Notice of Intended Prosecution and the 14 day Time Limit

Late and Defective Notices of Intended Prosecution

If a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) is defective or late, you may have a defence to the original offence.

The Notice must:

  • Specify the date, place and nature of the alleged offence
  • Be properly served

NIPs are not required for all offences and are not required in certain circumstances. Please see the NIP Exceptions section below.

Our solicitors can advise you about defective Notices of Intended Prosecution. Please read the information on this page. If you are still unsure about whether it has been served correctly and within time, get advice today.


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Requests for Driver Information

The Notice of Intended Prosecution is usually combined with a request for driver information. This request is sometimes referred to as a s.172 Notice.

Although the request for driver details is usually included on the same piece of paper as the NIP, there are important differences between the two. There is no time limit for service of a request for driver details. Contact us if you have received a Single Justice Procedure Notice and been accused of failing to give driver details.

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Notice of Intended Prosecution Legal Summary


When is a NIP Required?


Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 requires that for certain offences:

  • The defendant must have been warned at the time of the possibility of prosecution for the offence; or
  • The defendant must have been served with the summons within 14 days of the offence; or
  • Notice of the possibility of the prosecution must have been sent by the prosecutor within 14 days of the offence either to the driver or to the registered keeper of the vehicle.

Which Offences Require an NIP?

The police are not required to serve a notice for allegations of using a mobile phone or handheld device while driving. Notices are not required for driving without insurance or driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.


How Must an NIP be Sent?

Section 1(1A) of the 1988 Offenders Act requires that a notice required by this section may be served upon a person:

  • By delivering it to him
  • By addressing it to him and leaving it at his last known address, or
  • By sending it by registered post, recorded delivery service or first class post, addressed to him at his last known address.

The Police most commonly send notices by first class post. It is rare for them to use any other method.

"The 14 day time limit only applies to the first NIP the Police send out. This will usually be to the person or company named on the logbook (V5C)"

NIP Exceptions

If any of the following apply there would be no requirement for a notice to be served on you within 14 days.

• You were stopped by police at the time of the alleged offence;
• You were involved in an accident;
• You are not the registered keeper of the vehicle.

If you have recently moved address or purchased a new vehicle, there could be a delay with DVLA updating its records. This may explain any apparent delay as it is possible the original NIP was sent to the previous registered keeper or address. You should check with DVLA when it updated your details.



Notices of Intended Prosecution FAQs

What is the Time Limit for receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

Where the police are required to serve a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), the prosecution only needs to prove that they posted it so that you should receive it within 14 days. The police must serve the notice on either the driver or the registered keeper.

If your defence is that you did not receive it within this timescale, the onus is on you to prove it on the balance of probabilities.

The 14-day requirement only applies to the first NIP sent. If the vehicle is a company car, the police will send the first notice to the registered keeper, i.e. the company within 14 days. If the company then identifies you as the driver, a second notice may be sent out to you, but the 14-day rule will not apply.

There is a presumption of good service where a notice is sent by first class post. However, it is a rebuttable presumption which means that:

Where notice has been sent by first class post to the last known address of the person, so that it could have been delivered within 14-days of the alleged offence, proper service is deemed to have taken place unless the contrary is proved.

There is a presumption that letters sent by post will be delivered in the “ordinary course of the post”. For first-class mail, that is the second working day after posting.

What if I didn't receive the Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days?

Failure to comply with the 14 day NIP requirement means that there cannot be a conviction for the offence to which it relates. You should be aware that if the police stopped you at the time of the alleged offence or there was an accident, there is no need for a notice.

There are a couple of exceptions, including where the police could not with reasonable diligence ascertain either the driver’s or the registered keeper’s identity in time for the police to serve a notice.

Once the prosecution has shown that they posted the NIP in time, the burden of proof will shift to you to show that you didn’t receive it.

How do I Prove that I Didn't Receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

It’s easy to prove that you received something, but difficult to prove you did not. 

Remember, what matters is whether the notice was served at your last known address – usually the one on your vehicle logbook. It does not necessarily matter whether you personally received the notice. 

The court will often determine this question at trial. You will have to give evidence that you did not receive the notice. Courts may be sceptical of this defence, so you have to deal with it carefully. The reason is that some people view this argument as a ‘loophole’ which allows drivers to avoid responsibility for an offence.

The police apply speed limits very strictly, so courts should apply time limits strictly too. However, Courts are sometimes reluctant to acquit drivers on what they deem to be a technicality, even though it is a perfectly valid defence. Speak to us if you are considering using this argument.

What if I Forgot to Update My Vehicle Logbook (V5C) Address When I Moved House?

Forgetting to update your logbook when you move address is a common mistake. Often people change the address on their driving licence, but not on their logbook. Sometimes people forget to change their address with their insurers too.

