Driving Without Insurance – Making a Mistake

Here at Caddick Davies, we offer a wealth of experience in helping clients who are facing a charge of driving without insurance. There are many situations where UK motorists have mistakenly broken motoring law regulations with regards to appropriate insurance, including some of the following:

  • believing they didn’t need to insure a vehicle they were currently keeping ‘off the road’
  • driving with insurance that they didn’t realise had expired
  • driving with the incorrect or insufficient insurance coverage
  • allowing or causing another person to drive their vehicle without valid insurance

Each of these different driving without insurance scenarios can lead you into legal trouble, with these sorts of offences carrying a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points. In the most serious cases, the courts could impose a substantially larger fine, and in some cases, even a driving ban.

As you look for driving without insurance UK legal services, the team of motoring offence solicitors at Caddick Davies are the ideal legal team to consider. We have built up a strong track record as trusted legal representatives for motorists across England and Wales who are facing such a charge. We understand that there are many different scenarios in which motorists find themselves driving without an insurance policy, whether through a misunderstanding or a mistake on the part of an insurance company.

Figures from The Motor Insurance Bureau estimate that there are currently around 1 million uninsured drivers on UK roads. The law recognises that the offence of driving without insurance is a serious one and provides that an uninsured driver can either be handed a Fixed Penalty Notice, requiring – as mentioned above – a payment of £300 and endorsing their license with 6 penalty points, or they can be summonsed to court, where they can expect a fine up to £5,000 (determined by their means) and 6 to 8 points, or even possible disqualification from driving.

Many people will think that such penalties are appropriate for the person who drives without insurance, but Caddick Davies are here to offer legal guidance to those motorists who drive their car with the honest belief that they are insured, only to be stopped by a police officer and told that they are not.

As specialist motoring law solicitors, this is something which we see a lot and which is becoming increasingly prevalent. Motoring law in the UK says that if you drive a vehicle without insurance, you are guilty of this offence, whether you meant to or not. In legal terms this is known as a “strict liability” offence. This means that if you drive with no insurance, you are guilty of the offence and therefore that you should plead guilty.

This can seem wholly unfair, that a motorist who makes a genuine error is treated in the same way as someone who deliberately drives without insurance. Thankfully, the law does recognise this and gives magistrates a discretion not to endorse a driver’s license if they can demonstrate that there are “SPECIAL REASONS” for not doing so.

In the case of the person who has driven without insurance, the magistrates will exercise this discretion if it can be shown that the driver held a “genuine and honest” belief that he was insured and had “reasonable grounds” for believing that he was insured (Rennison v Knowler (1947)).

We can explain this in more detail when you get in contact to discuss driving without an insurance policy that is deemed valid, but in short, there is a long way between showing that you had a “genuine and honest” belief and demonstrating that you had “reasonable grounds”.

This is because having “reasonable grounds” excludes cases where you simply mistakenly believed that you were insured. So, if you incorrectly read your insurance policy and thought it insured you when it did not, the court would not regard this as reasonable, would not deem your case as special reasons and you would get points on your licence.

For the courts to find reasonable grounds, we will have to show that you have been misinformed in some way to believe that you were insured, or that there was no way of you knowing that you weren’t insured.

One example of this is where a young driver has been told by their parent that they have been insured on a car and the parent has made a mistake and not correctly insured their child. Having successfully represented many young drivers on this ground, it can be said that the courts, perhaps as parents themselves, often have sympathy and will find that the young driver’s belief was reasonable.

Another example, one which is becoming increasingly common, is where a driver’s insurance is cancelled without their knowledge. This can occur owing to various practices of insurance companies, including the cancellation of policies where proof of no claims is not provided, where a direct debit fails, or simply by error. If you have not received any notification that your insurance has been cancelled, you have a strong case for avoiding penalty points.

We have solicitors on our team who have found themselves in this very scenario, so it really can happen to anyone. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, have received a Fixed Penalty Notice or Summons and are looking at your driving without insurance UK legal options, please contact Caddick Davies today to discuss your case and your legal options. We are available by phone, email or web contact form and can provide a free initial telephone consultation.

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