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Court Summons for Invalid Car Insurance


malifact
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Hello, I would be grateful if someone could offer some advice. A friend at work came to me for help a few months ago, as he had received a summons to the local Magistrate's Court. He was routinely stopped by the police while driving his uncle's car and it turned out his insurance did not cover him to drive another person's vehicle. He had recently changed his insurance and genuinely thought the new policy was the same as the previous one but did allow him to do so. I believe him as his English is not very good and even in his home country he only completed the minimum education required. I know it's his own fault if he didn't understand the new policy properly, but these things can be unnecessarily complicated even for a native speaker of English.

 

I helped him to write a letter to the court admitting his guilt, apologising and explaining the circumstances. Unfortunately, he has now been summoned to court and will have to appear this week. He's terrified he will lose his license as that will mean he will lose his job also. I feel sorry for the guy as he has a wife and young children, but I'm at a loss on what he can do. Could anyone give some advice about the court appearance? Will he have a chance to address the court and is there anything he could say so to hopefully not lose his license? Many thanks in advance.

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Welcome to the site.

Yes he will be given every opp to address the magistrates,and it likely that they will retire to deliberate.

 

Any mitigating points that can be put over,will obviously be considered.

I have a feeling that they will say that it was his responsibility to read the terms and conditions of the new policy.

He should be telling them that losing his licence will cost him his job.

Also that this was not a deliberate act,.

Since he would have been entitled and permitted to drive another car had the policy allowed it,he might be able to say that it is reasonable to assume that he would have ensured it was covered had he known or believed that it wasn't.

It may help him to speak up if someone else accompanies him.

These are public hearings so anyone can attend.

It is also possible for a family member or friend to speak up for him-I have seen this happen with some effect.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Thank you for the response and welcome. Do you know how much time defendants are allocated to address the court? Also when you say a family member or friend can speak up for him, is this in addition to him speaking?

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Dear malifact,

 

Firstly it is good that you are helping someone who has communication difficulties.

 

Try to reassure your colleague, it is unlikely that he will lose his licence if this is a first offence of this nature. The usual penalty is a fine commensurate with his earnings and 6 penalty points on his licence. This translates into an automatic withdrawal of licence only if it is within 2 years of the licence holder passing their test in which case the process of provisional licence holder restatrts, or by totting up to the 12 points mandatory short ban.

 

With regards to the appearance in court, he will have two choices, 1) to give evidence under oath from the witness box, in which case he can be cross examined by the prosecutor. 2) make a statement from the 'dock' in which case he cannot be questioned. Magistrates do give more credence to evidence given under oath for obvious reasons. The oath is adjusted to the persons religious beliefs including by affirmation. (I put dock in inverted commas as in most Mag. Courts the defendant stands in the area in front of the bench of magistrates - less formal).

 

I would suggest that he pleads guilty and ask for the circumstance as outlined above in post #3 to be considered in mitigation. Although only law professionals are permitted to represent a defendant, he can ask for you or any other person to give evidence on his behalf. This again would need to be on oath from the witness box and be open to cross examination to test the probity of the witness. Alternatively he could submit a letter from you outlining the circumstances of the mistake made and also other details perhaps of a personal nature that might help the mitigation. This sort of letter is best backed up by your being present and being available to be quizzed by the magistrates. The fact that he is a foreign national (my assumption) and that his English might make understanding legal documents difficult, could point to an interpreter being beneficial. If this is so and only you and he know if that is necessary, the court should be made aware before hand in order to arrange this, the cost would be included in the overall court costs that he would be asked to pay.

 

If time permits, it could be beneficial to pay a visit with him to the Magistrates Court to see 'justice' in operation and familiarise yourselves with the procedures. All courts other than Family, Youth panels and exeptional High Court cases are open to the public to observe.

 

I hope that this gives you some pointers.

 

Regards

Edited by Gick
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My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

If you have found my post helpful, please enhance my reputation by clicking on the Heart. Thank you

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Thank you again for the responses. I have a few more questions if you don't mind:

 

1) Can a witness give evidence even if they were not involved in the incident or had first hand knowledge? I should add that it probably wouldn't be myself but a friend who speaks his native language that would be his witness, and they could only attest to his good character and that he is genuinely sorry for what happened.

 

2) Is he allowed to submit documents to the magistrates? It would be useful if he could show his old insurance policy that allowed him to drive other people's cars, so the court could see he genuinely believed he could do so.

 

Also, I should have said before but he already has points on his license from using a mobile phone while driving. It was a while ago and I know he hasn't done it since as he's very religious and takes these things very seriously. Finally, he will not be represented by a lawyer as he went for legal advice and the solicitor told him they could take his money but it wouldn't make a difference. They said the court would look at the circumstances when it came to sentencing as he had clearly broken the law.

