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Appealing Against A Driving Disqualification

Appealing Against A Driving Disqualification

Appealing a driving disqualification allows you to challenge either the conviction itself if you plead not guilty, the sentenced disqualification period if you believe it is excessive or unfair, or both.

This process involves filing an appeal within 21 days of the original conviction or sentence and presenting your case before a court, which will make an independent ruling that cannot be further appealed.

In some circumstances, like hardship cases or after serving part of a long disqualification, you can also apply to have the disqualification reduced or avoided entirely.

Grounds For Appeal When Facing A Driving Ban 

There are a number of driving offences which can result in a driving disqualification. The disqualification can range from a couple of months to a number of years depending on the severity of the offence and if repeat offending is a factor.

If you are found guilty of an offence and disqualified from driving, this can have severe consequences on your life and livelihood but you may have grounds to appeal the decision. If successful, the disqualification could be removed or reduced.

Expert Legal Representation To Appeal A Driving Ban

At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we understand the impact that any motoring offence charge can have. If you are facing a driving disqualification, we can help you understand the process and explore all available defences and mitigating circumstances that could potentially reduce the severity of the driving ban that you face.

You can contact our office for a free consultation on 0151 944 4967.

Read on for a thorough overview of the appeals process for driving disqualification sentences in the UK.

Types Of Driving Disqualification Appeals 

Appealing Against Sentence

If you initially entered a plea of guilty to the alleged offence at court, but believe the sentence was excessive or unfair, you can make an appeal against the sentence.

It is important to note that your guilty plea would still stand and you are only challenging the sentence given. If you were disqualified as a result of the sentence passed, you can also make an application to have the disqualification suspended pending the outcome of the appeal.

If the offence carries a mandatory driving disqualification, the courts are unlikely to grant a suspension.

An appeal application must be lodged within 21 days from the date of the original decision, in order to be considered by the court.

Appealing Against Conviction

If you initially entered a plea of not guilty to the alleged offence at court, but were found guilty, you have the option to either plead guilty to the sentence, conviction or both.

If you are only dissatisfied with the sentence and do not wish to challenge the guilty verdict, you would need to make an appeal against the sentence. If you do not believe you are guilty of the offence and are also unhappy with the sentence, you would need to make an appeal against the conviction and sentence.

You must lodge the appeal within 21 days from the date of the original conviction.

The Appeals Process

If your appeal application is accepted, a hearing will then be listed at the relevant Crown Court and you will have the opportunity to advance your argument to the court. The Judge will then make an independent decision, which is final and cannot be further appealed.

Appealing a Driving Disqualification Under Totting Up Procedures

If you have been disqualified from driving after obtaining twelve or more penalty points on your licence within three years, you can appeal the decision if you do not believe the court gave appropriate consideration to your circumstances.

This driving disqualification is subject to Section 35 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 and is often referred to as a ‘totting up disqualification’.

Exceptional Hardship Arguments For Totting Up Appeals

When appealing a driving disqualification under totting up procedures, you will need to advance an Exceptional Hardship Argument. An Exceptional Hardship Argument is a legal argument which if utilised successfully, can prevent you from being disqualified from driving, under ‘totting up’ procedures.

If you have not been disqualified from driving before, you are subject to a six-month driving disqualification for ‘totting up’ but this increases to one year, if you have been disqualified previously on one occasion, and two years if you have been disqualified more than once.

You can run an Exceptional Hardship argument on a range of grounds, depending on how a driving disqualification would affect your life and the people who are reliant on you. A successful application of exceptional hardship would result in you having 12 or more points endorsed on your licence, without receiving a driving disqualification.

It is important to note you can only advance exceptional hardship on the same grounds once every three years. If you have pleaded guilty to the initial offence, which led to you ‘totting up’, you would need to make an appeal against the sentence, requesting a hearing be listed to present an Exceptional Hardship Argument.

Further reading: Advancing an Exceptional Hardship Argument

Reducing A Current Driving Disqualification

If you have been disqualified from driving for an extended period of time, you can ask the court to reduce your disqualification duration. This application is pursuant to Section 42 (1) of the Road Traffic Offender Act 1988.

To request a reduction or removal of your driving disqualification, you must have served a specific period of your disqualification first.

  • If you have been disqualified for less than four years, you must have served at least two years of your disqualification before making an application to reduce your disqualification period.
  • If you have been disqualified for between four years to under ten years, you must have served half of the disqualification period prior to making the application.
  • If you have been disqualified for ten years or more, you must have served five years of the disqualification period prior to making the application.

