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Is it a criminal offence to drive a vehicle without insurance?
Yes, driving without insurance is classed as a criminal offence. All motor vehicles driven on a road or other public place must have a valid insurance policy in place or security which covers them for third party risks.
143 Users of motor vehicles to be insured or secured against third-party risks.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act—
(2) If a person acts in contravention of subsection (1) above he is guilty of an offence.
What is the maximum penalty for driving without insurance?
The maximum penalty for this offence is a 12 month driving disqualification, 6 - 8 penalty points and a fine of any amount.
Driving a motor vehicle with no insurance is a criminal offence which is triable only summarily in a Magistrates Court, although a fixed penalty notice may be issued.
The police can issue a fixed penalty of a £300 fine and 6 penalty points for driving without insurance.
Magistrates Court Penalty
Penalties at a Magistrates court for driving without insurance range from 6-8 penalty points and a fine of any amount.
Magistrates can also disqualify drivers for up to 12 months for driving without insurance.
Can I be ordered to retake my driving test for driving without insurance?
Yes. If a person appears at a magistrates court for driving without insurance then magistrates have the discretion to order that person to be disqualified until they pass the appropriate driving test to regain their driving licence under section 36 of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 .
Can my vehicle be seized if I have no insurance?
The police have the power to seize a vehicle if there is no evidence that the vehicle is insured and it is or was being driven on a road or other public place.
Upon seizing a vehicle, a police officer must give the driver of the vehicle a seizure notice unless it is impracticable to do so. If the driver is not the owner or registered keeper of the vehicle, the police officer must take reasonable steps to give a seizure notice to the owner and registered keeper of the vehicle.
165A Power to seize vehicles driven without licence or insurance
The seizure notice will contain a requirement that the owner (or registered keeper) of the vehicle claims it within a specified period of time. The period of time will be not less than seven working days from the day that the seizure notice was issued.
In order for a vehicle to be released:
If the vehicle is not claimed on or before the date given in the seizure notice, it may be disposed of. The vehicle cannot be disposed of until at least 14 days after the date on which the vehicle was seized.
If the vehicle has been sold then the net proceeds are payable to the owner (or registered keeper) of the vehicle if claimed within a year.
How long does an IN10 driving licence endorsement remain on my driving licence?
(the following licence endorsement remains on driving licence for 4 years from date of offence)
|IN10||Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks||6 - 8 points|
DVLA offence code IN10 (using a vehicle uninsured) will be endorsed on the driving licence of anyone convicted of driving with no insurance.
The endorsement will remain on a driving licence for a period of 4 years from the date the offence was committed and will be valid for totting-up procedure purposes for a period of 3 years.
Reference: Road Traffic Act 1988 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988
Triable: Only summarily
Maximum: Unlimited Fine
Determining the offence category
The court should determine the offence category:
The court should determine the offender's culpability and the harm caused with reference only to the factors below. Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.
CULPABILITY demonstrated by one or more of the following:
Factors indicating higher culpability
Factors indicating lower culpability
HARM demonstrated by one or more of the following:
Factors indicating greater harm
Factors indicating lesser harm
Starting point and category range
Having determined the category at step one, the court should use the appropriate starting point to reach a sentence within the category range in the table below.
Starting point applies to all offenders irrespective of plea or previous convictions
|Level of seriousness||Starting Point||Range||Disqualification/points|
Disqualify for 6 - 12 months
Consider disqualification up to 6 months
6 - 8 penalty points
The court should then consider further adjustment for any aggravating or mitigating factors. The following is a non-exhaustive list of additional factual elements providing the context of the offence and factors relating to the offender. Identify whether any combination of these, or other relevant factors, should result in an upward or downward adjustment from the sentence arrived at so far.
Factors increasing seriousness
Statutory aggravating factors
Other aggravating factors
Factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation
Consider any factors which indicate a reduction, such as assistance to the prosecution
The court should take into account sections 73 and 74 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (assistance by defendants: reduction or review of sentence) and any other rule of law by virtue of which an offender may receive a discounted sentence in consequence of assistance given (or offered) to the prosecutor or investigator.
Reduction for guilty pleas
The court should take account of any potential reduction for a guilty plea in accordance with section 144 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and guilty plea guidelines.
If sentencing an offender for more than one offence, or where the offender is already serving a sentence, consider whether the total sentence is just and proportionate to the overall offending behaviour in accordance with the offences taken into consideration and totality guidelines.
Compensation and ancillary orders
In all cases, the court should consider whether to make compensation and/or other ancillary orders.
Section 17 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes a duty to give reasons for, and explain the effect of, the sentence.
Consideration for time spent on bail
The court must consider whether to give credit for time spent on bail in accordance with section 240A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
For more information on sentencing guidelines, fine bands, sentencing for multiple offences and ancillary orders please visit Sentencing Council, Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines [online]. Available from https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/the-magistrates-court-sentencing-guidelines/. ©Crown Copyright 2023.