The law: Road Traffic Act 1988, s.143

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act—

(a) a person must not use a motor vehicle on a road or other public place unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by that person such a policy of insurance or such a security in respect of third party risks as complies with the requirements of this Part of this Act, and.

(b) a person must not cause or permit any other person to use a motor vehicle on a road or other public place unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by that other person such a policy of insurance or such a security in respect of third party risks as complies with the requirements of this Part of this Act.

(2) If a person acts in contravention of subsection (1) above he is guilty of an offence.

(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.

(4) This Part of this Act does not apply to invalid carriages.

Likely sentence or penalty

The offence is triable only in the Magistrates Court and carries a  maximum Level 5 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment. The court  must endorse the licence  and may disqualify. If no disqualification the court will impose between 6-8 points

Our advice

The police are usually able to check insurance by checking the Police National Computer. It is a defence if it is proven that the person accused of the offence was driving in the course of their employment, that the car being driven did not belong to him and that he/she did not know or have reason to believe that he/she was not insured

If convicted it may be possible to argue that special reasons apply if, for example, the person accused had a genuine and reasonably held belief that there was insurance. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from specialist motoring or criminal defence lawyers who will either be able to help you avoid a conviction or limit the damage by securing a reduced sentence.

Rose & Dunn can represent you for a fixed fee or possibly on legal aid. Contact us for further advice and assistance including a free initial appraisal of your case with no obligation.