Applying To Reduce A Driving Disqualification 

When making an application to reduce your driving disqualification, it is important to note that you must hold a good reason for doing so, in order to have reasonable prospects of success.

The court is required to have regard for the following when considering an application pursuant to Section 42(2) of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988:

  1. The character of the person disqualified and his conduct subsequent to the order,
  2. The nature of the offence, and
  3. Any other circumstances of the case

It is also important to inform the court if your circumstances have changed since you were initially disqualified and how the loss of your licence is impacting your life. You should also inform the court if you believe there were reasons you committed the offence, which you have since taken steps to address, to demonstrate to the court you are unlikely to re-offend.

Following your application, if the court decides to reduce your disqualification period, the DVLA will be informed and you will need to apply for a new licence. If the court refuses the application, you will need to wait three months before you can make a further request.

Appealing A Driving Disqualification If You Were Convicted In Your Absence

If you were convicted in court of a driving offence, without any knowledge of proceedings, you can make a statutory declaration to have the conviction re-accessed.

Statutory Declarations for Unknown Convictions

A statutory declaration is a legally binding document, signed by an authorised witness such as a solicitor, to the court. A statutory declaration outlines the date you became aware of the conviction, how you became aware you had been convicted and affirms that you had no prior knowledge of proceedings.

If the court accepts your statutory declaration, the conviction will be withdrawn and a hearing will be re-listed, to allow you the opportunity to challenge the conviction or mitigate the sentence you received.

Applying To Reopen After Known Absence

If you were convicted in your absence but were aware of proceedings, you could still make an application to have the matter re-opened, if you have a valid reason for not attending your hearing.

Valid Reasons for Absence

For example, if you were prevented from attending court due to an illness, being abroad and unable to travel back to the UK or if an emergency arose.

The Reopening Process

To re-open your matter, you will need to make a written request to the court, alongside supporting evidence of the reason you did not attend the initial hearing. The court will then make a decision as to whether to reopen your case or not. Should the court agree to re-open your matter, a new hearing will be listed for you to present your argument.

Are There Any Risks Involved If The Appeal Is Unsuccessful? 

When appealing any driving disqualification or sentence, the court may decide to increase the sentence on appeal. If your sentence is increased, you cannot revert back to the lower sentence at the initial hearing.

If your appeal is unsuccessful, you are also likely to be liable to pay extra costs such as an increased financial penalty and legal fees (if you have instructed a solicitor).

Do I Need To Instruct A Solicitor If I Wish To Lodge An Appeal? 

We would always advise obtaining legal advice prior to making an appeal to ensure that you have a clear idea of your chance of success so that you can make an informed decision.

If you have attempted to self-represent in court and are looking to appeal the decision made, a solicitor preparing and presenting your case could make a significant difference to the outcome.

Summary, Your Options For Appealing A Driving Disqualification 

Being disqualified from driving can severely impact your life, career, and ability to fulfil responsibilities but depending on your specific circumstances, you may have options to appeal the disqualification or reduce its length.

Options include:

  • Appealing Against the Sentence: If you plead guilty but believe the disqualification period is excessive, you can appeal the sentence within 21 days.
  • Appealing Against Conviction: If you maintain your innocence after being found guilty, you can appeal the conviction itself, as well as the sentence, within 21 days.
  • Exceptional Hardship for Totting Up: When disqualified for accumulating 12+ penalty points, you can argue exceptional hardship to potentially avoid disqualification.
  • Reducing Current Disqualification: After serving a portion of a long disqualification, you may be able to apply for an early reduction by demonstrating good character and changed circumstances.
  • Conviction in Absence: If convicted without knowledge of proceedings, a statutory declaration can get the conviction re-assessed. Valid reasons like illness can allow for a reopened hearing.

Drivers should note that appeals carry risks including the possibility of increased penalties if the appeal is unsuccessful. Consulting an experienced legal professional is highly advisable to get an understanding of your prospects and protect your rights throughout the complex appeals process.

Get In Touch For Legal Advice When banned From Driving 

At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we have a team of specialist motor defence lawyers who are experts in preparing and appealing driving disqualifications in court. We understand the complexities of these cases and have a proven track record of successfully assisting clients in appealing their cases.

From the most straightforward to the most intricate cases, we are dedicated to providing personalised support and guidance. We begin every enquiry with an informal discussion to gain a thorough understanding of your unique circumstances and to address any questions you may have in complete confidence.

If you believe that there are circumstances that should be taken into consideration and you have grounds for an appeal, please don’t hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation at 0151 944 4967.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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