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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69364
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have just been given two applications of a driver

Customer Question

I have just been given two applications for details of a driver by the police. One addressed to me and one addressed to my son. I have a couple of questions
1. The letter is dated 16th Feb but was only given to me today 1st March. They also gave me one for my son who does not live here. I told them I was unlikely to see him but they left it here anyway. It says I need to return it completed within 28days or may face prosecution. Although the letter is dated 16th feb I only got it today. The alleged incident took place on 25th September. I understand they only have 6months to request a summons from the courts from the date of the incident. I expect that is why they have put the date down as 25th September rather than 1st March?
2. At the time of the incident I was in Scotland, not England, with a DCI from the local force! I do not absolutely know who was driving as I was not present so cannot categorically say. How do I complete the form of I do not know who was driving.
3. What happens if I cannot get hold of my son to hand him his form?
4. The vehicle had just been bought so was not registered in my name at the time of the incident.
Can you help?.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Who is the registered keeper?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
It would be me although the paperwork was never completed so it would have been someone in Yorkshire, I live in norfolk
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have the V5 I just hadn't had time to complete it
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Ok.1 I'm not sure what you mean by this? I thought the letter was dated the 16 th? 2 The law doesn't require you to know off hand. It requires you to investigate and ascertain the name of the driver. With moderate effort it is usually possible to say who was driving a private car. 3 Not your problem. It is not your responsibility. It is for him to keep tabs on his post. 4 That will just mean the 14 day rule does not apply as you were not the registered keeper at the time. They would have sent the original NIP to the registered keeper. However, they do have to have the speeding matter in court within six months. They are probably hoping that you will fail to identify so that time will start to run from the date of issue of the S172 form. Can I clarify anything for you? Jo
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Yes, it was not a speeding matter, the car bumped into a vacuum cleaner in a petrol station and an off duty police officer was present which is why it seems to have gone down this route. The letter is dated the 16th Feb but I was only made aware of it today, 1st March. Does my 28 days to return it start from today of 16th March?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
My son does not live here so would not have seen the letter. He is currently travelling. I don't want him to get a summons for something he has no control over
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry the I meant does my 28 days start from today or 16th Feb
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
In principle, it starts from the date of issue. If you have a post marked envelope then you could argue that the date of issue is incorrect although it is an argument that I wouldn't become involved in.There must be some evidence against your son. It might be the barest suspicion but there must be something to suggest he might know who the driver was. If so, they must have got the address from somewhere.If you can't get hold of him then they could prosecute him. He may have a defence on the basis that it wasn't practicable for him to respond. There is case law that a person abroad should keep tabs on their post in the UK but if it has gone to address other than his then he might be in a better position.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The letter was hand delivered by an officer today. I was considering emailing the officer to make it clear the form was only delivered today?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
That wouldn't be a bad idea.If you respond in the next two weeks then it will be a point that falls away for you but it might be important for your son.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Also, it look like if I do not complete the form then the only prosecution that can befall either myself or my son is 6 points and a fine?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
That is right. The penalty for failing to identify is 6 points and a fine.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok, what does "a point that falls away for you" mean?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
It doesn't matter. You would have complied with either date.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Will it not also mean that they will be outside of their 6 month timescale to take it to court for them to issue a sumons? The incident was in 25th Sept, that would give them to the 25th March to put it before the court. The letter is dated 16th Feb which means I would need to respond by 15th March giving them time to put it before the court before 25th March. If I can show the date it was delivered was 1st March them the 28days would take it to 28th March making it past the 6 months deadline?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
They are not outside of it if there is no response to the S172 request. Then turn would run from the date of service.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
If I get them to acknowledge the de livery date was 1st March, then respond, would it take them outside their timescale?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Oh, I think I see what you are saying. My option is to either respond or not. The 6 months runs from the date the letter was delivered is, from 1st March to 1st September. If I respond and say I know who was driving they will be prosecuted for whatever it is the police are considering, if I do not respond both myself and my son may get 6 points and a fine?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Yes, their hope will be that you will fail to respond allowing them to prosecute for failing to identify.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Do you think they have no evidence to charge so are trying to get us to give them a name or do you think they know who was driving and are trying for some reason to prosecute everyone? Initially they thought it was my son and said they were going to issue a sumons which never arrived and has clearly not been issue
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Yes, they could have some evidence.S172 allows them to plug up that gap though by placing the onus upon you to name the driver which is probably their game.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok, I was not there so I am going to send the form back with a letter saying I was not in the country at the. Time but on holiday in Scotland so cannot categorically identify the driver. I will also email the officer to say the forms only arrived today to give my son a bit more time to respond. They have the address for him completely wrong though. So worse case scenario is 6 points and a fine?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Yes, they may summons you for failing to identify.Then it will be for you to satisfy the court that you could not find out who was driving with reasonable diligence.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
One last question Jo, is a petrol station forecourt considered a public highway?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Yes it would be a public place during opening hours Im afraid.

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