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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 71355
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have just returned from working abroad to find a speeding

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I have just returned from working abroad to find a speeding ticket from mid September. (I was out of the country on the date of the offence.)
It shows the car was speeding at 70 mph in a 60 mph limit
Other people are insured to drive but no one is admitting it was them.
I have done some reading online and see that I can still be taken to court if I fail to identify who was driving.
What are my options?

Hi - what steps have you taken to identify who was the driver?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No more than asking, both deny it was them driving. (It cant have been my wife as we have been in South Africa since the 3rd September)
This is a private car with 3 named drivers plus me as the policy holder.
I'm not really sure what options I have to indicate who it might have been.

well, presumably you would keep some record of who was driving?

who has keys normally? why would they use it? where were they on those days? what enquiry have you made?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
There hasn't been a need to keep records of who drove as its a family car, for private use, the keys are available for whoever needs to drive it.I asked them if they drove the car on 17th November at the time of the offence and neither said they could remember if they had been driving so were not willing to say they were.Unfortunately the notification letters had been addressed to me and were not opened in my absence, so it was something of a surprise to find out I just had a few days remaining to respond or face court proceedings. I'm sure I have mitigating circumstances to answer this, but the issue remains that I am currently unable to respond identifying the driver.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Sorry, 17th September, not Novemnber
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Basically, my plan was to call the Lincolnshire Traffic process team tomorrow and explain my situation, I wanted to understand my options as I don't understand these type of legal matters. And it seems the penalties can be onerous.
I appreciate an offence has been made, and its an absolute offense, but I am at a loss on what the best course of action I should take

S172 RTA reverses the burden of proof onto you.

It does not ask whether you know offhand who was driving. Of course you do not. It places, however, an obligation upon you to investigate the issue using reasonable diligence and to identify the driver. That usually means checking your diary, retracing your steps etc.

If you genuinely cannot do so then it is a defence to say that you have used reasonable diligence and cannot say. Generally speaking 'reasonable diligence' at the Magistrates Court means doing everything humanly possible though. Any imperfection will be used as an excuse to convict you.

In addition, if you really cannot identify the driver then there is a particular response that you should use to bring yourself within the case law. You must STAPLE the letter to the NIP. Do not use a paperclip. They will seize on that if you do 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




Obviously they can only be the two genuine candidates though.

The case of DPP v Jones says that if you respond in that way it is for the police investigate which of the two are responsible and it gives you a defence to failing to identify. They will not do it though.

This case is relatively little know and 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. Its important not to get tempted to give in and just nominate one of you. Obviously that would be unethical. Also, they could prosecute you for a more serious offence if you get it wrong. The case law hasn't really gone in favour of the Crown in this area and they are getting very excited with offences involving public justice as a result.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to advise you truthfully.

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