PRISON IS ALWAYS the first thing on a Judge’s mind.
There's a good reason for that.
If you're caught driving while disqualified it means that a court put you off the road and you decided to drive anyway.
As far as a Judge is concerned, you're giving two-fingers to the court.
Imagine walking down the street and someone sticking up two fingers at you as they walked past.
How would you feel?
That’s how Judges feel when you decide to drive while disqualified. You have no respect for their Orders.
But unlike you, Judge’s have far-reaching remedies. Unlike you there are places they can put people. You understand.
Judges don't disqualify people easily.
In fact, most will often try not to disqualify someone if they can. They do this because they know how severe disqualification is.
But sometimes they have no choice.
Court Orders are mandatory.
They are not optional, not discretionary,
not open to interpretation.
You don’t have a choice about
whether you comply with them or not.
For example, if you're convicted of drink driving you will be disqualified from driving.
That’s because the Judge has to disqualify you from driving.
They have no choice.
The law says they must do it and the Judge’s job is to implement the law.
It’s the same for dangerous driving.
If you're convicted of dangerous driving you will be disqualified. Again, the Judge has no choice.
They must put you off the road if you're convicted. The law states that they do it.
And they know what disqualifications mean.
They know the extreme hardship involved.
None of them take any joy in putting people off the road.
AN ORDER OF DISQUALIFICATION is exactly that: an Order.
Court Orders are mandatory. They are not optional, not discretionary, not open to interpretation.
You don’t have a choice about whether you comply with them or not.
Most people comply. Some don't.
For those that don’t serious consequences now fall into place.
Those consequences include - at a minimum - a new disqualification of at least double the original ban.
But bigger problems now lurk in the waters ahead of you.
Jail is now a real possibility for you.
The threat of jail is accelerated if an accident or injury occurs because you drove while disqualified.
If either of these two things happen, the Judge will know that the person or property that you crashed into will not be able to recover from you because you had no insurance.
And that means something else.
It means that if the injured party wants to sue you they are going to have to sue the rest of us.
There is a body called the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
The MIBI was established to “compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles”.
Every insurance company in the country pays into a central fund. That fund is operated by the MIBI.
The money in that MIBI fund comes from people who pay for their insurance.
One of the reasons people's insurance premiums remain stubbornly high is because of claims taken by people who have been injured by uninsured drivers.
Lots of people drive all their lives and never have a single accident.
And during all that time they have diligently paid for insurance.
Over the decades that has amounted to tens of thousands of euros.
But they have done it because that is the law.
Those people feel understandably annoyed that having obeyed the rules and paid for insurance through the years, they now have to pay for someone else’s accident.
Why should they pay a second time, once for themselves and now for someone else?
Is that fair?
Of course not.
And this is the view of a Judge.
Judicial deterrents are the
harshest punishments available in a democracy.
Nobody else can put you in jail.
Remember, they have to get motor insurance too. And they're tired of people coming before them charged with driving without insurance or worse, driving while disqualified.
And they feel significant pressure and a responsibility to punish people who do these things. Deterrents are required. These are warnings to the rest of the public who might be thinking of doing something this foolish.
Judicial deterrents are the harshest punishments available in a democracy.
Nobody else can put you in jail.
And formidable deterrents are required for cases of driving while disqualified.
After all, if there were no strong deterrents why would anyone buy car insurance?
If people decided - purely on a cost-benefit analysis- that the costs to them of buying insurance far outweighed the benefits, then the result would be chaos.
We would have a society where every time an accident occurred the injured party would not be compensated. People would no longer drive their cars for fear of being hit by an uninsured driver.
Society would grind to a halt.
The courts punish people who break the law. That is one of its functions.
But another function is to act as a deterrent.
WHENEVER A JUDGE SENDS someone to prison they are sounding a clear warning to everyone else in society: if you break the law in this way, then you run the risk of going to prison too.
Nobody wants to go to prison.
If you know that there is a real threat of jail if you drive while disqualified, you're naturally unlikely to do it.
So, for those people who do drive while disqualified one of the tasks that the Judiciary set themselves is make an example out of them.
to go to
By putting people who drive while disqualified in jail, the court is sending two clear messages to all road users: paying for insurance is the right and proper thing to do, and this is what happens to people who don’t do that.
This is the Judge's point of view. Jail is not inevitable, but they need very strong arguments not to put you there.
Now you know why.