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Points drop off after 5 years i think, he will get 6 points for no insurance and a fine for £200 that is the standerd fine for no insurance he might get off a bit lighter with the fine but HE WILL GET 5 POINTS so as long as he is not going to go over the 12 point limit then he wont lose his licence.GOOD LUCK Regards GH

:) HFO fan club member :) HFO V GLORYHUNTER ( WON ) :)

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Dear malifact,

 

1) Yes, you have in part answered your own question as the witness would be giving evidence as to character and personal situation only. They could also give evidence of his conduct in seeking understanding of the legal terms and conditions. The witness would not be able to also act as an interpreter unless requested by the magistrates if they realized that he was having difficulty understanding them and they did not consider that it would be in the publics interest to adjourn until a court appointed interpreter could be summoned.

 

2) Yes by all means produce the previous insurance policy or any other document to support the mitigation of prior entitlement. It would help the bench if the relevant section is highlighted in some way to save having to plough through the small print.

 

3) The issue of the fixed penalty and 3 points for the mobile offence will not have a great bearing especially if it is some time ago. If it was within the last 3 years it will mean that he comes close to the 12 point mandatory ban of 6 months (subject to no particular hardship plea being accepted) Even if 'spent' after 3 years, they remain evident on the licence until a request to remove , or a renewal due to age or change of address following the period shown in the footnote.

 

Just as a general guidance, anyone addressing the court, either as a witness or by letter etc., should prepare what they wish to say and keep it simple. Waffle will not go down well and being too complicated can result in being tied up by the prosecutor or magistrates in questioning. They are not permitted to read from a script.

 

The demeanor and appearance will benefit the defendant if they are smart without being over formal and show remorse. The magistrates will understand nervousness, especially from a first time offender, but sometimes an embarrassed smile, which is common with a lot of people, can appear to be a smirk! Whilst the magistrates are there to assess the facts, they are after all human, so anything to influence them in his favour should be considered.

 

I regret that gloryhunter is a little mistaken with the points issue, the following applies.

'How long endorsements stay on your driving licence

 

An endorsement must stay on your driving licence for the following periods of time:

Eleven years from date of conviction

If the offence is:

 

  • drinking or drugs and driving - shown on the licence as DR10, DR20, DR30 and DR80
  • causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs – shown on the licence as CD40, CD50 and CD60
  • causing death by careless driving, then failing to provide a specimen for analysis – shown on the licence as CD70

Example: Date of conviction is 3 December 2002 - the endorsement must stay on the licence until 3 December 2013.

Four years from the date of conviction

If the offence is for:

 

  • reckless/dangerous driving - shown on the licence as DD40, DD60 and DD80
  • offences resulting in disqualification
  • disqualified from holding a full driving licence until a driving test has been passed

Example: Date of conviction is 28 May 2004 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 28 May 2008.

Four years from the date of offence

In all other cases.

Example: Date of offence 10 June 2005 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 10 June 2009.'

 

Regards

Edited by Gick
spelling

My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

If you have found my post helpful, please enhance my reputation by clicking on the Heart. Thank you

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Do you know how much time defendants are allocated to address the court?

 

There is no fixed allocation for a Magistrates Court hearing as there is for County Court.

The case will proceed for as long as needs be.

There will most likely be 2 magistrates and in the middle a third-known as Chairman of the bench.

In front sits the Clerk to the Court who introduces the cases,and also can assist the Magistrates on sentencing points.

It is likely that any decision will be discussed and taken by all 3 magistrates,and given the mitigating circumstances,I personally think that they will retire for a few minutes to decide what punishment to award.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Dear All,

 

Firstly, I wanted to say thank you to those who contributed to this thread. Unfortunately, it is bad news as my friend has lost his license for six months. He gave a statement to the court which I helped him prepare for and the magistrates did retire to deliberate. However, they said despite the circumstances they had no choice but to suspend his license. I think the crucial point was that he couldn't provide his old insurance policy as evidence. He didn't have a copy and had called his company to get one, but it didn't arrive in time. They also felt that despite his background it was his responsibility to make sure he was properly insured.

 

Thanks again.

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Thanks for the update.

Not good news then.

Yes it does sound like there was more than just one point considered.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Dear malifact,

I am sorry that your friend has received the 6 months ban, did the magistrates hit him with a large fine also, or accept mitigation to keep this low? There is so much publicity with regard to uninsured drivers that there is a greater tendency to load the deterrent factor.

 

I hope that your support for him will continue in appealing to your employers to, if possible, redeploy him into some non-driving role. I am sure that he is very grateful for your efforts on his (and his family's) behalf.

 

Regards

My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

If you have found my post helpful, please enhance my reputation by clicking on the Heart. Thank you

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Dear malifact,

I am sorry that your friend has received the 6 months ban, did the magistrates hit him with a large fine also, or accept mitigation to keep this low? There is so much publicity with regard to uninsured drivers that there is a greater tendency to load the deterrent factor.

 

I hope that your support for him will continue in appealing to your employers to, if possible, redeploy him into some non-driving role. I am sure that he is very grateful for your efforts on his (and his family's) behalf.

 

Regards

 

Thanks. No, he did not receive a large fine, as they took his financial circumstances into account I believe. The good news is he's managed to keep his job. Our mutual friend was very sympathetic and has arranged for someone to use his van while the ban is place and drive him around. It's going to be tough for him, but he's accepted what's happened. I haven't had a chance to speak to him face to face yet as he's very busy. If he mentions anything that may help other forum users I will update my post.

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