no road tax - summons - moonshine

I have a MK2 celica supra which I have restored over the last two years as a hobby. I was offered a place to display the car at a Jap car show but was only given a weeks notice. I took the Friday off work and took the car for it's MOT, which it passed. The Saturday morning I went to get the tax only to find the insurance company had one letter of the reg wrong on the covernote and they wouldn't let me get the road tax. Desperate not to loose my chance to show the car I decided to take the car and get the tax in the week when the correct covernote came through.

Driving up the M1 I was stopped by the police and reported for no road tax. In the week I bought the road tax (backdated) and thought nothing more of it. 4 Months later I get a summons to appear in court and am being accused of dodging road for the two years that the car was in the garage. I admit that I should not have used the car without tax, but no way have I been dodging tax for two years! I have been told that it is up to me to prove that the car was not used the road during that period.

Guilty untill proven innocent? Is this true?
no road tax - summons - martint123
Guilty until proven innocent? Is this true?

Sadly, with you being caught with no valid road tax you are guilty.

Have you declared SORN - if you have then this could make it worse and you have told porkies rather than being forgetfull.

When you get to court you will get the chance to give your story and hopefully you will have evidence that the vehicle was off the road for those two years - photos?? receipts?? witnesses??

no road tax - summons - moonshine
yes, I accept that I should not have driven the car. I'm happy to accept a fine for not having tax for when I used the car, but I'm not being fined or paying for the two years it was off road.

Why do I have to prove my innocence? Surely the DVLA should have to prove that is was on the road during that period.

I had declared a SORN. The MOT certs prove that in the last 3 years the car has only covered 600 miles. I have a garage (where the car is kept) and a private driveway - why would I park the car on the road?

I havn't told porkies at all - I did my best to get the tax, they wouldn't let me buy it! I have always kept my other car insured, taxed and MOT'd. I have a clean licence, have never broken the law and know I'm made to feel like a criminal.
no road tax - summons - martint123
OK - they have to provide evidence for what they're charging you with. I haven't got a SORN/renewal form here, but you have to be careful of the wording on it.
Hmmm, just had a look and you sign to say:-

I declare I am the registered keeper of this vehicle and it will not be used or parked on a public road from the date given above, until a licence is applied for.
I declare that I have checked the information provided on this form and I believe it is correct.

It does say applied for you applied, but failed to tax it. The fact you have another car (for the whole period?) also helps.

As they have charged you, it looks like you will have to go to court. Do you have any 'legal assistance' or whatever it's called included on your insurance? - they can usually help in anything other than speeding cases.

no road tax - summons - Civic8
Have you checked out the webb site for info on it.From what I have read you have to declare sorn every year.I may have misread good luck
no road tax - summons - Dwight Van Driver
SORN has to be declared annually.

Nevertheless you used the vehicle without an Excise Licence and have been dealt with in accordance with the law.

Your now summoned to Court. Your next course of action is to make a personal appearance (or engage a Solicitor) and explain the facts that you have mentioned. (600 miles without Tax as I read it over 4 years????). Take all the evidence that you can as Court can make you pay 5 times the amount of duty lost, in your case seems over 2 years.

I note nothing done about your Insurance Cover Note which didn't cover the vehicle you were driving as wrong number was shown.

no road tax - summons - Cliff Pope
It's a bit late to say this, but these minor typing errors in insurance docs are a real pain. They need scrutinising minutely, because you can bet that some eagle-eye minion at the PO will find something you have missed.
In your situation once I did try going to another PO in the rush hour, and the tiny error (1995 written as 1895)was not spotted. I got the insurance note corrected pdq.

It's going to be a bit difficult proving that you never once in all the 2 years used the car on the road.
When the real police state comes we'll look back and realise that SORN was the start of it all.
no road tax - summons - Sooty Tailpipes
Next door to me, there are squatters, they have two cars, no tax or insurance no doubt either, 8< snip 8< They have got away with it for months, despite me reporting them to the DVLA.

Allegations of illegal behaviour, whether true or not, have been deleted. DD.
no road tax - summons - moonshine
This what annoyes me most - If I was a criminal who hadn't bothered to register the car in my name I would be getting away with it. If I did get caught I would probably only have to pay the fine at £1 per week.

I declared the SORN each year. The Insurance company sent me a new covernote which arrived a couple of days later, I then went and bought the tax, backdated as we had just gone into a new month.

How on earth am I supposed to prove that car was not used on the road? Shouldn't it be that they have prove it was used?
no road tax - summons - madf
"How on earth am I supposed to prove that car was not used on the road?"

Get out the documents for your first car. If it has an MOT, it will show mileages at MOT dates. Service history will do ditto. Write down what you use car for and roughly weekly mileage. Apply to first car. Ensure it tallies with annual total.

Now you have some form of DOCUMENTED proof your first car was your only form of transport.

