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I have just received a single justice procedure notice for speeding at 47mph in a 40mph area that was captured on fixed speed camera. I was initially sent a NIP in December following the offence in November. As the car is used extensively by myself and my girlfriend I am genuinely unsure as to who was driving. I requested the photographs that also give no indication as to the driver at the time. I contacted the CCTV department at my local authority to see if they had any CCTV of my vehicle in the area at the time and they stated they did not. I communicated all this to the police at the time and stated that even though I cannot be sure as to which one of us it was that was driving I would accept responsibility as the vehicle is mine. Today I have received this SJPN for not naming the driver and for speeding? Any advice?
The Rookie
You snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, if a single driver had been named uneqivocaly then an awareness course would have been offered, due to your sadly misplaced honesty you have committed a worse offence (assuming you don't have a defence).

A simple choice
1/ contest the S172, this will mean convincing a naturally sceptical bench that you could not, with reasonable dilligence, ID the driver - what dilligence did you perform? Loose and you get 6 points and £620 costs and a bigger fine
2/ plead guilty to speeding if the prosecution drop the S172 - this will mean pleading not guilty to both offences now so it's transferred to the magistrates court from the single justice route.
Whilst your 'honesty' can be commended, you've turned a simple matter into a far more complicated one.

You will have to attend court to sort this.

If you wanted to defend the s172 charge then there is a statutory defence that if with reasonable diligence you couldn't name the driver. There's no exact definition of 'reasonable diligence' but it is difficult to convince the bench and the prize for pleading not guilty would be 6 points, a MS90 endorsement that insurers dislike, a fine likely around £500 and costs around £600.

The photo's are the identify the vehicle and the offence and not the driver so this doesn't strictly assist in the 'reasonable diligence'.

The pragmatic advice is to name the most likely driver. Deliberately naming the wrong driver is a different story but not relevant here.
This is almost like bullying me into admitting something I am not sure I even committed? Due to the time passed I honestly cannot recall if it were myself or my partner driving and so requested the pictures. There was nothing there that could identify the driver either. I contacted the local authority CCTV department to see if I could view CCTV of the car in the locality at the said time to identify and they stated that due to the time passed it would not have been saved. I asked my partner and she could not be sure as we often share the car and sometimes I tale it to work and sometimes I get the train and she collects me from the station! I was not deliberately trying to avoid identifying the driver I was just being honest and offered to take responsibility but not sure if it was me at the wheel! They ignored that and now I got this! What the hell should I do, I cannot afford that kind of fine
Your choices have been explained. Fight the s. 172, do a deal and cop the speeding, or plead guilty to the s. 172.
Should I get a lawyer to defend me?

To fight it then do I need to plead not guilty to both and then go to court or do I have to request a court hearing?

This is stressing me out on a big scale I have to say. I am gutted I didn't just say it was me and get it done with....honesty just doesn't pay clearly
The Rookie
How will a Lawyer help, you either have a viable defence or you do not, what dilligence did you perform, did you look at card receipts and mobile phone bills for example? Diaries, commitments, all of these are things you will have been expected to check.

To fight it you plead not guilty to both, they have no evidence at all you were speeding and they won't try and get a conviction for that.
Are you the registered keeper of the vehicle? You seem to imply a 'delay' (November to December) - how long?
Yes I am the registered keeper but the first I was aware was when I received the second notification letter. I have a problem here on occasions where my mail sometimes goes to a similar address and I have theirs. If this happens I just re address it and put it post box.
Once you reply to the letter indicating you plead not guilty to both charges, your case will be transferred from the single justice procedure to a full hearing. Get to court early and ask one of the ushers (people scurrying about with clipboards and possibly gowns getting things organised) to point out to you the prosecutor who will be dealing with traffic matters. Say to him/her that you will plead Guilty to the speeding if they will drop the s.172. We have never heard of prosecutors refusing to do this, they prefer to get a conviction for the underlying offence. If you do not manage to speak to the prosecutor beforehand, you should still be able to do the deal in the courtroom. It is very difficult to do this in advance of the court hearing as you would have trouble speaking to the right person.
QUOTE (roger532 @ Thu, 21 Apr 2016 - 22:54) *
Yes I am the registered keeper but the first I was aware was when I received the second notification letter. I have a problem here on occasions where my mail sometimes goes to a similar address and I have theirs. If this happens I just re address it and put it post box.

This probably explains why you received a SJPN rather than a postal requisition or summons.
Do you think I will get a huge fine and more than 3 points for this if I plead guilty to the one offence at court?
The underlying offence is a low level speeding offence - in the lowest category. At court the guidance is 3 points and 50% of relevant weekly earnings.

However, at court you are subject to costs (£85 for pleading guilty) and a surcharge of 10% of the fine (min £20). You get a 33% discount for a guilty plea on the fine.

There is guidance where they can sentence equivalent to a fixed penalty (3 points £100 no costs):

where a penalty notice was not offered or taken up for reasons unconnected with the offence
itself, such as administrative difficulties, the starting point should be a fine equivalent to the
amount of the penalty and no order of costs should be imposed. The offender should not be
disadvantaged by the unavailability of the penalty notice in these circumstances

Strictly one could argue a fixed penalty would have been offered in your circumstances as the issue was 'administrative' but the court do not have to follow this guidance and may not be minded in the circumstances.

But your problem is the failing to furnish (s172) charge. As already explained you can defend it on the basis that with reasonable diligence you couldn't identify the driver. If they 'believe' you and are credible then you would escape all punishment but you will have to attend court. The price of failure is quite high as I already explained - the Mag's are extremely sceptical of couples using this 'defence' but it can work.

As they have no proof as to who was driving then they cannot normally convict the speeding unless you plead guilty to it. That's where the 'plea bargain' can come into play. Basically, you offer to plead guilty to the underlying offence if they drop the more serious s172 charge. This should only be done if the defendant was driving (or more than likely) and the courts are familiar with this process. But at the moment your charges are in the Single Justice route which is intended for simple guilty pleas and a single Magistrate will sentence accordingly. To get off of this track the not guilty pleas will force the matter back on the traditional court route - see Logician's post #10.
The Rookie
For that speed it will still be three points.

It won't be a huge fine either (unless you are on a big salary, circa 75% of your weekly take home (less a third for guilty plea, or they may reduce it to 25% it's not clear yet) and £85 costs.
It's a Band A offence - guideline 25-75% before discount. (Starting point 50%)
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