FAQs Offence Tickets and Processes
Q - I think I have been caught what happens next?
If you have, or think you have been caught by a speed or red light camera, the registered keeper of the vehicle (as registered on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Association (DVLA) database) will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) from Dorset Police within 14 days of the alleged offence.
The NIP will ask the registered keeper of the vehicle to confirm the identity of the driver at the time of the offence.
Important - if you elect another driver do not pass the NIP to them, you must complete part 2 of the NIP with the full details of the nominated driver at the time of the offence and return it to the Central Ticket Office at Dorset Police within 28 days (to the address given). The Central Ticket Office will then send a new NIP to the driver you nominated.
If you are not nominating another driver and wish to contest the offence in court, there is the option on the NIP to elect a court hearing.
If the NIP is received by us within the given 28 days with the driver admission, then the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence will be sent a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (COFP) or if the offence falls within the strict criteria, the driver may receive an offer to attend a Driver Awareness Scheme course (DAS).
You will not be sent a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (COFP) if;
- At the time of committing an offence the drivers licence already has 9 points on it or the Driver Awareness Course is not applicable.
- The speed was excessive (26mph or more above the signed limit),
- If it was a red light offence and the red light had been illuminated for 3 second or more the driver will be dealt with directly by the Magistrates' Court and will not receive a COFP.
The course costs £110 but no penalty points/endorsement will be received. For speed and red light offences click Driver Awareness Thresholds to see if the offence is within the parameters of the DAS Scheme.
The COFP offers the driver at the time of offence the opportunity of accepting a fixed penalty notice of £60 and accepting 3 points on their licence.
To summarise: once a driver has admitted to being the driver at the time of the offence they normally* have 3 options:
1. Elect a court hearing
2. Elect to accept a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (COFP)
3. If they meet the strict criteria they may be offered the opportunity of attending a DAS course
If the driver chooses not to accept the COFP, the matter will be referred to the courts. If found guilty by a magistrate, the driver may have to pay court costs, plus up to the maximum penalty of £1000, receive between 3-6 points on their licence and possible disqualification.
*If at the time of committing an offence, the drivers licence already has 9 points on it and the Driver Awareness Course is not applicable. Click to view Driver Awareness Thresholds and/or the speed was excessive (26mph or more above the signed limit), the driver will be dealt with directly by the Magistrates' Court and will not receive a COFP.
Warning: Failure to provide information to identify the driver could result in the prosecution of the registered keeper of the vehicle with a maximum financial penalty of £1000, an endorsement of 6 penalty points on their licence and possible disqualification.
Any enquires relating to a NIP or COFP must only be directed to the following address:
Central Ticket Office
NOTE: It has been confirmed by the Information Commissioners Office that questions submitted regarding an offence WILL NOT delay the prosecution process.
The prosecution process as detailed on this website for traffic offences comply with all current legislation including : Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE), Criminal Procedure & Investigations Act, European Human Rights, Data Protection Act & Freedom of Information Act.
Q - Can I challenge the alleged offence in Court?
Yes. You can elect a court hearing by completing Part 1b of the NIP
Q - Will I be offered education courses instead of points?
The offer of a Driver Awareness Scheme (DAS) course is a decision made by the DAS office on behalf of Dorset Police once the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence has been established. Strict criteria must be met before any DAS course is offered.
If you wish to take part in the Driver Awareness Course, you only need to tick this option on the Notice Of Intended Prosecution
What happens next?
If an individual is eligible for a DAS course, they will receive an offer letter from the DAS office. If you wish to decline the course, this will need to be indicated on the DAS offer letter. The case will then be referred back to the Central Ticket Office where a Fixed Penalty (which consists of a fine of £60 and 3 penalty points) or court hearing offer will be made. The matter may result in a summons to court if the fixed penalty process is not complied with.
Q - I do not live in Dorset, can I attend a course local to me?
No. Currently we are unable to offer our course outside of Dorset.
We will endeavour to accommodate courses around previous commitments as long as they
are notified to us on the initial acceptance form.
However, we do have strict timescales in which you must attend a course. If in doubt, please
contact the Driver Awareness Scheme (DAS) Office on 01305 227670.
Q - I have been told that there is no requirement to sign the Notice of Intended Prosecution
The registered keeper of a vehicle has a responsibility under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to supply the name and address of the person who was driving their vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. To validate the information you have supplied, you need to sign the form. If you do not sign it, you will not be deemed to have supplied the information and you could face prosecution for failing to supply the information. This may result in the court imposing a higher penalty (including points) than would been incurred from the fixed penalty procedure.
