It is illegal in England and Wales to drive a vehicle on a road or in a public place without at least third party insurance (Section 143 Road Traffic Act 1988). This is a strict liability offence which essentially means that if you are driving your car or other vehicle and there is no policy of valid insurance covering you to drive this vehicle then you are guilty of the offence.
If you are caught driving a vehicle uninsured on a public road then usually the police will have either stopped the vehicle at the roadside or attended the scene of a road traffic incident and discovered the driver does not have insurance to drive the vehicle. Police also have the power to take the vehicle to a compound and the only way to retrieve the vehicle will be proving that valid insurance is in place and fees to the compound will need to be paid and these increase the longer the vehicle is held.
An overview of the rules surrounding vehicle insurance can be found here https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-insurance
How do I know I have the right vehicle insurance cover in place?
When you apply for insurance, you need to answer all questions as honestly as possible in order to ensure the right policy of insurance for you is taken out. The key problem people have when it comes to the level of cover is to remember that ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ insurance does not cover the policy holder or named drivers on that policy to drive the vehicle for work which includes commuting to a place of work. If the vehicle is used for this purpose then ‘social, domestic, pleasure and commuting’ insurance needs to be taken out.
If the driver also drives as part of a business so for example goes to visit clients or attends sites as part of a business project then business insurance needs to be added to the policy.
It is also important to remember that any vehicle that is not declared off the road is still required to have an active policy of insurance. Even if the car is parked on the road outside the property but is not driveable then it still requires insurance unless you file a statutory off road notification which is usually referred to as a SORN.
What paperwork will I receive from the police after being spoken to at the roadside?
The police send conditional offers of fixed penalties to uninsured drivers usually offering them an opportunity to conclude the incident by accepting six penalty points to be recorded on their driving licence and a £300 fine to be paid. There is a 28 day time limit on accepting this offer. If this offer is accepted by sending the licence to the address on the letter and paying the fine then the driving licence will be endorsed with the offence and the DVLA code IN10 will show on the licence and will remain there for four years from the date of the offence.
If you receive the conditional offer of fixed penalty it is wise to contact us as soon as possible for advice about the various options open to you.
What are the implications if I am a new driver?
If you drive without car insurance as a ‘new driver’ then the implications can be even more severe. It is important to remember that if you have had your full driving licence for less than two years at the time of driving a vehicle you’re not insured on then you would have your licence revoked if you receive 6 penalty points or more. This is known as the new driver provisions and forms part of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995. A revocation of a licence would require you to pass your practical and theory tests again in order to be able to regain your full licence.
Will I receive six penalty points if I go to Court?
The penalty for driving without insurance does vary based on the existence of any aggravating factors. The minimum punishment after a guilty plea or a conviction after trial would be six penalty points with the most severe punishment being a disqualification from driving of up to twelve months. The Court would also require the offender to pay a fine. The Sentencing Council has published comprehensive guidelines when it comes to a no insurance offence and these can be read here https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/magistrates-court/item/no-insurance-revised-2017/
You may think it is unfair to receive penalty points and a fine when you are technically guilty of the offence however other factors apply which actually mean that it would be unjust for you to be punished with penalty points. If this is you then it may be the case that ‘special reasons’ exist which if successful can result in the licence still being endorsed with the offence but avoiding any penalty points being recorded against the licence. Special reasons which may exists would be if you were misled to believing insurance was in place for you to drive the vehicle when in fact it wasn’t. Do contact us today and we can discuss the own individual circumstances of your case and advise you as to how we can help you achieve the best possible outcome.
What are the chances of successfully defending a driving without insurance charge?
It is important to remember that there may be a defence to the charge. If you weren’t the driver of the vehicle or you contact your insurance company and they confirm you did have an active policy of insurance to cover you for that journey then you should contact us immediately so we can advise you on how we can assist. It may well be the case that with our assistance, the charge could be withdrawn or you are acquitted after a trial in the Magistrates Court.
What if the six penalty points for a no insurance offence takes the total number of points on my licence to 12 or more?
Should you be required to attend Court for a ‘Totting Up’ disqualification hearing then it is strongly advised that you seek legal representation. An exceptional hardship argument may apply based on your circumstances and this can avoid you being disqualified from driving altogether. Here at Blaser Mills Law we have a fantastic success rate in these applications and this is down to the thorough preparation and dedication we have to every single case. Do contact us today for a free initial phone consultation with one of our solicitors to discuss your circumstances.
Contact us today
Being charged or summonsed for driving without insurance should not be taken lightly. Acting quickly to get an expert team on your side can help minimise the disruption and uncertainty. Get in touch to set up a meeting today.