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Disqualified From Driving: Understanding The Consequences And Next Steps

If you have been to court and have been disqualified from driving or have just received notice from the DVLA or the Court that you have been disqualified from driving, you will need to understand the consequences of this outcome and the next steps you can take:

Consequences of driving disqualification:

  1. Loss of Driving Rights: You can’t drive legally for a set period based on the severity of the offence.
  2. License Endorsement: Penalty points on your license lasting 4 to 11 years, depending on the offence.
  3. Financial Strain: Potential for higher insurance premiums and job-related losses if driving is essential.
  4. Retest Requirement: For grave offences, retaking and passing the driving test is mandatory.
  5. Travel Restrictions: Certain countries may deny entry due to specific driving convictions.

Post-disqualification steps:

  1. Compliance: Understand and respect the disqualification; avoid driving to prevent harsher penalties.
  2. Legal Counsel: Engage a traffic-offence solicitor for potential appeals or reduced bans.
  3. Alternate Transport: Utilise public transit, carpooling, or cycling, especially for work.
  4. Rehabilitation Courses: Courses can decrease the ban period and deter repeat offences.
  5. License Reacquisition: As the ban ends, be prepared to reapply or retake your driving test if needed.

Recognising the consequences of a driving disqualification can be overwhelming. From the immediate loss of driving privileges to the potential financial and employment implications. If you’re navigating this challenging scenario, it’s crucial to understand the right steps to take. Whether it’s seeking legal advice, considering alternative transportation, or exploring driver rehabilitation courses, knowing your options can make a significant difference.

Get Expert Legal Advice For Your Pending or Imposed Disqualification

If you are at risk of being disqualified or have already been disqualified, it is important to seek expert legal advice. At Caddick Davies, we are experts when it comes to defending motoring offences, with decades of experience dealing with a diverse range of cases. Whether you’re hoping to have the conviction overturned or planning to plead guilty to the offence, we can prepare a strong case, giving you the best chance of success in court.

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

Read on for an overview of the repercussions of a driving disqualification and how to effectively address and overcome them.

What Is A Disqualification From Driving?

A disqualification from driving means that you are banned from driving on public roads in the UK until the disqualification period is over. A disqualification is not an indefinite ban from driving and has an end date, which is set by the Court.

When Is A Disqualification Imposed?

If you are convicted (found guilty of or pleaded guilty to) a motoring offence, the Court can endorse your driving licence with a disqualification from driving, depending upon the nature and seriousness of the offence or due to the accumulation of penalty points on your driving licence.

Where Does The Disqualification Prevent Me From Driving?

The disqualification will prevent you from driving anywhere in the UK, including Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. This is called a ‘mutual recognition of disqualification’. Disqualified drivers from Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man are also banned from driving in Great Britain.

What Vehicles Can I Not Drive?

What Vehicles Can I Not Drive

The disqualification will prevent you from driving any ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’. This includes

  1. A car.
  2. A van.
  3. A lorry.
  4. A bus.
  5. An electric scooter.
  6. An electric bicycle.
  7. A mobility scooter.

What Offences Can I Be Disqualified From Driving For?

Whether a disqualification is imposed will also depend upon the Court’s sentencing powers, as not all offences carry the possibility of being disqualified from driving. Some disqualifications are mandatory for the Courts to impose, and some are only discretionary.

Offence Type of Disqualification Disqualification Period Aggravating Features
Speeding Discretionary 7-56 days OR ≥6 months with 12+ penalty points Speed significantly over the limit
Driving Without Insurance Discretionary Up to 12 months No valid license, false info to police, long uninsured period
Careless Driving Discretionary Varies based on the severity Excessive speed, driving a heavy vehicle, accidents, high traffic
Driving Whilst Disqualified Discretionary 3-18 months Driving soon after disqualification, significant distance driven
Drink Driving Minimum Mandatory 12-36 months (or 36-60 months for the second offence) Poor conditions, passengers, professional driving, accidents
Drug Driving Minimum Mandatory 12-36 months (or 36-60 months for the second offence) Multiple drugs, obvious impairment, professional driving
Dangerous Driving Minimum Mandatory 12 months (or 24 months with prior disqualifications) Ignoring road rules, evading police, excessive speed
Failure To Provide A Specimen For Analysis Minimum Mandatory 12-36 months (or 36-60 months for the second offence) Deliberate refusal, high impairment


Discretionary Disqualification Offences

For the following offences, the Court might take away your driving rights if they find the offence severe:


  • 7-56 days if you were driving way too fast.
  • At least 6 months if you get enough penalty points to reach 12 or more on your licence.

Driving Without Insurance:

Up to 12 months, especially if:

  • You don’t have a valid licence.
  • You lied to the police.
  • You were driving for work.
  • You’ve been without insurance for a long time.
  • You had an accident that hurt someone or damaged a vehicle.

Careless Driving:

Disqualification is possible, especially if:

  • You were speeding a lot or driving dangerously.
  • You were driving a big lorry or truck.
  • You were driving when tired, sick, or against medical advice.
  • Your driving caused an accident.
  • The road was busy with cars and pedestrians.