Then get your neighbours (if willing) to sign a typed statement to declare they have only seen you drive your 1st car.. and never your second..

So now you have independent witnesses.

etc etc.. Remember if your case sounds reasonable and your evidence is in writing to back you up, a court may believe you .. if you just have words they are unlikely to.

If you can't do the above, then just pay the fine....:-(
no road tax - summons - moonshine
Excellent idea, I can certainly prove the milage covered in my first car (audi A4) that's done 14K miles in the last year.

Our driveway is shared with our neighbour, I'm sure they will be happy to sign a statement. They often ask me how the work on the car has been progressing.

As I said before, I'm willing to pay the fine for not having tax on that day. But pay tax and fine for two years when it was in my garage? - No way - this country already taxes me enough as it is.

Many thanks for the suggestions.
no road tax - summons - Pugugly {P}
Just to clarify - It still had the SORN when you were stopped ?
no road tax - summons - moonshine
Yes, it was still covered by a SORN when I was stopped.
no road tax - summons - Pugugly {P}
They have then assumed that you may have used it in the past without tax. You need a good brief. (Sell sell sell) seriously you need to take advice or it will end up costing you a packet. If you have a brief use him/her but you need a specialist traffic one if you possibly can. You can defend yourself free of charge and the Clerk of the Court is duty bound to assist you in this, or take advantage of the duty scheme on the day, but the best you can get out of this is an adjourment until he/she can study your case papers, and it could start costing you thereafter. CAB have Solicitor access (PU has been seen lurking occasionally.) I would read the advice on this wonderful website but you take your chances (you do that with a brief as well!.) Initially I would try to make an offer to them - you never know. I won't advice you on line these cases can be pretty fruaght.
no road tax - summons - Sooty Tailpipes
I was once told about a man in a similar situation, he went to court and represented himself, and simply told anyone who spoke, that he didn't understand what they meant, he claimed not to understand all their jargon, and was told to get someone to represent him, and it was adjourned, he came back the next time, and said he couldn't afford anyone, and in the end, the judge or whatever got quite cross and threw it out.
no road tax - summons - No Do$h
Moonshine, check your AA/RAC or whatever cover and your insurance and see whether it provides for legal representation in motoring matters. You may get a pleasant surprise.
no road tax - summons - John Shelton
In a way im surprised they are proceeding with this prosecution. Its not actually the Police who prosecute, its the DVLA who back the prosecution in consultation with the CPS. You need to prove that you havent driven previously on SORN but the fact that you have backdated the tax to before you were stopped and paid in full is on your side because DVLA are mainly concerned with the loss of revenue and in this case there has been none. In 1987 I had a tax disc stolen from my car. I reported it lost to the Police, then contacted DVLC who knew I had paid for that period and sent me a letter to display in my car saying that if stopped by the police for driving without displaying a disc they would not prosecute. I think I was lucky because I doubt these days they would do this. I was never stopped but ran around with this letter in my car with no tax disc displayed for several months before DVLC issued me with a duplicate disc.
no road tax - summons - Pugugly {P}
Sorry MS - Did you get a summons for breaching the SORN
no road tax - summons - moonshine
The summons says:

.....that on the27/07/2003 you kept on a public road a mechanically propelled motor vehicle for which a vehicle licence was not in force...

Then under notice of penalties:

IN addition if you were the vehicles keeper, the prosecuter will ask the court to order you to pay a further penalty in the sum of £320.84, being an amount equal to the outstanding duty...
no road tax - summons - John Shelton
eeeek, get some legal advice fast. You need it. I wont say any more but get a solicitor to write to DVLA and explain the situation.
no road tax - summons - moonshine
Pugugly - could you email me outside of the forum?

Email is

magistrates court - advice? - moonshine
Hi, I posted a few days ago about my court summons regarding my alleged 2 years road tax dodging. I've just spoken with a solicitor who says I should just save my money and represent myself. Has anyone done this before? I've never been to court before so I don't have a clue as to how it works. If anyone can help or give a few tips I would be very grateful.

magistrates court - advice? - moonshine
Just to add to the earlier post, the solictor reckons that the DVLA are only interested in getting the back duty, he didn't mention anything about the fine I'm likely to get.
magistrates court - advice? - Dwight Van Driver

A very good friend of mine has sent you a very long E Mail which should go a long way in settling your mind. He is not on the forum and in any case its too long to post.

magistrates court - advice? - moonshine
Just wanted to thank everyone for their help and suggestions on this. Forums like this are an excellent source of information and also good fun! and the HJ website is pretty good too!

Thanks again.
magistrates court - advice? - Mark (RLBS)

If it is useful, by all means post it whether or not it is long.

Your choice, of course.

magistrates court - advice? - Dwight Van Driver
OK Mark, I suppose you can always print off and use as loo paper.
A No tax case in a nutshell at Court based on Moonshine's predicament.

