I have been asked to tell the police who was driving my car but I don’t know; what do I do?
This is a common scenario and something motoring solicitors get asked often.
Typically a car is shared by a husband and wife. The registered owner gets a notice of intended prosecution because the car was flashed by a speed camera.
The couple know it can only have been one of the 2 of them driving but cannot remember who was driving at that time. What can they do?
The law says that the registered owner must identify the driver. The police must send the Notice of Intended prosecution to the registered owner within 14 days. If they have done that then it is easier for the owner to remember who was driving. It is easier but the reality of life is that it is not always possible. Can you remember where you were at 9:47am 11 days ago? This is a source of frustration for lots of clients. Where husband and wife equally share the driving how are they to remember?
You can ask for a photo to see if it helps identify the driver but more often than not it does not help.
The case becomes even more difficult if for some reason the initial Notice of Intended Prosecution does not arrive. The police have posted it but it got lost. Now the couple may get a reminder, this might be some 6 weeks after the event. Now try and remember who was driving on that unremarkable trip 6 weeks ago.
The temptation is just to name one of you, pick a name, any name. The risk with that is that if you were wrong and if it was proved that you were wrong it could be said that you have perverted the course of justice.
The alternative is to do all that you can to co-operate with the police. Tell them that you cannot identify the driver, explain why. You will probably get a summons for failing to give the drivers details.
If you can show to the court that you have done all you can to find out who was driving but cannot then that is a defence. It is a matter for the court to decide whether they accept that you have done all you can so keep a not of enquiries you have made.
The courts are reluctant to find people not guilty in these sort of cases because it is easy for people to just make it up but a well prepared application properly presented can often be successful. You will need to show that you have made all reasonable enquiries.
I would advise that you contact a motoring solicitor as soon as possible once you have received the Notice of Intended Prosecution so that they can guide you through what needs to be done.