The Penalty for driving without insurance
If you are convicted of this offence you can be sentenced by way of a fine (unlimited) as well as a disqualification from driving. If you avoid a disqualification your driving licence will be endorsed with between 6 – 8 penalty points. I am often asked if it is possible to avoid a ban or penalty points? The answer is yes; if you can establish that ‘special reasons’ exist there is a discretion in the court not to impose either penalty.
What are ‘Special Reasons’?
For these to apply the matter must:
(1) be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance;
(2) not amount in law to a defence to the charge;
(3) be directly connected with the commission of the offence; and
(4) be one which the court ought properly to take into consideration when imposing sentence.
Case law provides numerous examples of situations in which courts have found special reasons to exist such as when a subordinate has followed instructions to drive or a parent has asked a child to do so. It has even been found that where someone would not have understood the wording of his policy that this could, depending on other factors, amount to special reasons. But, a defendant must also show that he or she had an honest and reasonably held belief that insurance cover applied and that he or she was misled in that regard.
Remember the burden of proving that a motorist was insured rests on him or her. If he was genuinely misled and reasonably believed he was covered, especially in circumstances in which he was acting in reliance upon someone in authority, then he may be able to mount an argument that special reasons existed. However, in any individual case, all of the relevant circumstances need to be carefully considered in order to determine whether special reasons exist or not. If a court can be persuaded that they do it is then a case of seeking to persuade the court to exercise its discretion neither to disqualify nor to endorse the licence.
If you have been accused of driving without insurance don’t hesitate to get in touch.