Unfortunately, the NIP will be sent to the registered keeper’s last known address. This is usually the address on the V5C. It does not matter if you did not personally receive the Notice if it was served correctly.

At the point that the initial NIP and request for driver details are sent out, the police do not usually know who was driving.  For this reason, the last known address is usually taken from the logbook or insurance documentation. It would be unusual for the police to check the records against those on the registered keeper’s driving licence.

As a result, many people face prosecution and the prospect of 6 points for failing to provide driver details due to an innocent administrative error.  If you find yourself in this position, you really should get some advice before entering your plea. Even if you were not the driver of the vehicle involved in the original traffic offence eg. speeding, the court could still find you guilty of failing to give driver details. If you are convicted after a trial, you may have to pay several hundred pounds in prosecution costs as well as receiving 6 penalty points. Speak to us today if you are unsure what to do.

What if the Details on the Notice of Intended Prosecution are Wrong?

It depends what the error on the Notice of Intended Prosecution is.

The courts will generally no longer allow minor typographical errors to prevent a prosecution from succeeding. The general test is whether you are disadvantaged by the error.

The purpose of the NIP is to alert a driver shortly after the incident of an alleged offence. The recipient should have a better chance of being able to provide accurate information about the driver and the event itself. Your memory will be better nearer the time.

If for example, the Notice did not adequately specify the ‘place’ of the offence, you could have a defence.

If you think that your Notice is defective, please give us a call or fill out our contact form.

If I didn't Receive the Notice of Intended Prosecution Because I was Away From Home, Will I Have a Defence?

If you did not receive the Notice of Intended Prosecution or NIP because you were on holiday, you would not have a defence. The issue is whether the notice was served correctly to the registered keeper’s last known address. 

If you intend to be away from home for a lengthy period, make arrangements to deal with your mail. You should arrange for the post office or a responsible person to redirect or forward your mail. 

Do you need help protecting your driving licence?

Talk to us today about how we can help you with your driving offence.