Driving When Already Banned:

The Court often takes away driving rights for this. But if it’s a minor offence, they might just add 6 penalty points.

Disqualification can last 3-18 months, especially if:

  • You drove soon after getting banned.
  • You got the vehicle while banned.
  • You drove a long distance or drove badly.

Offences with Guaranteed Disqualification

For these offences, you’ll lose your driving rights for at least the minimum period if you admit guilt or are found guilty:

Drink Driving:

  • At least 12 months off the road.
  • Longer if you’re way over the limit, up to 36 months.
  • Second time? It’s 36-60 months as a minimum
  • Factors that make it worse include bad weather, having passengers, driving for work, poor driving, causing an accident, or driving in busy areas.

Drug Driving:

  • A ban for at least 12 months.
  • Longer if you’re way over the limit, up to a maximum of 36 months.
  • Second time? It’s 36-60 months as a minimum
  • Aggravating factors that make the offence worse are; driving a big truck, driving for work, having other drugs in your system, showing clear signs you’re impaired, or driving poorly.

Dangerous Driving:

  • At least 12 months without driving.
  • If you’ve been banned twice or more in the past 3 years for 56 days or more, it’s 24 months minimum.
  • Aggravating factors making it worse include: ignoring safety rules, driving dangerously for a long time, using a phone, being impaired by alcohol/drugs, trying to avoid the police, racing, driving too fast, using a faulty vehicle, driving against medical advice, or causing an accident.

Not Giving a Specimen for Testing:

  • You’ll be off the road for at least 12 months.
  • It’s longer if you’re over the legal alcohol limit, up to 36 months.
  • Second time? It’s 36-60 months minimum
  • It’s worse if you clearly refused to provide a sample or showed signs of being heavily impaired.

How Long Does The Disqualification Stay On My Licence?

You will be required to serve the disqualification until the disqualification period set by the Court is over. However, even when the disqualification is over, it will still appear on your driving licence for a period between 4 to 11 years – depending upon the nature of the offence and disqualification.

The below offences will result in the disqualification remaining on your licence for a period of 4 years before it is removed:

  1. Speeding (including a ‘totting up’ disqualification).
  2. Driving without insurance.
  3. Careless driving.
  4. Dangerous driving.
  5. Failure to provide a specimen for analysis.

The below offences will result in the disqualification remaining on your licence for a period of 11 years before it is removed:

  1. Drink driving.
  2. Drug driving.

The period that this starts is the date that you are sentenced to the disqualification, not the date that the offence was committed.

Do I Need To Re-Apply For My Driving Licence?

Do I Need To Re-Apply For My Driving Licence

If you are disqualified for less than 56 days then you do not need to re-apply for your driving licence. The disqualification will be endorsed on your driving licence by the DVLA, and you can keep hold of your current licence which will remain valid when the disqualification is over. Therefore, as soon as the disqualification is over you can return to driving again.

If the disqualification is for 56 days or more then you will need to re-apply for your driving licence from the DVLA. You will need to complete a D1 form, which you can obtain from the post office, complete and send it to the DVLA in order for your driving licence to be returned to you.

Do I Need To Re-Take My Tests?

In most circumstances, a disqualification will not mean that you will need to re-take your driving tests. However, there are certain circumstances which would require you to take further tests before your driving licence can be reinstated.

In certain circumstances, a disqualification, particularly for alcohol or drug-related offences, may require you to undergo medical enquiries with the DVLA before your driving licence can be renewed. This would be imposed when:

  1.  You provided an alcohol breath reading of 87.5mg or more, an alcohol blood reading of 200mg or more OR an alcohol urine reading of 267.5mg or more.
  2.  You have committed a secondary drink or drug drive offence within a period of 10 years.
  3.  If you have refused to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis.

The DVLA will need to conduct medical enquiries to ensure that you are fit to drive.

The following offences will result in the Court imposing a mandatory extended re-test which must be completed before your licence can be re-instated once the disqualification is over:

  1. Dangerous driving.
  2. Causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
  3. Causing death by dangerous driving.

Can I Appeal the Decision?

Appeal To The Crown Court

If you have been disqualified from driving and you are unhappy with the decision (either because you believe you are not guilty of the offence or because you believe you have mitigating circumstances) then you can appeal to the Crown Court.

The appeal must be made in writing to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of the sentence being imposed. An appeal can be accepted outside of this time period, however, you will need to give a good enough reason as to why the appeal is late. It is at the discretion of the Court as to whether they accept the appeal out of time.

If you are appealing and a disqualification has been imposed, the acceptance or lodging of an appeal does not mean that the disqualification is then removed. You must make a formal application to the Court for the disqualification to be suspended pending the determination of the appeal. This application is discretionary and therefore the court may decide for the disqualification to remain in place until the appeal is heard.

