Once spring had sprung I stuck some road tax on one of the Fireblades. Unbeknown to me, I had taxed the wrong bike. The DVLA wrote to me with an offer of a fine but I was away on business. As I didn’t accept the offer, I have now got a court summons for “using a vehicle in contravention of a statutory off road notification (SORN)”. Firstly, do I have go to court? Secondly, I want to defend the case as I had paid road tax and it was just a mistake. Can I do this?


Unless the court has offered for you to deal with the matter by post, where you receive a court summons you must attend on the date stated. If you don’t, you risk getting into all kinds of trouble. Where courts have to deal with a ‘no show’ they can hit offenders with harsher sentences and in the worst case scenarios put a warrant out for the arrest of those allegedly committing serious offences.

As for a defence, while it was unintentional on your part, you have no defence. My advice is you plead guilty as soon as possible and try and obtain the most lenient sentence possible. The punishment for such an offence could be a fine of up to £2500 or five times the annual duty chargeable, whichever is greater; plus back duty; That is in addition to court costs and a victim’s surcharge of £15.

Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast

Motorcycle Monthly May 2016