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Driving without car insurance

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13

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  • Quentin
    Quentin Posts: 40,405 Forumite
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    custardy wrote: »
    I would hope thier is scope for mitigation?
    EG when I was cycling a lot,my car would be on the drive SORN for months at a time
    however if there was(for example) a serious medical emergency then I would have no qualms driving that car to the hospital.
    I would hope the courts would have room to manoeuvre on that

    Those that can't afford an uninsured car on the drive would have to get an ambulance.

    You would be found guilty of driving without insurance.

    Your mitigating circumstances could be taken into account when the mags decided your sentence.
  • Quentin
    Quentin Posts: 40,405 Forumite
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    I see what you mean. He asked me not to admit guilt.

    He has heard the full story.

    There is presumably more to it than a death.
  • kingstreet
    kingstreet Posts: 38,849 Forumite
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    This is the best place to get advice on driving law issues and there are a couple of specialist motoring solicitors who post on there too;-

    http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showforum=5
    I am a mortgage broker. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice. Please do not send PMs asking for one-to-one-advice, or representation.
  • Crazy_Jamie
    Crazy_Jamie Posts: 2,246 Forumite
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    edited 9 June 2013 at 6:20PM
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    I just need to clarify a few things here because at very best there is a great deal of confusion in the thread which needs clearing up. Frankly such confusion is almost inevitably when people start weighing in with advice on specialist subjects that they lack either knowledge or experience of.

    Driving without insurance is an absolute offence. That means that if you were driving a vehicle without a valid policy of insurance in place, irrespective of the circumstances, you are guilty of the offence. The only 'defence' is to show that you had a valid policy of insurance in place at the time that the offence is committed, through strictly speaking that is not a defence because the offence would not then have been committed.

    If you are found guilty of driving without insurance, the Magistrates will normally impose a financial penalty and impose a further penalty ranging from a minimum of 6 points to a maximum of a 12 month ban. In most cases 6 points will be imposed as a matter of course; higher penalties or bans are only imposed where there are aggravating circumstances, for example if the Defendant has never held insurance, is a persistent offender, or was involved in an accident.

    As stated above, 6 points is the minimum sentence for driving without insurance. However, the Magistrates have discretion to impose fewer points, or no points at all, if they find 'special reasons'. In effect, special reasons are unique or unusual circumstances relating to the offence itself (not the offender) that do not amount to a defence. If the Magistrates find that there were special reasons they have discretion to go outside of their guidelines, which they generally do not if special reasons are not present.

    Special reasons are effectively extreme mitigation, but it is very important to not confuse the two. Magistrates will listen to mitigation irrespective of the offence and evidence is not required on oath to mitigate, but the Defendant has to specifically state if s/he is contending that special reasons were present, and will almost certainly have to give evidence on oath as to what those reasons were. The Magistrates will then have to make a specific finding as to whether special reasons were present or not. Even if a special reasons argument is unsuccessful it is likely that those facts will amount to standard mitigation, but it is important to realise the differences between special reasons and standard mitigation.

    In this particular case, I'd need more information than simply 'death in the family' to form a proper opinion as to whether you have a valid argument for special reasons. In and of itself there is no reason why a death in the family should cause you to drive without insurance. But if you're happy to elaborate I'd be more than happy to give you my view on your prospects. PM me if you don't want to put it in the thread.

    As to your initial question of representing yourself, there is nothing to stop you doing it, and plenty of people have successfully argued special reasons without legal representation. Though obviously it is desirable to have an idea of whether or not you are likely to succeed before you risk the costs implications of arguing a special reasons case (because if you lose, you will have to pay the Prosecution costs, which will be more than if you had simply entered a guilty plea with no special reasons argument).
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
    I'M MISSING FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS WILL KILL THEMSELVES."
  • Quentin
    Quentin Posts: 40,405 Forumite
    edited 9 June 2013 at 6:34PM
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    kingstreet wrote: »
    This is the best place to get advice on driving law issues and there are a couple of specialist motoring solicitors who post on there too;-

    http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showforum=5

    It is the best place to go.

    However the OP will have to give them all the details to be offered any help, rather than the meagre details he has given here.

    Though in fairness he never came for legal advice!

    Just for anyone's experience of representing themselves.
  • Quentin
    Quentin Posts: 40,405 Forumite
    edited 9 June 2013 at 6:31PM
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    Driving without insurance is an absolute offence. That means that if you were driving a vehicle without a valid policy of insurance in place, irrespective of the circumstances, you are guilty of the offence. The only 'defence' is to show that you had a valid policy of insurance in place at the time that the offence is committed, through strictly speaking that is not a defence because the offence would not then have been committed......

    Is this aimed at my advice that there is an area where it isn't black and white?
    Quentin wrote: »
    We don't know the circs in this case.

    However it's not as black and white as you say.

    Eg. If you are driving your employers vehicle at work and unknown to you it isn't insured, then you won't be found guilty.

    Here's chapter and verse:

    RTA 1988 - S143 (3):

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/143

    (3)A person charged with using a motor vehicle in contravention of this section shall not be convicted if he proves -

    (a)that the vehicle did not belong to him and was not in his possession under a contract of hiring or of loan,

    (b)that he was using the vehicle in the course of his employment, and

    (c)that he neither knew nor had reason to believe that there was not in force in relation to the vehicle such a policy of insurance or security as is mentioned in subsection (1) above.
  • Crazy_Jamie
    Crazy_Jamie Posts: 2,246 Forumite
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    Quentin wrote: »
    Is this aimed at my advice that there is an area where it isn't black and white?
    It wasn't 'aimed' at anyone; I was simply going through the relevant points from start to finish to ensure clarity, something which this thread sorely needed.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
    I'M MISSING FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS WILL KILL THEMSELVES."
  • ILW
    ILW Posts: 18,333 Forumite
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    I see what you mean. He asked me not to admit guilt.
    Is he charging you by the hour?
  • Quentin
    Quentin Posts: 40,405 Forumite
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    It wasn't 'aimed' at anyone; I was simply going through the relevant points from start to finish to ensure clarity, something which this thread sorely needed.

    Dinno why you think your post was sorely needed.

    As all you achieved by stating authoritatively (though wrongly) that whatever the circumstances there was no defence for being caught driving without insurance was to cloud the issue.

    It had already been pointed out that there is the circumstance I outlined (and subsequently gave you chapter and verse) where you won't be found guilty even though you have driven uninsured.
  • Crazy_Jamie
    Crazy_Jamie Posts: 2,246 Forumite
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    Quentin wrote: »
    Dinno why you think your post was sorely needed.

    As all you achieved by stating authoritatively (though wrongly) that whatever the circumstances there was no defence for being caught driving without insurance was to cloud the issue.

    It had already been pointed out that there is the circumstance I outlined (and subsequently gave you chapter and verse) where you won't be found guilty even though you have driven uninsured.
    My post was sorely needed because the distinction between special reasons and mitigating circumstances had been missed, and that is the vital point in this particular case. And incidentally, it is a distinction that you are either unaware of or continue to miss. Specifically, if you succeed in establishing special circumstances you will not be found not guilty. You will still be convicted, it is just that a lesser sentence will be imposed. It is common for an absolute discharge to be imposed on a finding on special circumstances, but that is not the same as an acquittal.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
    I'M MISSING FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS WILL KILL THEMSELVES."
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