Statutory Declaration

If you were unaware of the court proceedings against you, then you do not need to appeal the decision. You can have the case re-opened by way of a ‘statutory declaration’. A statutory declaration is a formal statement affirming that something is true to the best knowledge of the person making the declaration. It is effectively a statement informing the Court that you were unaware of proceedings and therefore would like the case to be re-opened.

When the Court have ‘processed’ the declaration this will have the effect of the case being re-opened meaning that the previous sentence imposed is removed. This if includes any disqualification imposed by the Court. You will therefore be able to return to driving again.

A statutory declaration must be made in writing to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of you becoming aware of the proceedings.

A statutory declaration can be accepted outside of this time period, however, you will need to give a good enough reason as to why the declaration is late. It is at the discretion of the Court as to whether they accept the declaration out of time.

Re-opening The Case In The Magistrates Court

If you do not want to appeal to the Crown Court, or if you were aware of proceedings, then you can make an application to re-open the case.

The Court can re-open the case and revisit the conviction or sentence imposed if they believe that it is in the interests of justice to do so. Furthermore, if a mistake has been made, then the Court are more likely to agree to re-open the case. As with a statutory declaration, if the case is re-opened this will have the effect of the previous sentence being removed, including the disqualification imposed. You will therefore be able to return to driving again.

There is no time limit for a case to be re-opened, however, the request should be made as soon as possible. You will need to convince the court that it is in the interests of justice for the case to be re-opened, which can often be difficult where you were aware that proceedings were ongoing.

If the Court made a mistake such as failing to set a hearing date and/or notify you of a hearing date, then they will be more inclined to re-open the case. Furthermore, if you have pleaded not guilty to an offence and you have been convicted in your absence, then they would also be more likely to re-open the case.

Removing The Disqualification Early

Removing The Disqualification Early

If you have been disqualified from driving you can ask the Court to reduce the period of disqualification. However, you can only do so after serving a certain period of the disqualification:

  • 2 years of the disqualification period if the disqualification was for more than 2 years but less than 4 years.
  • Half the disqualification period if the disqualification was for more than 4 years but less than 10 years.
  •  5 years of the disqualification period if the disqualification was for 10 years or more.

You need to apply in writing to the Court that disqualified you, giving information to justify your request. The Court will then set a hearing date for the early removal of your disqualification to be considered.

In considering such an application, the Court should consider the below factors when determining whether the disqualification should be removed:

  • The character of the person disqualified and his conduct subsequent to the order.
  •  The nature of the offence.
  •  Any circumstances of the case.

How To Avoid A Disqualification

Exceptional Hardship – Accumulating 12 Or More Points

If you have accumulated 12 or more points on your driving licence within a 3-year period then you will then fall liable for a disqualification from driving for a minimum period of 6 months (a ‘totting up’ disqualification). The minimum period is increased to 21 months if you have received 1 disqualification of 56 days or more within the past 3 years and to 24 months if you have received 2 or more disqualifications of 56 days or more within the past 3 years.

In order to avoid a ‘totting up’ disqualification, you can make an application for ‘exceptional hardship’. You will need to outline the reasons that you or those around you rely upon your licence, and therefore why a disqualification would have consequences that are ‘exceptional’.

Further reading on: ‘exceptional hardship’ and a ‘totting up’ disqualification.

Special Reasons – Extenuating Mitigating Circumstances

The Court may also choose to exercise discretion to not impose a disqualification if they are persuaded that there are ‘special reasons’ as to how/why the offence was committed. An application for ‘special reasons’ is usually most appropriate in circumstances where an offence may have been committed on a technical basis, but there may be significant mitigation to be considered in connection with a lack of knowledge/intent, little or no harm caused, or less moral culpability associated with the offence.

There are four grounds for ‘special reasons:

  1. It must be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance and;
  2. It must directly connect to the commission of the offence and;
  3. It must not amount to a defence in law and;
  4. The circumstances are one that ought to be properly considered by the Court when determining the penalty.

Common examples of ‘special reasons’ are, although not limited to:

  1. Driving Without Insurance – If you genuinely believed that you were insured to drive and that belief was reasonable in the circumstances OR if you were given an assurance by the owner of the vehicle that you were insured to drive OR if you were given assurance by a parent that adequate insurance was in place OR if you drove a short distance.
  1. Speeding – If you were driving in a genuine emergency or perceived emergency at that time.
  1. Drink/Drug Driving – If you were spiked OR if you drove a short distance OR if you were driving in an emergency OR if you were attempting to flee a violent individual.


Not Guilty?

You will also avoid disqualification if you are found not guilty of an offence. In order to establish whether you have a defence to any charge, we advise you to get in contact with a solicitor from our office for a free consultation to discuss your case.


Disqualification from driving is a serious consequence for individuals who have breached the rules of the road in significant ways and have posed a significant threat to the safety of themselves and others on the road. When facing disqualified it’s important to understand the duration of the ban, which will vary according to the severity and frequency of driving offences committed. A motoring defence solicitor may be able to help you to reduce the period of the ban or avoid disqualification entirely depending on your circumstances.

Contact our friendly team to discuss your case on 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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