Driving Bans & Disqualification
If you are facing possible disqualification, let our driving ban solicitors advise you. We will give you honest advice about your chances of saving your driving licence.
Get in touch if you have received:
- a request to attend a police station interview
- a letter from the police telling you you have too many points to receive a fixed penalty
- a Single Justice Procedure Notice and think you could be at risk of a driving ban
- a Notice of Proposed Driving Disqualification
- a Court Summons
- a Postal Requisition
- a court hearing date
The court has the option to impose a driving ban for most driving offences. It will depend on the charge you are facing and your circumstances whether there is a chance of avoiding or reducing the ban. Our Driving ban solicitors can let you know what to expect.
How we help
- We can advise you on your plea.
- We can respond to your Single Justice Procedure Notice for you and enter your plea.
- If appropriate, we can write your mitigation for you.
- We can tell you how to strengthen your case.
- We can represent you in court to avoid a ban or keep any disqualification to a minimum.
Types of Driving Disqualifications
There are three types of driving disqualification. Whether you can avoid a ban will depend on the type of offence and your circumstances. It will also depend on the strength of the mitigation you can provide the court. You may want to look at the relevant webpage for the particular offence you are facing. Sometimes driving bans can be used to your advantage.
For example, if you are a new driver and penalty points would result in the revocation of your licence. Unlike penalty points, a ban will not cause your licence to be revoked.
Totting up Ban
A totting disqualification is a special type of ban, only appropriate for the ‘totting up’ of points. A person who accumulates 12 penalty points or more within a three-year period must be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of six months. The exception is if you can demonstrate that this would cause exceptional hardship.
Find out more about Totting Up and Exceptional Hardships here.
Some motoring offences such as drink driving carry mandatory driving bans upon conviction. These offences require the court to impose a period of disqualification, even if they are sympathetic with your position. Most offences that carry an obligatory ban require you to be disqualified for a minimum of 12 months.
Most low-level motoring offences carry penalty points. However, the court also has the discretion to impose a period of disqualification if it sees fit.
A discretionary driving disqualification is an alternative to penalty points, rather than in addition to them. For instance, high-level speeding offences or going through a red traffic light a long time after it changed to red may result in a discretionary ban.
Driving Ban Solicitors Help to Save Your Licence
It is possible to plead guilty to a motoring offence and avoid a ban or points. Most people know that if you successfully defend a motoring offence, you:
- Will avoid a penalty ie. you will not receive penalty points, disqualification or a financial penalty.
- May be able to apply for reimbursement of some of your legal fees.
However, you may not know that there are other ways to avoid a ban or penalty points. Examples include special reasons arguments and exceptional hardship. For more information please see our FAQs on driving bans below.
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Driving Ban FAQs
Which Driving offences can I be banned for?
The court may impose a discretionary disqualification for most driving offences. Most commonly, high-level speeding and careless driving offences may result in a discretionary ban.
Section 34 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 provides that where a person is convicted of an offence involving discretionary disqualification, and either—
(a) the penalty points to be taken into account on that occasion number fewer than 12, or
(b) the offence is not one involving obligatory endorsement,
the court may order him to be disqualified for such period as the court thinks fit.
This effectively means that all offences which usually carry penalty points can theoretically carry a discretionary driving ban. If the court thinks it is so serious that the usual penalty points would not be appropriate, it can exercise its discretion and impose a disqualification.
There is no maximum period of disqualification. Theoretically, the minimum period is one day, but it would be unusual for a court to impose a period shorter than 7 days.
Which offences result in obligatory disqualification?
Some of the more serious offences carry obligatory disqualification. These include:
Failing to provide a specimen for analysis when driving or attempting to drive
Causing death by driving (this includes various offences)
Motor racing or speed trials
Using a vehicle in a dangerous condition (if a similar offence has been committed within the previous three years)
The minimum period of disqualification for some offences is 12 months.
For certain offences such as causing serious injury by dangerous driving, the minimum period is 2 years. Certain offences require the driver to pass an extended driving re-test before they can be granted a full driving licence.
How does Exceptional hardship avoid a ban?
You can put forward an exceptional hardship argument to try and avoid a totting up ban. You cannot use exceptional hardship to avoid an obligatory ban, for example, if you plead guilty to drink driving.
Accumulating 12 points or more is commonly known as ‘totting up’. There is more information on our exceptional hardship page.
A driving ban as a result of reaching twelve or more points is supposed to cost money, and cause inconvenience. After all, it is meant to be a punishment. Therefore the court will only find exceptional hardship when the consequences are something ‘out of the ordinary’.
Loss of a job is not usually enough in itself, but the consequences of losing your livelihood and the roof over your head may be a different matter.
Exceptional hardship does not need to be financial. It can exist if there will be a substantial impact on mental health or if it impacts in other ways. Courts are obliged to take into account the impact on others and should have more sympathy when there is to be an impact on innocent third parties.
How do special reasons avoid a ban?
It is a high threshold to meet, and it is rarely enough just to say that you did not know you were committing an offence. Whether circumstances will amount to special reasons will depend partially on what is alleged. The more serious the allegation, the more persuasive the special reason must be to succeed.
If the court does find special reasons, it then has the discretion to move away from the usual mandatory penalty. The penalties available to the court will depend upon the offence.
Most frequently, special reasons are used in cases involving driving without insurance, drink-driving and speeding, but they can be used with many driving offences.
The leading case of R V Wickens 1958 lists criteria for circumstances to amount to a special reason:
To amount to a special reason, a matter must:
- be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance;
- not amount to a defence to the charge;
- be directly connected with the commission of the offence; and
- be one which the Court ought properly to take into consideration when imposing sentence.
For more information, please get in touch.
Can I ask for a bigger fine to avoid a ban?
There’s no provision enabling the court to order you to pay a greater fine to avoid points. However, where the number of points imposed may vary, with careful mitigation, it may be possible to persuade the court to stick to the lower end of the penalty points scale and impose a larger fine.
Can I appeal a driving ban?
The notice of appeal must be lodged with the Magistrates’ Court that made the original decision. Although you effectively get a new hearing of your case, the Crown Court is slow to interfere with Magistrates’ decisions unless they are wrong.
If you are unsuccessful, the court can order you to pay costs. For this reason, you must seek advice well before the appeal hearing. You can choose to abandon your appeal if the advice is not favourable. Provided you do this in plenty of time before the hearing date, it is unlikely the court will order costs.
If you have been banned from driving, the disqualification will not be lifted automatically when you lodge your appeal. You will usually need to make a separate application to the Magistrates’ Court.
It is best to submit your appeal notice at court immediately after the court has made its decision. As soon as you have done this, you can ask the court to lift the ban pending your appeal. If you do not do this immediately, it can take weeks or even longer before the court will hear your application. It is therefore advisable to do this on the same day as the original decision.
Please be aware that there is a 21-day deadline for appealing to the Crown Court from the Magistrates’ Court, so you need to take advice as soon as possible. Downloadable court forms can be found here. Please be aware that appeals to the Crown Court must be sent to the Magistrates’ Court and the prosecuting authority involved.
See more about appeals here.
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