Firstly if there is a Court sitting before your summons then try and pop along to see the proceedings. Seek the guidance of The Court Usher and check out if the Court does have a Court Duty Solicitor.

Now write to the Court in answer to your summons and tell them that you intend to plead Guilty but would like the opportunity to address the Court in dispute of the amount of back tax claimed.

Ok so on the fateful day.

Best bib and tucker but not too flash as they may think you are loaded.

Book in with the Court Usher (CU) (generally the guy waltzing around in a Headmaster's black gown). Tell him you are a Defendant and want to give evidence and if there is more than one Court running which Court is listed to hear your case. Check out the availability of the Court Duty Solicitor to plead your case. Free. Be wary of him suggesting an adjournment as his costs may, I say may come into play. You are entitled to plead your case and save on Solicitors costs, which can be heavy. But if a really complicated case then a Solicitor may be essential. Your case is cut and dried. He, CU, should allow you into the Court before your case so that you are present when your name is called and you can respond "HERE". This will take you away from certain unsavourys that may be floating around in the general area.

Now the composition of the Court.

On the High Bench will probably be two or three or more lay Magistrates whom you address as Your Worship.

In front of them, a solitary figure (but may have a Clerk at his side to help) will be The Magistrates Clerk. He is the guy that runs the show, reads the Charges, takes the pleas regulates the proceedings and gives advice to Their Worships on the Law - what the maximum fine can be etc.

To the left of these should be a stand for the witnesses and on the right a stand for the accused (You) (or vice versa) or they may let you stand at the side of the Court.

On the floor will be the Prosecuting Officer who will present the case and read out the evidence. If you had a Defence Solicitor he would be at the side of PO to give his account when ready. May be members of the Press present and at the back of the Court the General Public.

When your case comes up they should call your name and you step forward. Mags Clerk (MC) will confirm your identity, outline the charge and ask how you plead. You will say Guilty AND point out that you want to address the Court on the matter of back duty which you dispute.

MC may then give you advice and then invite the Prosecuting Officer to outline the evidence. Listen carefully and if necessary make a note of what back duty he is claiming and why.

MC may then give you the option of either giving evidence under oath or from the floor of the Court. If the former,with Bible held aloft in your right hand you say "I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" DO NOT SAY SO HELP ME GOD. Don't worry the MC or the Usher will guide you through this. You can then tell Their Worships the facts according to you and why the claim for back duty is excessive as you declared SORN and only used the vehicle the one occasion that you were stopped. Submit what evidence you have to the MC who will pass to Their Worships. Now comes the chance for the PO to cross-examine you and find any weaknesses in your story. Guard against giving a long spiel and try and keep answers short and if possible to Yes and No.

The other Option that you will be given is that you can make your statement from the floor of the Court which is the same as taking the Oath part but an Oath will not be required and you cannot be cross examined.

Of the two the most impressive will be your evidence on Oath, as it will tend to show you are telling the truth.

After this Their Worships will deliberate and pronounce sentence

Use vehicle without an Excise Licence. Maximum fine &1000 or five times the amount of duty evaded which ever is the greater.

Now do not reach for the smelling salts THIS IS THE MAXIMUM they can impose and ten to one much less than this. Round my way it generally is 75 quid and bit of back duty and court costs.

They cannot disqualify you on this charge alone or give penalty points.

Do not let the sense of the occasion get to you otherwise you will stand with the back of your leg going like a fiddlers elbow with nerves. Remember they cannot make you pregnant or pass the death penalty. Think of it like a Pub discussion when you argue your corner.
For those of you that have never been to Court then an entertaining morning can be had for free by attending a Mags Court or a Crown Court sitting in the Public Gallery. Sometimes it can be akin to a Pantomime, othertimes most revealing. Overall you should come away with the impression that British Justice, as claimed, is the best
magistrates court - advice? - billy25
Overall you should come away with the impression that British Justice, as claimed, is the best

having just been through a crown court case (as a defence witness), and having seen with my own eyes,the amount of I.M.O "underhand techniques" used by the police,to try to secure a prosecution, plea bargaining by the prosecution(when one of their police witnesses suddenly changed their statement, at the last minute, thereby rendering the charge inappropiate),it makes me wonder "just who are the *real* crooks"

incidently, the case was thrown out, because of the above mentioned,...but it could have resulted in an innocent man going to jail and having a criminal record recorded against him.
magistrates court - advice? - Dwight Van Driver
But an innocent man (as you say) was not convicted.

Justice done?

magistrates court - advice? - billy25
maybe so in the end!

but he had to endure almost seven months of hassle(various court appearances, solicitor and barrister appointments, time off work to attend various "meetings" and also the inevetable scorn of some of the local community,and some of "the mud is still sticking")

whole thing leaves a bitter taste in my mouth!!

Value my car