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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.

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Firstly, drivers have to serve a certain portion of their ban before they can even apply to get it shortened. If the ban's for less than 2 years, they can't apply at all, I'm afraid. But for bans between 2 and 10 years, a wait of at least 2 years is necessary. And for those longer bans, between 4 and 10 years, they'll need to have waited at least half the ban period.

What reasons can I put forward for having a ban shortened?

Now, the reasons that might sway a decision in your favour mostly revolve around how your life circumstances have changed since the ban was imposed. Maybe there's been a significant change in personal circumstances. For example, you might need to drive for a new job, or perhaps there's a family member who requires care and you need to be able to drive to support them. These kinds of things can sometimes make a court consider whether a bit of leniency might be in order.

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I'm serving a long driving ban. Can it be shortened?

Another angle could be demonstrating a genuine change in behaviour, especially if the original offence was related to something like reckless or dangerous driving. If you can show you've taken steps to address the issues that led to your disqualification; maybe through completing a driving course or engaging with community services - it can help your case. It's all about showing that you've taken responsibility and are committed to being a safe and responsible driver if given another chance.

It's worth noting, though, that the court's decision will hinge on several factors, including the severity of the original offence and any evidence of rehabilitation or change in circumstances. They'll also consider the public's safety - that's always a top priority.

Applying for a ban to be lifted

Applying to have a ban reduced isn't a straightforward process. It involves going back to court, and there's usually a fee involved too. Plus, it's always a good idea to get some legal advice before heading down this road. A solicitor can help you understand your chances and guide you through the process.

It can be a tough process, and there's no guarantee of success, but for some, it's a lifeline that can help them get back on track. Just remember, it's all about showing that you've made positive changes and demonstrating how being able to drive again could make a significant difference in your life or the lives of those you care for.


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