Driving document offences

We know it’s easy for a car tax renewal to slip your mind, and that it can be hard to respond in a timely manner to police requests to present driving documents.

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Being charged with a document offence can be a frightening prospect, but a specialist motoring solicitor can help you.

What are motoring document offences?

The Road Traffic Act 1988 permits the police to demand that you produce your driving documents at any time, including your driving licence and insurance certificate.

If asked to produce these documents, you will be issued with an HORT1 'Producer' ticket.  You then have seven days to take them to a police station of your choice, in order to avoid being charged with a document offence.

If the police have asked to see your driving licence, then you must present it in person, whereas someone else can take your insurance certificate to the police station on your behalf.

It isn’t an offence not to have your documents with you inside your vehicle at all times. In fact, it is dangerous to keep all of your documentation inside your car, as this would give thieves everything they need in order to prove ownership of the vehicle in the event that it was stolen.

What are the penalties for document offences?

If you fail to produce the required documents within seven days of being requested by a police office, then you will be charged with a document offence. This offence carries a maximum fine of £5.000 and 8 points on your licence.

Driving without insurance is considered a serious offence by the courts, and punishments vary depending on the circumstances. You can be handed a fixed penalty notice requiring a payment of £200 and six penalty points on your licence, or you may receive a court summons where the punishment can include a fine of up to £5,000 and six to eight points on your licence.

If you do not produce your driving licence within 12 months of being asked to do so by the police, it will be automatically revoked by the DVLA.

The maximum fine for having no tax or MOT is £1,000, while driving without a licence is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 and between three and six penalty points on your licence.

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What are the defences to driving document offences?

The specific details of your individual circumstances are central to building a successful defence. For example, the possible reasons for failing to produce your documents can range from you having been hospitalised to having had a fire in your house.

Speaking to a First4Lawyers advisor can be the first step to working out what’s best for your circumstances.

I want to dispute a document offence - what should I do next?

If you have been issued with an HORT1 Producer it's important you don't ignore it. Take the relevant documents to your nearest police station as soon as possible.
If you have already been charged with failing to produce your documents, then you should contact us for an assessment of your case, to see how we can help.

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