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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69259
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was pulled over by the policy yesterday 16/09 for no insurance.

Resolved Question:

I was pulled over by the policy yesterday 16/09 for no insurance. I was unable to supply details so was asked to report to the police station with certificate in 7 days. Upon return to the office I checked my insurance with Halifax (self-service) and noted that it had been cancelled within 2 weeks. I then contacted them and was told I had supplied an incorrect date for a claim which was incorrect by 2 months. They duplicated the claim so the underwriter cancelled it. They said they wrote to me twice first to inform me and then to tell me they owed me a refund. I never received these letters. If I had I would have acted immediately as I have 2 young children and also work in the insurance industry. Once I realised I had no insurance I set up a new policy online and took all the paper work to the police station on the same day and was told I would receive a summons to court.
I had no intention of not driving without insurance. I didn’t receive any letters from the insurer. They made no effort to contact me. If I was owed a refund I would have contacted them but they kept hold of this for 3 months. They have now started to process the refund once I asked them and communication was via email. When I asked them why they couldn’t do that for the cancellation they simply said they don’t do that, even though they clearly had my details on record.
I am interested to know if I should go to court as not guilty to present my case. I have never been in this situation before. Would my reasoning stand up in court or would I still get the same punishment or would the judge have discretion to not award the points etc. as I had no intent to drive around uninsured. Even if the insure Halifax had contacted me later about the refund that would have at least brought it to my attention.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
did you receive a refund?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I received the email yesterday after i spoke with them, they asked that i reply confirming i dont have a insaurance certificate any more and they can then process the refund. I have not yet recieved it but it has been processed. They have owed it me since June but ovviously i didnt know anything about it as i never recieved the 2 letters they say they sent me.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Were they sent to the wrong address?
Convincing a court that two separate letters went missing might not be easy.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No to the correct address. If i did recieve them i would have wanted my refund but as i didnt i knew nothing of the cancellation. There was no intent on my part to be un-insured i have never been convicted of a offence like this before. I work for an insurance company.

I have 2 young children and would never put them at risk with out insurance.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
There is no point in pleading not guilty but you could argue that special reasons apply not to add points.
There are a number of options and it really depends how much risk you want to take. It is slightly surprising that the police did not just give you the fixed penalty but since they did not I suppose it's an easier decision.
They have six months to lay an information that leads to a summons and they do sometimes forget so it is worth waiting to see whether they act.
If they do and you can always write to CPS making representations that the matter is not in the public interest. If you get a sensible reviewing lawyer then they may consider that. If you get one of the lunatics then they will not.
Proceeding on the basis that they do not drop the matter on public interest grounds, there is no point in pleading not guilty. Driving without insurance is an offence of strict liability. Either you are insured or you were not and you were not.
You do have the option of pleading guilty at court and arguing that special reasons apply not to add points to your licence. That is a high test. You have to show essentially that there was no way that you could have known about this. You do have the advantage of not having received a refund. Whether or not the court will accept that you didn't receive two separate letters is another matter. Magistrates are a law unto themselves. It could be argued that you wouldn't really have the motivation not to deal with this had you received the letter because you could have claimed a refund but whether they accept that is another matter. If you are going to do that then you need to produce evidence in court that you have hitherto always kept the vehicle insured.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

At what point would i write to the CPS? will that information be available in the summons? would it be myself that writes to them or a solictor?

What risks would i be exposed to if i plead guilty and at what stage would i be granted to put my case forward to discuss with the judge if at all?

I understand i have 3 options are they correct?

1 - plead guilty and accept punishment

2 - plead guilty and go to court

3 - Plead not guilty and go to court

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
1 You can get a solicitor to do it but will be at cost because you won't get legal aid to defend this.
2 I'm not sure what you mean?
3 Yes, but you also have the option to plead guilty and argue special reasons as I covered above.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Unclear explanation about what to do and who to speak to and at which point
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I'm not sure what else I can add?
I think I've covered your options above.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

If i plead guilty in court would i uncurr court costs? or would that only be for a not guilty verdict?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, there will be court costs. Its a question of how much.
Special reasons hearings do lead to costs as well so it is a risk.
Even a plea at first instance leads to costs of £85. Contested matters are usually about £300 plus.
I'm happy to continue with this please remember to leave feedback for my answer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Would I be able to write to the CPS myself using some kind of template?

Do you think the reasoning I have given is good enough to hold up in court? or should i accept my fate and accept punishment?

I will leave feedback.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The insurer halfax has just called (complaints) they will write a statement of fact and are happy to send it to the police station. Is there a chance this could get me off in some way.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It depends what they say on the point. If they are going to say that there is no way you would have known then that would be helpful to support a special reasons application.
There isn't any point in sending it to the police though. You need to present it to court.
If they are going to say that you were insured then obviously the whole thing falls away although I do not immediately see how they could say that.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Is the summons an automatic process of would they look at the statement of facts that will be written favourably that would be on my file if i took it to the police station when making the decision? it will be written by the halifax police liason officer.

It wont be an indemity letter but will cover the confusion etc. The lady at Halifax said it has worked previously. I could ask for 2 and give one to the police station and keep one for the court.

Based on the info what are your thoughts on the case is there any chance i could get off or get less points etc?

If the judge awards in my favour, will i be able to recoup my court costs?

What are my chances if i dont go to court with a solicitor? I dont think i could afford too.

Sorry for all the questions

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
They have six months to lay an information that leads to a summons and they do sometimes forget so it is worth waiting to see whether they act.
If the letter says that you would not have known then there is a good chance of special reasons.
No. You are guilty either way. You just won't get the costs of a contested hearing because that would have been found in your favour.
You are always better with representation but many people do succeed without.
Please remember to leave feedback for my answer.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69259
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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