Q - What happens if I ignore a Notice of Intended Prosecution?
If you do not respond within 28 days of the date of the notice you may be prosecuted for failing to provide information. If no response is received, a Police Officer may call at the registered keeper’s address and serve the papers personally. If there is still no response to the Notice at this stage the matter will be forwarded to the courts and, if the defendant is found guilty, the penalty points and fines can be considerably more severe. Any attempt to give false information is an offence and will result in criminal proceedings.
Q - Are the Police really going to waste a Court's time with this if I do not pay the Fixed Penalty?
It is the duty of the Police to bring alleged offences before the courts. You have every right to have your case heard and this will in no way be regarded as a waste of courts time. Please be aware if you feel that there were mitigating circumstances, you should complete the documentation electing a court hearing and attach a letter of explanation, which will be included as evidence in a potential court file. The Central Ticket Office staff are not able to give legal advice.
You will have the right to elect a court hearing when you make your admission as being the driver of the vehicle, if you request the matter to be heard in court you will not receive an offer of a Driver Awareness course or a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty. A court summons will be issued in due course. If you are found guilty, the magistrates will determine any fine and penalty points awarded. You may also have to pay court costs.
Q - Am I entitled to view the evidence before going to Court?
Dorset Road Safe has made available on this website the procedures and options available to a person committing a traffic offence. Prosecution for any Road Traffic Offence is the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not Dorset Road Safe. There are already established procedures in place for disclosure (documentation relevant to the said offence) when appropriate during the judicial process. Advance disclosure or a defence case statement under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act can provide appropriate evidence in confidence to the appropriate concerned parties. An offender or their defence council may apply for disclosure from the CPS and this is standard practice in law. A Freedom of Information Act request is not the correct process to use for such matters; publication under the Act is unrestricted and will always pose a real risk to the judicial process.
Q - Can I see photographic evidence of the alleged offence?
Yes, if you write to The Central Ticket Office at the address at the top of the Notice requesting a copy of this evidence, this will be sent to you.
The purpose of the photographs is to identify the vehicle and will not necessarily identify who was driving at the time of the offence. It is the registered keepers responsibility to name who was driving the vehicle.
A charge for this service may be levied to cover administration costs.
Q - I think there is a mistake on the Notice of Intended Prosecution, what should I do?
A mistake on a Notice of Intended Prosecution does not automatically invalidate it. If you think there may be a mistake on the notice you have received, you should contact the Central Ticket Office immediately either via the telephone 01305 227549 or via the post at the address shown on the Notice.
Q - What is a conditional offer?
This gives the driver the opportunity of settling the matter without having to go to court. The fine is currently £60 and the driver will also have three penalty points added to their driving licence. Please remember – the offender will be required to produce their driving licence and it is therefore their responsibility to ensure that it is current and valid.
You will need to provide both parts of your driving licence (photo card and counterpart) OR the old style driving licence with your payment and conditional offer within the 28 days.
If the address is not correct on the drivers licence it should still be sent with your payment.
NOTE: a conditional offer will not be offered if there are already 9 or more points held on the licence or if the vehicle is traveling at excessive speed (26mph or more above the signed limit) at the time of the offence.
Q - I wasn't driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence, what do I do?
If you were not the driver but are the registered keeper of the vehicle, it is your duty to return the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to the address shown on the NIP with full details of who was driving at the time of the offence.
The vehicle owner has a legal obligation under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to supply this information.
The nominated driver will then receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution in his/her own name. Failure on the part of the registered keeper to provide information on the identity of the driver at the time of an offence could result in prosecution with a maximum financial penalty of £1000, an endorsement of 6 penalty points and possible driving disqualification.
A person who knowingly provides the Police with false information as to the driver of their vehicle or the whereabouts of their vehicle commits a crime of attempting to pervert the course of justice or perverting the course of justice. This is a far more serious crime than the original offence and can carry a prison sentence.
Q - I have received a NIP but I've sold this vehicle - what should I do?
You will need to complete Part 2 of the Notice of Intended Prosecution with the name and address of the person you sold the vehicle to so a Notice of Intended Prosecution can be issued in his/her name. Remember that it is your responsibility as the previous owner to notify the DVLA of any change in ownership of the vehicle, failure to do so is an offence and can result in a fine.
Please note that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) from time to time have a delay in updating records so this should be taken into account.
Q - I have received a NIP but my vehicle was stolen at the time of the alleged offence - what should I do?
