As summer was ending, I made a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) declaration for both bikes around last September. However, as we had a mild October I got road tax on my bike, or so I thought.

Unfortunately, I had taxed the wrong MT-09, i.e my partner’s and not mine. The DVLA wrote to me with an offer of a fine, but as I was working away in the Middle East during November and December I didn’t accept the offer. Now I have a Court summons for ‘using a vehicle in contravention of a statutory off-road notification (SORN)’.

Firstly, do I really have to go to Court? Secondly, I want to defend the case as I made a mistake. I have evidence I paid road tax for an MT-09 and it doesn’t seem right or fair that I should get convicted for 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, whilst it was unintentional on your part, you have no defence because you did ride the bike whilst SORN. 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 £2,500 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.

Andrew Prendergast

Motorcycle Sport & Leisure – November 2020