Offences which can lead to disqualification
Each year, more than a quarter of a million motorists in the United Kingdom are disqualified from driving. Periods of suspension range from a matter of days, to months or years, depending on the seriousness of the offence.
For some motoring offences, a driving ban is mandatory. This means that the court must impose a minimum ban. For less serious infractions, the court may use its own discretion in determining whether or not to disqualify a motorist from driving.
There are some offences for which it is possible for a disqualified driver to apply for a reduction in the term of a ban. There are also times when a driver is allowed to apply to get their licence back early (not the same thing).
In the criminal justice system, there are three ways a court may impose a driving disqualification:
• Instant Driving Ban
• Totting Up Procedure
• New Drivers Act
Instant Driving Bans
Offences for which a ban is obligatory include:
• Causing death by dangerous driving or by careless driving, for example, while under the influence of drugs or drink
• Dangerous driving
• Driving while unfit with drink or drugs
• Refusing to provide a specimen for analysis
A motorist may be charged with dangerous driving while using a mobile phone or other hand-held device, such as SatNav. This may happen if you are involved in an accident while illegally using such a device or if the police determine that your standard of driving was impaired. In addition to a driving ban, the penalties for illegally using a mobile phone may include a prison sentence and an unlimited fine.
Courts may impose a driving ban at their own discretion. This type of offence would include:
• Careless or inconsiderate driving or driving without due care and attention. Again, this includes the illegal use of a mobile phone
• Failure to report an accident or failing to stop after an accident
• Driving while disqualified
• Driving without insurance
• Driving after revocation or refusal on medical grounds
• Traffic light offences
• Failure to identify the driver of a vehicle
• Driving in a way that is not in accordance with a driving licence
Totting Up Procedure
While some motoring offences may not attract an instant ban, discretionary or otherwise, penalty points may be added to the licence. When a driver has accumulated a total of 12 points, sometimes called endorsements, on their licence, the courts are advised to impose a ban.
New Drivers Act
A licence may be revoked if a new driver accumulates a total of six penalty points within two years of qualifying for a driving licence. The act was passed in 1995 and applies to every driver who passed their first full driving test after 1 June 1997.
Disqualification for less than 56 days
Where the term of disqualification is shorter than 56 days, the paper licence or counterpart document is stamped by the court and returned to the licence holder. The stamp shows the disqualification period and there is no need to apply for a new licence after this period has expired. The old, stamped, licence may be used once the ban has been completed.
Where the driving ban is longer than 56 days, the licence holder must reapply for a new driving licence before they may drive again. In some cases, a new driving test or an extended driving test may be required. This is explained by the court at the time of the hearing.
Non-high risk offenders will be routinely sent a D27 form by the DVLA 56 days before the driving ban ends. The forms needs to be completed with accurate, up to date information and returned to the DVLA. A new passport-style photograph may need to be sent along with the completed application.
High Risk Offenders
Drivers are classified as High Risk Offenders if they:
• Have been convicted of two drunk driving offences within ten years
• Had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at 2.5 or more times the legal alcohol limit
• Refused to produce a blood, urine or breath sample at the request of a law enforcement officer.