Driving without insurance

I was pulled over for driving without insurance in August this year (15 just gone midnight). Short story is, I had no insurance - fine I understand I'll be found guilty. Long story is - my mother had been in intensive care on life support and I was told she would die as she had suffered 4 simultaneous but seperate occurences of bleeding on the brain. She paid my car insurance for me. Whilst she was in intensive care my policy expired and I was not aware it did not automatically renew (again my fault - I should have checked - but I had more important matters on my mind at the time). I've just received a summons for magistrates court. What am I likely to receive and what is the best way to deal with this? I am 25, have 3 points for speeding 3 years ago (35 in a 30 at 02:00), have part qualifies as a driving instructor (although I am no longer pursuing that career) which means I have passed advance theory and practical tests and have never been in trouble before. Will I get a criminal record or points and a fine? I'm hoping to do a Crime Scene Science degree (or possibly a law degree) and move to the states in a few years - will this affect me? Please help, I'm so confused!
21:59 Mon 10th Dec 2007
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of course it will,the courts do not take driving without insurance very lightly,it is your duty to make sure you are insured,they have heard all the excuses before,you will receive 6 points on your licence,a fine,and court costs as well as getting a criminal record,which will stop you ever getting a visa for the USA.
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Question Author
Zacsmaster - I'm asking for advice and help not sarcastic comments that help no one. I know I was in the wrong and am willing to take the consequences - I simply want to know what I may receive and if one stupid mistake that I made whilst my mum lay dying in hospital will affect me for the rest of my life.
Please do not post on anything for me in the future unless you can be helpful.
Question Author
Normanthedog - thank you for your answer, not what I was wanting to hear, but what I expected. I have been given so many different answers - yes to criminal record, no to criminal record, yes it would affect Visa - no it wouldn't!!!!!!! Can I ask, how do you know the answer?
(2-part post):

It's quite rare for me to agree with Norman but I must do so here. A court can impose between 6 and 8 points for driving without insurance:
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLic ensing/EndorsementsAndDisqualifications/DG_100 22425
They can also impose an immediate driving ban but that would seem to be extremely unlikely in your case. The 'usual' penalty is 6 points, a �200 fine and court costs.

Technically, all motoring offences come under criminal law (i.e. it's a criminal offence to exceed the speed limit) but matters dealt with by fixed penalties are not usually regarded as creating (or adding to) a criminal record. However, any conviction before a court (as will apply in your case) does create a criminal record.

The vast majority of countries either don't require a visa for you to visit them as a tourist, or don't ask any questions about criminal records when you apply for a tourist visa. The USA is one of the few countries which does enquire about criminal convictions. Their rule (as stated on the US embassy website) is that anyone who's ever been arrested (even if totally innocent) or convicted of any offence (except minor motoring matters, such as speeding) is ineligible to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Program. You're required to apply for a visa, which is a long-winded process (up to 5 or 6 months) and requires attending an interview in London.
With the exception of some very serious offences (which automatically bar a person from entering the USA) the process is discretionary, so nobody can say for certain which offences will prevent a person from obtaining a visa or whether the chances of getting a visa are improved as time goes by. However, somebody recently mentioned (here on AB) that their partner had been refused a visa for 2 offences of driving without insurance, so it's obviously taken seriously by US officialdom.

As Norman is usually the first to point out though, the US authorities have no direct access to UK criminal records, so many people simply 'forget' about their convictions and enter the USA (illegally) under the Visa Waiver Program.


PS: Although your 3 points for speeding have to remain on your licence for 4 years, they cease to count for 'totting up' purposes after 3 years, so they might already be 'dead':
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLic ensing/EndorsementsAndDisqualifications/DG_402 2550

PPS: I've just re-read your post. Although you might be able to enter the USA as a tourist, I doubt that you'd be able to acquire a residence visa for the USA.

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