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Driving without insurance is a criminal offence. Some people know they don’t have insurance but chance it (for instance when test driving a second-hand car). Others get caught out by some administrative error: often an insurance company will cancel a policy because of a problem with monthly payments or because they did not receive proof of a no-claims bonus.
It is also an offence to let someone drive your car knowing they have no insurance. A common example is the employer who requires their employee to drive for a work reason. The employer is then prosecuted for “causing or permitting” that person to drive without insurance.
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The penalties can be onerous: if convicted you face between 6 to 8 penalty points on your licence. The court can disqualify you if the case is considered serious enough (a “discretionary” disqualification). You will also get a fine for driving without insurance.
In preparing your defence, a technical examination of your insurance policy is required. Some policies remain valid even if you do not currently hold a valid licence. If you are driving in the course of your employment, there is a defence to driving without insurance if you had no reason to suspect that there was no insurance in place.
Even where you face a conviction for driving a car with no insurance, the court has a discretion not to put points on your licence if there are special reasons not to. Your motoring solicitor will assess the circumstances and consider whether such reasons might apply to your case.
Driving without insurance is a charge brought by the prosecutor (the Procurator Fiscal) against a person for driving which took place in Scotland. The charge is brought under section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.