Driving Without Insurance
Driving without Insurance
The Offence of Driving Without Insurance
If you have been stopped by the police and have been charged with driving without insurance here is what you need to know. It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place when there is not in force, in relation to that use, at least third party insurance cover. It is also an offence to cause or permit someone else to drive when insurance cover is not in force. These are ‘strict liability’ offences which means that simply saying ‘I did not know’ that cover was not in force, or that the policy did not cover that person or that type of use, does not amount to a defence to the charge.
These can range from a fixed penalty to a disqualification from driving. For those cases which end up in court 6-8 penalty points are usually endorsed together with a fine (there is no limit upon the level of fine although this will depend on the facts of the case and your personal circumstances). If the endorsement of penalty points means that you will have a total of 12 or more current points on your Driving Licence this means that you can expect to be disqualified for at least 6 months (unless you can establish that you would suffer from ‘exceptional hardship’ – see the page on ‘totting up bans’ for more information on this.)
Can I avoid Conviction?
If you are accused of driving without insurance, or causing or permitting another to do so, the burden of proof that insurance cover was in place rests upon you. The most common defence is that valid insurance cover was in place. There is, in certain circumstances, a statutory defence available to those asked to drive by their employer although you would have had to have been misled into believing that cover was in place. (It may be possible to argue that this defence would also apply to the self-employed as well as to the employed.) Whether there is a viable defence to a no insurance charge and if so, what it is, will depend on an analysis of all of the facts of each particular case.
If you have committed an offence it may still be possible to avoid the normal consequences of conviction if what are known as ‘special reasons’ are deemed to apply. Examples of special reasons might be that someone in authority (over you) asked you to drive misleading you into believing that insurance cover was in place, or, that you genuinely and reasonably believed you were covered based on the wording of your policy, for example. If you believe that special reasons might apply to your case do get in touch so that we can advise if you might be able to avoid the normal consequences of conviction.
Sunil Rupasinha has been a criminal barrister for over 25 years, to understand why he is best placed to help you read more about him here
Do contact us if you believe that you have a defence to the charge or you wish to argue that ‘special reasons’ apply – We may be able to help save your Driving Licence.