You will need to write to the Central Ticket Office at the address shown at the top of the Notice Of Intended Prosecution giving a crime reference number issued to you by the police at the time you reported the vehicle stolen.
Q - I was driving a company vehicle at the time of the offence
The registered keeper of a vehicle has a legal obligation under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to provide the identity of the driver at the time of an alleged offence. This also applies to a company, which will be named as the registered keeper of a vehicle. You should not complete the Notice, the Company Secretary/Director should complete Part 2 of the Notice nominating you as the driver. You will then be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution in your own name which you should complete and return. You are strongly advised to keep records of the use of company owned vehicles.
Q - I have received and Notice of Intended Prosecution but I don't know who was driving?
Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 places a legal responsibility on the registered keeper of a vehicle to supply the name and address of the driver of a vehicle at the time of an alleged offence. Failure to complete and return the form may result in the registered keeper being prosecuted for failing to provide the information. You are strongly advised to keep a record of who is driving your vehicle at all times. Failure to identify the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence will result in the matter being referred to the courts.
Q - There were mitigating circumstances, what should I do?
You should complete the documentation electing a court hearing and attach a letter of explanation which will be included as evidence in a potential court file. The Central Ticket Office is not able to consider mitigating circumstances or give legal advice.
Q - I hold a foreign driving licence, what should I do?
If you hold a licence that is not issued by the DVLA Swansea, UK, you can still take part in the Fixed Penalty or Driver Awareness Scheme if you meet the strict criteria. You will need to respond to the NIP in the usual manner as outlined above, however, if your offence does not meet the criteria for DAS, a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty will be issued you and you will be required to submit a copy of your foreign licence with your payment.
Q - Why hasn’t the Notice been served within 14 days?
You are probably not the recorded/registered keeper of the vehicle as held on the DVLA database. The law states that a Notice of Intended Prosecution must be posted to reach the registered keeper of the vehicle, as recorded by DVLA, within 14 days after the date of the offence. The law states that first class post is an acceptable method for the serving of a Notice of Intended Prosecution, with the expectation of next day delivery.
You have a legal obligation to respond to the Notice within 28 days, either by;
1. Stating you were the driver at the time of the offence
2. Nominating another driver, providing the person’s full name and address details
3. Nominating a new or previous keeper, providing the person’s full name and address details
4. Requesting a Court Hearing (if applicable)
Q - How many points do I get on my licence if I accept a Fixed Penalty how much is the fine?
Currently a Fixed Penalty carries 3 penalty points and the fixed fine is £60.
Q - I have received a NIP and I already have 9 penalty points on my licence what should I do?
If you were the driver at the time of the offence and receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution you should complete the form in full and return it to the Central Ticket Office at Dorset Police. If you already have 9 points on your driving licence and you meet the criteria for a Driver Awareness Course you may be offered this option. If you decline this option with 9 valid points on your driving licence you will not be eligible to take part in the fixed penalty process and the matter will be referred to court.
Q - How long will the penalty points remain on my driving licence?
Penalty points for speeding and red light violations are valid for three years from the date of the offence, but must remain on your licence for four years.
If you are a new driver under the New Drivers Act your driving licence will be revoked if you build up six or more penalty points within the first two years of passing your first driving test. This means you will need to reapply for your driving licence as a learner driver and re-sit your driving test.
If you have been driving for over 2 years since passing your driving test and incur 12 or more penalty points within a three-year period, you face disqualification.
For more information about driving licence endorsements, contact the DVLA by visiting http://www.dvla.gov.uk
Q - Can I pay my Fixed Penalty fine by instalments?
There is no facility for paying the Fixed Penalty by instalments as this is a Fixed Penalty and payment must be made in full. If you are having difficulty making payment please write to The Central Ticket Office where an extension for making the payment may be granted at their discretion, no guarantee can be made that an extension will be granted.
Q - Do I have to declare my penalty points to my insurance company?
You are strongly advised to inform your insurance company of any points or penalties you may receive. Failure to do so could invalidate your insurance. Driving without insurance is a serious offence.
Q - What happens if I change my mind during the process?
If the admission has been received and a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (COFP) issued in exceptional circumstances you have the opportunity to request a court hearing. However, an admission is a signed legal document stating that you were the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence and therefore should only be completed if a person is sure that they were the driver. Once this form has been completed there should be no reason to change your mind. Perverting the course of justice is an offence and one that the courts take extremely seriously.
Q - What happens if I change my mind after I accept the fixed penalty?
Once the fixed penalty has been accepted, the payment made and the points endorsed on your driving licence, the matter is closed.