Driver getting conviction

Getting a driving ban lifted early

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Applying for a driving licence back early after a disqualification

Motorists serving a ban often ask if they may apply to have their driving privileges restored before the end of the disqualification period. Under S.42 RTOA 1988, an application to reinstate driving privileges may only be made where the original ban was longer than two years. In this case, the driver may petition the court who issued the most recent ban, provided a minimum ban has been served. This minimum period may be:

  • Two years, provided the original ban was less than four years
  • Half the original length of the disqualification period if the original ban was longer than four years but fewer than ten years
  • Five years if the ban was for ten years or longer.

The court will take into consideration:

  • The applicant's character and conduct since the conviction
  • The nature of the offence for which the driver was disqualified
  • Any other circumstances that are relevant to the case

Circumstances that might favourably influence the court's decision are, for example, where a child is put at a disadvantage as the result of a ban. High Risk Offenders may be eligible to apply for an early return of driving licence if they attend a drink drive rehabilitation course. This may entitle them to a 25 per cent reduction. in the length of the ban.


The foregoing should not be interpreted as formal legal advice. This is a complicated area of criminal law. While the application process may be pursued by individuals on their own, it is highly recommended to seek expert legal advice.

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