Driving Without Insurance – Summonses and Postal Requisitions
If You’ve Received a Court Summons for Driving Without Insurance, We Can Help You.
It’s important you seek advice at an early stage because the penalties for driving without insurance can be quite severe. This means you may be at risk of losing your driving licence.
Driving without insurance is a strict liability offence. This means it doesn’t matter whether or not you knew that you weren’t covered by insurance. Employees caught driving without insurance may have a special defence. In addition, you may avoid your licence being endorsed with penalty points if you have a special reasons argument. See the questions below for more information.
It’s sensible to get some initial advice if you’re facing an allegation of this type. After all, our initial advice is free so you’ve nothing to lose.
It ranges from 6 penalty points on your licence all the way up to a disqualification from driving.
New drivers (who passed their test less than two years ago) face their driving licence being revoked. If you're a new driver, you should get advice before accepting a fixed penalty notice or going to court.
If you have received a court summons or a postal requisition for driving without insurance, it's a good idea to seek some advice. Don't forget that as well as the risk of disqualification for the offence itself, if you already have points on your driving licence, you could be liable to a minimum six month disqualification under the totting up of points provisions.
The position is even more serious if you are a new driver. DVLA will automatically revoke your driving licence if you reach 6 points within two years of passing your first test.
To succeed with a prosecution for driving without insurance, all that the prosecution must show is that you were driving a vehicle on a road or public place. It is then up to you to prove that you have valid insurance.
If the place is not a road or is not a public place, then the prosecution should fail. The public still have access to many private car parks. Therefore 'private' car parks can still be classed as public places.
We will advise whether there is a defence or special reasons argument available for driving without insurance and will represent you at the hearing.
We will give you genuine honest advice about the prospects of success of your case to enable you to decide what plea to enter. Of course the ultimate decision to defend an allegation is yours.
Using a Vehicle Without Insurance.
This is the most common offence. That's generally when you're the driver of the vehicle. However, it can also be if you're the employer of a person who is driving a vehicle for the purpose of the business.
The law states that a conviction must follow if the prosecution can show that a person used, caused or permitted the vehicle's use. It doesn't matter if the defendant knew that the vehicle was uninsured. The law on Causing, Permitting and Using varies depending on the type of offence and the guidance below relates specifically to no insurance offences.
Causing Driving Without Insurance
The offence of “causing” requires the defendant to have knowledge of the facts which makes the use of the vehicle unlawful. Whether the defendant knew that an offence was being committed doesn't matter. The defendant may not realise that the use of the vehicle was not covered by insurance. What is important is that he or she knew the vehicle was being used. In addition, the driver will have a degree of kind of control over the vehicle. Usually, the defendant will have given instructions to another person to drive the vehicle.
Permitting Driving Without Insurance
Permitting is a vaguer term and often easier to prove than causing. It generally involves someone giving permission, express, general or even inferred. The person who gives permission does not tell the driver to use the vehicle in a particular way. The permission giver merely allows them to use the vehicle. The law on the above is complex and it is best to contact us if you're facing such an allegation. Pragma can advise on your specific case based on experience and also previous case law.
The penalties for causing, permitting and using a vehicle without insurance are all the same.
What level car insurance must I have?
s.143(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 requires every person who uses, or causes or permits another person to use, a motor vehicle on a road or other public place to have a policy of insurance to cover third party risks. The insurance policy must provide cover for the death of, or bodily injury to, any person as well as damage to property. The most basic level of acceptable cover is usually known as 'third party' cover.
A special defence for employees caught driving without insurance
The burden of proof is on the driver. He/she must show that:
- the vehicle did not belong to him;
- that it was not in his possession under a contract of hiring or loan;
- that he was using the vehicle in the course of his employment, and;
- that he neither knew, nor had reason to believe that insurance, etc., was not in force.
The driver must persuade the court (on the balance of probability) of the above facts. If the driver can establish this, the court should acquit him. No penalty points or fine should be imposed.
Special Reasons for driving without insurance
Special Reasons are different from defences. It is like saying: "I drove without insurance, but I have a really good reason for it". You must have a very good reason as the courts are generally reluctant to find special reasons. If the court finds special reasons, the magistrates have the discretion not to impose penalty points.
See our page on Special Reasons for driving without insurance for more details.