You can be charged with driving without insurance (IN10) even if it was a genuine oversight e.g. you missed a renewal date or you were relying on a family member to pay the premium. You will also be guilty of driving without insurance if you simply allow somebody else who is not insured to drive. Somewhat unfairly this applies even if you genuinely had no idea that this person was not insured.
The law states:
* You must not use a vehicle on a road or other public place without third party insurance.
* You must not let someone else use the vehicle without third party insurance.
Special Defence for Employees
There is a special defence for an employee using a vehicle in the course of their employment where they were told by their employer that the vehicle was covered.
What if I didn’t know the vehicle was not insured?
It is important to note that the no-insurance offences are absolute prohibitions (unless the employee defence can be proved). It does not matter if the driver or owner did not know that the vehicle was not insured. They will still be guilty.
It often happens that a driver is insured but the policy may not cover the purpose for which they are driving. Universal Motoring Lawyers has defended private-hire taxi drivers and other businessmen who were covered for “social, domestic and pleasure” but not for business use. Although these are extremely difficult cases to win, Warren Bergson has had some notable successes.
Proving you were insured
The law requires the driver or owner to prove that there was a valid insurance policy in force. So it is for them to produce a Certificate of Insurance, preferably to the police although it can be done at court. However, once a valid certificate has been produced it is then for the prosecution to show, if they can, that the policy did not cover the actual use of the vehicle.
Penalties for driving without insurance
Unless “Special Reasons” are found, your licence will be endorsed and you will receive between 6 and 8 penalty points or a disqualification plus a large fine. You will also have to pay prosecution costs and the Victim Surcharge.
Getting so many penalty points in one go may push you up to 12 or more points when you could well be disqualified from driving for at least 6 months under the totting up rules. However, we still often manage to save a driver’s licence by proving “Exceptional Hardship”.
Stopped by the police
If you are stopped on the road by the police, they will check on the Police National Computer to see if you are insured. Sometimes a driver is insured but it does not show up on the police computer. If you are not insured the police officer will probably seize your vehicle which will be placed in the car pound. You will have to pay to get it back as well as make your own arrangements to get home! You will probably be given a Fixed Penalty Ticket which is an on-the-spot fine of £300 and 6 points. If you believe you were insured or have another defence or that there are “Special Reasons” not to be given points, you can challenge the ticket in court. If you want to dispute a no- insurance ticket speak to Universal Motoring Lawyers. Warren Bergson will advise you how to fill out the ticket to ensure your case goes to court. We are experts at obtaining acquittals in no-insurance cases even where the driver did not have a licence. Even where our clients have no defence and plead guilty we can often save points or a disqualification by proving “Special Reasons”.
Lack of knowledge can amount to what is known as “Special Reasons” which enable the court not to impose points although, as a guilty plea, the court will impose the other penalties set out above. We have successfully proved Special Reasons where the driver was misled. For example, the court accepted Special Reasons in a case where a separated wife was assured by her husband that he had paid the premiums and the vehicle was insured. However, this was not the case.