The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Car Insurance (2)

Jason (Case A)
This case is aggravated by his never having taken a test and the fact that he drove deliberately without insurance.
Fine £100 plus £35 costs, deducted from benefit at £5 per week. Disqualified from driving for two months, licence endorsed. No separate penalty (NSP) for the licence offence, but licence endorsed, NSP for the MOT offence.

Mohammed (B) He had a duty to find out about the insurance laws, but holds a licence (albeit technically invalid). Fine £100, plus £35 costs. Deduction from Benefit may not be available, so £5 per week ordered, £5 to pay today. Licence endorsed 6 penalty points. NSP for licence offence and MOT, this licence offence not endorseable. Told by clerk about obtaining a UK licence and advised not to drive until he does.

Charlene (C)
Expired insurance is less serious than never-held. Fine £75 plus £25 costs, £5 per week deduction from benefit. (low level of fine reflects culpability plus cost of children) . Licence endorsed 6 penalty points, so she now has 9 and needs to be very careful.

Patrick (D) already has 6 points so the minimum 6 for today makes him a 'totter' with 12. Disqualified 6 months. Offence aggravated by previous convictions, but fine reduced slightly as being banned will affect his earning power. Fine £200 plus £35 costs. Pay at £20 per week.

John (E)
There is a statutory defence available to those who drive an employer's vehicle that is uninsured. We reject his plea of guilty, instruct the clerk to enter one of not guilty, and acquit him.

Just a few notes: Most of my examples are poor people, because that's how it is in real life. Although the fines are way below the cost of insurance, and also below the new fixed penalty level, there is an overriding legal requirement to ensure that fines are reasonable and proportionate to the def's income. For someone on benefit it will be cheaper to decline a £200 fixed penalty and go to court, pleading guilty as soon as possible. Someone on the local average take-home pay of about £350 per week would be fined around that much. The sting is in the points of course - get to 12 and you will be banned for six months at least. The fact that Mohammed hasn't got a UK licence will not prevent DVLA from creating a record that will show on the police computer, and when he does get a proper licence the points will be on it.