We know it’s easy for a car MOT or 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.
Unfortunately, along with driving without a valid driving licence, these are what’s known as motoring document offences, and they can lead to fines and points on your licence.
Being charged with a document offence can be a frightening prospect, but a specialist motoring solicitor can help you.
By contacting First4lawyers you can receive no obligation guidance from our advisors, and gain access to our selection of pre-vetted lawyers who can look at your case.
What are document offences?
Vehicle document offences can be either driving without a licence, MOT, or tax, or failing to produce documentation proving you have any combination of those three when asked.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 permits the police to demand that you produce your driving documents at any time, including your driving licence, insurance certificate, and MOT certificate. If asked to produce these documents, you will be issued with an HORT1 ‘Producer’ ticket.
If you are asked to produce these documents, you 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 insurance and MOT documents 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 issued with an HORT1 Producer, then you will be charged with a document offence. This offence carries a Level 3 fine of up to £1,000.
The maximum fine for having no 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.
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.
What are the defences to 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’ve been charged with a document offence and want to dispute it – what should I do?
If you have been issued with an HORT1 Producer, it is important that you do not 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 First4lawyers for an assessment of your case.