Guide: No insurance

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To be prosecuted for this offence, the police normally are able to show that a person was driving the vehicle. However, the offence itself is “using” the vehicle and this has a wider definition than merely driving and can therefore include a case where a person having custody or control of the vehicle is deemed to be using it even though they are not sat behind the steering wheel driving at the time.

Penalties

The courts treat offenders (willingly committing the offence or not) quite severely. A driving disqualification is normally considered appropriate for this type of offence. The alternative is six - eight penalty points. An unlimited can now be imposed.

Case studies

Driving without insurance

C consulted Barry Culshaw of the Driver defence team with regard to an allegation of using a motor vehicle without insurance. The matter was pending before Southampton Magistrates Court and the prosecution had been instituted by Hampshire Constabulary. The prosecution's case was based upon a police check of C's vehicle when he was driving laden with items of scrap. The Crown alleged that the vehicle was not being used at the material time for purposes of the motor trade and, accordingly, C was uninsured on his motor trader's policy. C maintained that in arranging the third party insurance cover he had relied on the advice of a broker and was acting in good faith throughout. Barry obtained a witness statement from the broker and served a copy on the Crown. The thrust of the defence was that the nature of the load was arguably within the terms of the motor trader's policy and even if it was not representations were made on behalf of C that it was not in the public interest to continue the prosecution against him. On the day before the scheduled trial the Crown Prosecution Service decided to discontinue the case on the basis that "a prosecution (was) not needed in the public interest." C had earlier on Barry's advice declined to accept a fixed penalty in the sum of £200 and endorsement of C's driving licence with six penalty points arising out of this no insurance allegation. The discontinuance of the proceedings vindicated C's decision to reject the fixed penalty and to elect court proceedings.

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