach, and you can put your trust in us to treat your case with the utmost sensitivity.
If you want to discuss your situation in more detail, contact us today. You can call us on freephone 0808 175 8000. Our lines are open all day, every day. If you’d prefer, you can fill out our online form and we’ll ring you back at a time that suits you.
We’ve offices across the country. You can find us in locations including Manchester, Liverpool, London, Preston, Watford, Sheffield, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff and Edinburgh.