Section 56 of the Road Traffic Act, 1991 defines the provisions related to the obligation to be insured or guaranteed. According to this, a user must not drive a mechanically propelled vehicle at public places, without a valid policy of insurance. It states that:
The person liable for injury caused due to negligent use of the vehicle must have an approved policy of insurance or a certificate of guarantee that compensates any person against damages or costs incurred on account of injury.
A person, contravening the requirement of insurance shall be guilty of no insurance offences. Such an offence carries substantial penalties necessitating a qualified solicitor for defence.
How Can One Be Prosecuted for No Insurance Offence?
A member of Garda Siochana can make a demand for producing a valid certificate of insurance to the user. In this case, it is obligatory to provide it within 10 days of the demand. A person will be deemed to use a vehicle without insurance if:
- He/She fails or refuses to produce the certificate of insurance
- Or, does not permit the Garda Siochana to read or examine the certificate of insurance
- No other documentary evidence other than the original certificate of insurance is accepted in such a case. Therefore, non-compliance can attract prosecution under the no insurance offence. It is important to note that the vehicle owner may be guilty and liable for injury upon allowing someone else to use the vehicle.
What are the penalties under the offence?
A person convicted of no insurance offence will have to bear the following penalties:
- A fine of up to €5000
- Imprisonment not exceeding six months
- Fine and imprisonment both
- 2-year disqualification from driving after the first conviction
- Second conviction onwards, a potentially longer period of disqualification
- 5 penalty points
What is the defence available for no insurance offences?
An experienced solicitor can help you regarding the defences available under subsections 5 and 6 of section 56 of the Road Traffic Act. The following defence is available if you are charged with the no insurance offence.
Owner of the vehicle charged with this offence can prove that the vehicle was being used without his consent. Also, that he had taken all necessary precautions to prevent unauthorized use.
Alternatively, a person other than the owner, charged with the offence can prove that he was using the vehicle complying with the order of the owner.
If you are charged with this offence, reach out to the team at Keenan & Company Solicitors for the necessary assistance relating to your case.