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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70512
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi there, I have just received a conditional offer of a Fixed

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Hi there, I have just received a conditional offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice for using a mobile phone while driving. The offence happened on June 26, 2013 and while I wasn't using the phone for calls or texts - I did touch the keys to switch off an alarm that had been set. The police pulled me over and said I would probably be given the chance to go to traffic school.

I heard nothing until August 22, 2013 (some eight weeks after the offence) when a neighbour knocked at my door with the fixed penalty notice which had been mailed to the wrong address. Is there any way I can get out of paying this and taking the points based on the fact that it took them 8 weeks to send the notice and that it was sent to the wrong address?? Thanks for your help.

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Do the DVLA have the correct address for this car please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

yes they do

Are you still in time to accept the offer?

Usually 28 days from the date of the offer.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, the offer is dated August 19, 2013 and they have given me 28 days to respond.

Thanks for the information.

I am sorry but I cannot give you good news then. Obviously this is a waste of resources but that doesn’t mean they cannot prosecute it.

I’m afraid that the fact that they have not acted until this time is a non issue. The only two time limits that are fatal in a road traffic offence are the notice of intended prosecution and the date upon which they lay the information.

The rules for NIPS are contained in S1[1]c] Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 which you’ll find here

They must either deliver a NIP verbally at scene or serve it upon the registered keeper within fourteen days of the offence.

In this instance they stopped you at scene so that falls away.

The laying of the information must be within six months to comply with their statutory limit.

When they send out the conditional offers are a non issue. In fact, the conditional fixed penalty has no legal status of itself. It is literally no more than a police offer to deal with this in an administrative way to reduce pressure on the courts. Personally I would never take them as you only get the same number of points at court and there is always the chance they will forget to summons you. That does happen sometimes. The risk is that the financial penalty is higher at court.

I’m afraid that the fact that it went to the wrong address does not assist either as its a non essential document and you got it anyway.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Jo C. and other UK Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That's what I thought - but I'm glad I asked. Thanks for your help.

No problem.

All the best.
The only other point to consider is this.

If you were willing to run the risk of a higher financial penalty then the fact that its taken this long to offer the conditional fixed penalty does eat into their statutory six months.

The incident was in June. They would have to complain by December. They have to give you 28 days which takes them until the end of September and doesn't leave them long.

It might pay off to refuse.