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Ask Jo C. Your Own Question

Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69261
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi I was issued a fixed penalty charge and 3 points on my licence

Customer Question

Hi I was issued a fixed penalty charge and 3 points on my licence I already have 9 points so I wrote a letter to police to see if there was anyway I could be given speed awareness as losing my licence would be tuff with 3 small children when I posted the letter I realised it may not of been me driving I phoned to police to look at the photo and see if it is me or my boyfriend but the picture is behind we are nearly certain it was my partner as that's not a usual journey of mine will the police except this now? I really can't loose my licence especially if there's a chance it's not even me and the picture can't show who it is
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Was it really your partner?

You are anonymous on here?

I realise you don't want to be banned but its a lot better than going to prison for perverting the course of justice.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi I can not say either way because he has family that way and I don't but I'm scared to say it was him if it was me. The photo doesn't show either
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, it won't unless its a very high car.

But the obligation is upon you to identify the driver?

What steps have you taken to find out who was driving?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I phoned the police and asked them to look at the photo and have asked for photos to be sent.. The police couldn't see who it was driving
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Bearing in mind that NIPs are issued within 14 days of an offence, it is usually easy enough to find out who was driving on a particular date.

Have you checked your diary?

Retraced the route?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Its been longer then that cause I mis placed the first ticket so had another sent in the post I just filled it in and then posted it of then realised I have 9 points I sent them a letter pleading them realised I don't think it's me.. I'm worried to loose my licence or take points that are not mine
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I am afraid that you misunderstand the law.

Section 172 of the Road traffic act reverses the onus onto you. It does not ask whether you know offhand who was driving. Of course you do not. It does, however, place an obligation upon you to investigate the issue using reasonable diligence and to identify the driver.

With personal vehicles that are usually fairly easy to do is because we can all say with reasonable efforts who was driving our own personal car on any particular day.

“Reasonable diligence" has been considered is by the higher courts and it means doing things like checking your diary, retracing the journey etc.

If you genuinely cannot do so then it is a defence to say that you had used reasonable diligence and cannot say. Sometimes haulage companies are in that position.

Generally speaking, “reasonable diligence" at the magistrates court means doing everything humanly possible. Any imperfection or failing will be used as an excuse to convict you.

Also, you should remember that the law reverses the burden of proof on to you to show, on the balance of probability, that you have used reasonable diligence.

The reversal of the burden of proof has been considered at Europe and has been held the within reasonable limits.

Moreover, if you really cannot identify the driver then you must not guess. That is potentially perverting the course of justice and people go to prison for that.

If you can't identify the driver then you need to use a particular response to bring yourself within the caselaw. You must staple the letter that you write to the nip. Do not use a paperclip. If you do they may seize on that and use it to convict you as they will differentiate it from the leading case. On that letter write the words

“The driver of this vehicle was either

A (name and address)


B (name address)

Obviously, you can only name the 2 genuine candidates.

The case of DPP v Jones says that if you respond in this way it is for the police to investigate which of the 2 candidates are responsible and it gives you a defence to failing to identify.

This case is relatively little-known and if you respond in this way they could charge you with failing to identify. You may have to go to court and argue the point. They will send you some quite intimidating letters. Overall though, if you respond in this way you bring yourself within the caselaw and have a much stronger chance.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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