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Mission DanMission Dan
09:07 25 Jun 22
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hayley smithhayley smith
12:14 15 Jun 22
Lucy was extremely thorough , professional and very emphatic. She always took the time to make everything totally clear and gave excellent guidance throughout.My son was facing a charge of death by dangerous driving. His sentenced was reduced to a suspended one with the help of Lucy and her teams expertise.This is a rare outcome.We are enormously grateful for her support and patience throughout the case, and can not recommend her highly enough!
Atanas CAtanas C
18:51 26 May 22
Just out of few miles.As we wheel around we do step at times on the lines labelled as traffic law. You could be fine at the moment but the sweet moment does not last. Out of just a few miles, the minute problem starts snowballing to a self-unmanageable level. Paper from traffic police paper from the court, bitter mouth, the clock is ticking and nothing sensible comes to mind of what to write to the court rep. When a problem starts simmering and climes we tend to run out of fit ideas. Some call it panicking and I agree. Pragma law has a different set of remedies for similar situations. And I am sharing this from experience. Lucy from Pragma listened to my story and said the problem is not as big as my mixed at the time mind thought it was. ‘’Leave with me and answer my emails timely and don’t worry’’ she said. Six weeks later I was out of the mud. Just like that, …out of a few miles.
Combe ClovisCombe Clovis
09:51 26 May 22
I just want to say thank you so much for your support for your help and advice, I really appreciate your services I was panicking, i couldn't sleep for properly because the thoughts l couldn't imagine losing my licence or getting banned for 6 months because l drive for living getting banned for 6 months means loosing my income for 6 months therefore loosing my home and get into really hardship so I really appreciate prgma low and special thanks to Mr David swingler who was there for me and advice me and defend my case really well and win the case for me instead of 6 months disqualification I got 14 days this for me it was big win thanks to David Swingler and Pragma Low.
Ismail KhanIsmail Khan
15:13 03 May 22
Very diligent, professional and helpful. Lucy prioritised us as our case was time-sensitive and was very prompt and accessible at all times whenever we needed to communicate with her. She helped us get the best possible outcome. Highly recommended!
Neil BrittonNeil Britton
14:33 23 Apr 22
Their pricing is less than that of other specialists.David did a great job of defending me in court.They communicated well and went out of their way to help.Couldn't recommend these solicitors enough.10/10
Michael GillespieMichael Gillespie
17:09 21 Apr 22
Fantastic service and representation. Great result.
Fahd The REAPER MoenisFahd The REAPER Moenis
19:24 20 Feb 22
Lucy is really professional and i was so relaxed and happy to deal with her
shaun allmanshaun allman
17:51 02 Feb 22
Great service, communication and informative with all the advice given to me. Very much will recommend to all my family and friends should they ever need a trustworthy and professional solicitor to help with advice and proceedings with motoring offences.
Filip Rares-NicolaeFilip Rares-Nicolae
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Absolutely amazing from start to finish.Was extremely worried about a situation I had got myself in.Was a very very nervous time for me as losing my license would have meant I lost everything including my job.Pragma Law team was helpful, professional, clear and thorough from the outset.It was Lucy Whitaker who represented me in court and I cant stress enough how fantastic she was in that court room. I received the best possible outcome and kept my license. Without her I would of undoubtedly lost my license.As far as I am concerned this was a one off and will never ever happen again, however if I ever was in any situation of this kind in the future there is no where else I would turn.Can not recommend highly enough!
a tanasa tanas
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Joseph PaynterJoseph Paynter
16:18 12 Nov 21
I recently had a case involving an E-Scooter, unfortunately I committed an offence that I didn't even know was illegal. I contacted Pragma Law after reading reviews and outcomes of similar cases, and was put into contact with Lucy Whitaker. Lucy was very professional throughout the whole process, and was very realistic with me about my outcome from the initial phone call. The consultation was extremely through and well carried out, and Lucy was always available to contact if I had any questions. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome from the court after Lucy's representation- from the potential of a suspended sentence reduced to a ban on the lower end of the range, and without a community order. In the court room Lucy was very good at explaining to the Magistrates that the seriousness of the case was nothing like what the sentencing guidelines were designed to punish for (driving a car) and this is what got my punishment reduced. The prices are reasonable, and transparent from the initial phone call with no hidden costs. Would definitely recommend.
Tim NVTim NV
14:43 14 Oct 21
Was really impressed with PL and Lucy. Was given great advice (which I wouldn’t have been able to obtain without guidance) throughout the whole process. Every time we communicated over the phone it was followed up with a written email with actions, next steps etc. was also fortunate enough to work with her colleague David too who represented my case where I avoided a ban of 6 months.
Abi CorsiAbi Corsi
16:39 14 Sep 21
Lucy is the best lawyer I could have possibly found. I unexpectedly received a letter from the police who at the time intended to prosecute me for driving an electric scooter without insurance, and without a license. I was terrified as if found guilty, I would receive 6 penalty points and would have lost my drivers license. Other solicitors I called said unfortunately there was nothing they could do. Lucy on the other hand immediately reassured me and wrote a letter to the police which persuaded them to drop the charges completely. I honestly can’t recommend her enough. Thank you Lucy!
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Jobin Mathew JosephJobin Mathew Joseph
18:11 25 Nov 20
Absolutely brilliant! 100 percent reliable! The case was related to driving matter and I had initially approached few other solicitors for help with my case. They all denied saying we would not win the case. But Lucy happily took the case and help me win the case with the best possible outcome.She puts you at ease and confidence. Very responsive in your queries. She genuinely care for case and very pleasant to deal with. Always well prepared and wins you the best possible outcome. Very Very Strongly recommend. Thanks much Lucy.
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11:12 05 Nov 20
I highly recommend Pragma Law for any motoring problem. They were very efficient and professional even with little time to prepare.
A Google User
A Google User
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15:45 15 Jun 20
I suffer with anxiety (as many) and this incident completely took over my life for months until I met Lucy. I was super comfortable and confident in her work as she was very professional and was always available to help. Really helped take the stress away - thanks Lucy and thanks Pragma!
Wayne DaviesWayne Davies
14:51 08 Jun 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much Lucy.
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13:59 19 May 20
Lucy genuinly cares about her clients she took on my case dealt with everything herself and won my case I couldn't be happier with the results and the service. I will definitely be using Pragma Law again if needs be.
Vicky ClarkeVicky Clarke
20:16 03 Mar 20
I couldn't have hoped for a better solicitor. Lucy did everything she could to get the best possible outcome for me, and I can't thank her enough
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17:19 31 Jan 20
Lucy Whitaker provided an impressive, cost effective service. She was objective, responded quickly to questions and, I believe, offered the best advice before efficiently dealing with a case as it came to court.I would have no hesitation either in using Lucy again, should the need arise, or recommending her services.
Rebecca HodkinsonRebecca Hodkinson
16:33 19 Nov 19
Lucy represented me in a driving case and I couldn't be happier. She was friendly, professional and pragmatic without giving me false hope. The outcome was a more positive one than I expected and that's down to her advice and detailed preparations. Would highly recommend! Thank you Lucy!
Gary SykesGary Sykes
22:12 04 Oct 19
We were so impressed with Lucy Whitaker. She represented our son in an unusual driving case which thanks to her knowledge, care & understanding, ended in a much better than expected outcome. Clear, concise & professional, we highly recommend her... can't thank her enough!!

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