Legal i

Disqualification dilemma

Q. I am due in court soon on a motoring offence charge and I have been advised that I am likely to be disqualified from driving. The court is not easily accessible by public transport, so I wondered whether I will be able to drive there and back, but I don’t know whether a disqualification takes effect immediately or whether it can be deferred for a day or so. Also, can I drive again immediately my disqualification ends?

A. A disqualification from driving takes effect immediately and cannot be deferred, so you should make other arrangements for getting to court, in case you are disqualified.

The disqualification prohibits the driving or riding of any mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place, so it includes motorcycles and mopeds as well as cars and other vehicles, but not a bicycle.

As to when you can drive again, it depends on the length and nature of the disqualification. If you are disqualified for less than 56 days you can drive again as soon as the disqualification period ends.

If you are given an interim disqualification, perhaps during an adjournment of the case, you can drive again straight after the disqualification period is over, but not of course if that interim disqualification is supplemented by a full one.

In all other cases, your licence is revoked upon disqualification, so you cannot drive again until your licence is returned, or more accurately until you are again entitled to drive.

What does this mean? Well, ideally you would want to apply for the return of your licence so that you have it again as soon as the disqualification expires, but the timing of this is not easy.

If you apply for a licence to be issued during the currency of your disqualification you may commit an offence of knowingly making a false declaration to obtain a licence. What you can do, however, is to apply for a licence just before the disqualification ends, so that there is no risk of it being issued during the disqualification.

Once the DVLA have your application and you fulfil all the obligations that entitle you to be issued with a licence (having already passed your test and having no legal reason why you cannot drive), you can drive again as soon as the disqualification period ends.

This is because once the disqualification is over you are in law a person “who has held and is entitled to obtain a licence” when the disqualification expires and you may drive once an application has been received by the DVLA.

Whatever you do, you must not drive while disqualified, as it is a serious offence that will land you a further six penalty points or another disqualification and possibly a prison sentence.

Designed by solicitors, tested by barristers and available around the clock, Road Traffic Representation is an online legal system that allows people accused of a motoring offence to get free advice on how the law will be applied in their case, and referral to a telephone helpline and representation by a barrister in court if required. Practising solicitor Martin Langan spent two years designing the system and creating the data repository which allows the software to analyse road traffic offences with the same authority as a solicitor.

Twitter: martinlangan
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