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DVLA summons - failure to notify


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I would like to ask for advice relating to a DVLA requisition to appear at magistrates' court that I have just received.

 

I should start by stating that I've researched extensively so far, read everything I could find, and require further direction to my circumstances that seem to be quite different. Pretty much all queries on the failure to notify disposal/transfer offences seem to end up involving Section 7 of the Interpretations Act, which unfortunately doesn't apply to my situation.

 

It's become a bit of a long story, so I'll break it down into dates & events:

 

-28th January: Just moved house, sent away V5 to change RK's address of the vehicle to which the alleged offence relates.

 

-2nd March: Part exchanged the vehicle through an independent dealer. I had not received the V5 for the vehicle by this time. The independent dealer stated that they would be able to apply for a replacement V5 for it anyway and were therefore able to complete the transaction for the vehicle I was purchasing, but asked if I could forward the replacement V5 for the part exchanged vehicle when/if it arrived.

 

-8th May: Received a 'Failure to notify disposal of vehicle' from DVLA offering a £35 out of court settlement, increasing to £55 if not paid within a prescribed period of time.

 

-14th May: Sent a letter to the DVLA explaining what had occurred, that I could not complete the V5 as I had not by that time received it, and had assumed afterwards that I wasn't going to receive it since the independent dealer had applied for a replacement V5. Enclosed a copy of the sales invoice, and made clear that I had full details of the trader so would have been able to account for the vehicle in the event of it being subject to police inquiry.

 

-22nd May: Received a very much template looking letter rejecting my correspondence from 14th May, providing new dates in which to pay the £35/£55.

 

-29th May: Received an identical letter to 22nd of May, but with payment dates pushed forward, and this was sent to my correct address (See note on addresses below).

 

-12th June: Sent a letter to the DVLA stating my disappointed that they had not accepted my proposed resolution, reiterating that I had still not received a replacement V5 for the vehicle and dispute the offence they allege, and stating that they must therefore commence legal proceedings.

 

-20th June: Received a letter from Mrs P Woolley (DVLA) stating that after careful consideration, it had been decided that the case should be settled by prosecution and that I will receive a court summons in due course.

 

-Recently: Received a requisition from the DVLA to appear at magistrates' court. Includes a 'statement of witness' by a 'Rachel Loftus', that incorrectly states (incorrect in bold):

"On 08/05/2013 a notice was sent to the defendant requesting information under S46 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 and offering the oppertunity to pay an out of court settlement.

A written reply has not been received nor has the notice been returned undelivered by the postal authorities"

The paperwork contains a 'Guilty Plea' addressed to the designated officer of the magistrates' court, and overleaf a 'Not Guilty Plea' addressed to the DVLA; which seems strangely like an attempt to seek information relating to my defence if I intend to plead not guilty.

 

Note on addresses:

All DVLA correspondence up to and including 22nd May was sent to the wrong address (incorrect house number) but I assume had been delivered by a neighbour. I did not know or realise this until inspecting the paperwork now. I also now realise that it's possible that the replacement V5 was sent to this address but not subsequently forwarded to me by the neighbour. I suspect that the correspondence from the 29th May was in response to the DVLA updating my address due to my recent correspondence.

 

So I suppose that's everything in full. To explain my actions (or lack thereof) between 2nd March & 8th May; I wasn't aware of the legislation down to it's full detail relating to notifying the secretary of state for transport when you transfer a vehicle. Although I had misjudged the appropriateness of relying on the independent dealer to notify the DVLA of change of ownership instead of myself, I felt at the time that I had taken all due diligence to be able to account for the vehicle in the event of a police enquiry by retaining full details of the person I had transferred the vehicle to, and providing them with my full details. Since I had not received any correspondence from either the DVLA or independent dealer, I assumed that the situation was resolved and no longer expected to receive a replacement V5. You could say I'm guilty of having too much faith in the system!

 

I'm torn between angrily wanting to beat the DVLA in court and pursue costs, or taking the best course of action to convince the DVLA to drop the case.

 

I'd particularly appreciate advice in relation to the following queries:

-Is it worth contacting the DVLA in light of my realisation as to the possible original error (wrong address) of the replacement V5? They've generally just been pretty unpleasant so far. Should I make further correspondence by post or would it be worth calling them?

-Where does one stand in terms of being required to send a V5 but not having received it, and never receiving it?

-What period of time must elapse after transferring a vehicle before the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 is contravened?

-If this goes to court and I win the case, can I pursue costs and how much? Can I include inconvenience/stress?

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A couple of problems:

It is the person disposing of the vehicle that is required to notify disposal, DVLA will often prosecute the person disposing after being informed by the person acquiring the vehicle.

The requirement is to notify disposal 'forthwith'. You didn't have to use the V5C, a letter would have been sufficient to comply with the act.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I attended court for this today and had the case withdrawn by the prosecutor.

 

Detailed story:

-Turned up slightly late (10:05) due to Redditch being the worst place in the world, therefore didn't have a chance to discuss the case with the prosecutor.

 

-Called into the courtroom, gave name and correct address. Pleaded 'not guilty' but asked for a short adjournment while I discussed my documents with the prosecutor.

 

-Prosecutor was very reasonable but seemed slightly intimidated. I pointed out the false witness statement and generally questioned the manner in which the DVLA had conducted this. He seemed to stall for a while so I asked him politely but straightly "would you consider withdrawing the charge in light of these anomalies", to which he agreed.

 

-Prosecutor informed me I was free to leave, I told him I would prefer to stay until the case was closed; the clerk of the court agreed with me that this was a better idea, and called the magistrates back in.

 

-Prosecutor stated he had no evidence to offer and withdrew the charges.

 

This was my first time in court. Needless to say I'm over the moon at having won, but made some interesting observations today:

I arrived clean-shaven in a suit consisting of a pinstripe blazer & trousers, plain grey shirt, diagonal-striped grey tie in a full Windsor knot with a tie bar, and polished black shoes. My brother accompanied me and was similarly dressed. I went in with a big folder full of evidence covering as many avenues of mitigation as possible; none of which ended up being necessary; but nevertheless I feel that I presented myself in a manner that suggested diligence and commanded respect.

 

It struck me that this would be a commonsensical way in which one should attend court, however none of the other defendants were even wearing a tie, and some were an absolute mess. They all carried little if any evidence into the courtroom with them, had not prepared any kind of representation for themselves, and one by one were found guilty.

 

If you're going to court, dress properly for Christ's sake! My kit came mostly from Matalan and cost probably about £80.

 

Finally, my take on the advice I have received on three online forums (Pepipoo, Consumer action group, and Money Savings Expert); quite frankly it has been **** poor. I have the opinion that unless your case has very regular circumstances (in which case, you don't really need to post a question as the information is already out there), you are unlikely to get much help and may even be subjected to unpleasantness & sarcasm.

 

I provide an account of my experiences in the hope that it advises and informs others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

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-Prosecutor informed me I was free to leave, I told him I would prefer to stay until the case was closed; the clerk of the court agreed with me that this was a better idea, and called the magistrates back in.

 

-Prosecutor stated he had no evidence to offer and withdrew the charges..

 

Sounds like a plan. Many thanks for the info.

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