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But I wasn’t the driver! – How Failure to Furnish can affect you

February 1, 2017 by in category Failure To Furnish, News with 0 and 0
Home > News > Failure To Furnish > But I wasn’t the driver! – How Failure to Furnish can affect you
failing to furnish

You may be wondering how you could possibly be prosecuted for something which you didn’t do, nor received information about. The answer to that question is simple, failing to furnish.

How does Failure to Furnish occur?

Failing to furnish most commonly occurs because the proposed offender doesn’t receive the NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution), or the owner of the vehicle in question receives the notice but does not give the name and information of the driver of their vehicle. Whether or not you committed the original offence that is alleged such as speeding is irrelevant, because a conviction for failure to furnish doesn’t rely on you committing the offence, it relies on the valid service of a notice and your lack of response to the request for information about who was driving when an alleged offence was committed.

Under Section 172 subsection (2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 all registered keepers of a vehicle or other people who are alleged to be guilty of an offence must adhere to these rules:

  • a) the person keeping the vehicle shall give such information as to the identity of the driver as he may be required to give by or on behalf of a chief officer of police, and
  • b) any other person shall if required as stated above give any information which it is in his power to give and may lead to identification of the driver.
  • A person shall not be guilty of an offence by virtue of paragraph (a) of subsection (2) above if he shows that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was.

Reasonable diligence means that you acted with fair, proper, and a due degree of care and activity, which is measured against the circumstances you are faced with. So, in the case of failure to furnish, it means that you have made every attempt to inform the police and prosecution of who was driving the vehicle, and have attempted to give all information you know about the matter, regardless if you know who the driver was or not. If you fail to identify a driver then, whether or not you have applied reasonable diligence is something that is usually only decided at court after hearing evidence at a trial.

I wasn’t driving the vehicle, what should I do?

If you receive a NIP and were not the driver of the vehicle, you have 28 days to respond and give the name of the driver of the vehicle. If you are genuinely unsure of who the driver was, you must show to the court that you took reasonable steps to find out the identity of the driver and provide his or her name. However, if you cannot provide the details of the driver due to your own neglect this will not result as a reasonable defence.

What if I didn’t receive my NIP?

This is quite a common occurrence for many people. Many people never receive their NIP in the post. If this is due to improper vehicle registration details, their lack of response will result in their case being prosecuted against them with no defence. Though not receiving it in the post because of improper registration details isn’t a defence, not receiving the NIP through no fault of your own can be defended and usually entails giving evidence that the notice was not received. This defence can be further supported by evidence of a history of postal issues like in the case of MS Anusha Currie. If you did not know about the case and you have been convicted in your absence, it is possible to re-open the case and defend the prosecution. This testimonial of a previous client describes what happened when she found herself in this very situation.

Can I be charged for the offence and Failure to Furnish?

The whole purpose of the offence of failing to furnish is to punish the owner of the vehicle for not giving the details of the driver alleged to have committed the substantive offence. It is highly unlikely that you will be found guilty of both offences. Though prosecutors often prosecute for both fail to furnish and the substantive offence (eg. speeding), with proper legal defence we are usually able to resolve this problem with ease.

Penalties for Failure to Furnish

The penalties of being found guilty of failure to furnish is a financial penalty of up to £1000 and six penalty points. The financial penalty will usually be equivalent to around one and a half times your weekly income.

If a limited company is the registered keeper of the vehicle and falls foul of the law, the penalty will most likely be fine only but we recommend you contact us if a named director appears on any of the paperwork.

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