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Driving whilst disqualified


I was banned from driving for six months as a result of totting up, and stupidly got into a car and drove while still being banned. What is the likely sentence and is there a possibility that I could go to prison?



If you were to be convicted of this offence, you would face the possibility of imprisonment for up to six months and/or a fine of up to £5,000 and your licence would be endorsed with six penalty points. The court may also order a further disqualification, although if it does, then no points will be endorsed on your licence.

It is therefore clear that this is a serious offence, but the extent to which the draconian penalties will be applied to you depends on the circumstances of the offence. If, for example, a large part of the disqualification period had already been served when the offence was committed, the court would consider as a starting point a ‘high level community order’ rather than imprisonment. Examples of a high level community order include 150 to 300 hours of unpaid work, or a curfew requirement of 12 hours per day for four to six months. This is only a starting point. The court is likely to order anything between a ‘medium level community order’ to 12 weeks imprisonment. Examples of a medium level community order include 80 to 150 hours unpaid work, or a curfew requirement up to 12 hours for two to three days. The court will also consider a further disqualification of between six to 12 months beyond the expiry of the current ban.

If the disqualification had only recently been imposed prior to its breach, this is more likely to lead to imprisonment and the court will, as a starting point, consider 12 weeks’ custody. The range of likely orders lie between a high level community order to six months imprisonment and a lengthening of the disqualification for 12 to 18 months beyond expiry of the current ban.

How does the court decide where to position the sentence within these ranges? It depends on the existence of aggravating or mitigating factors, so the likely outcome will veer towards the higher end of the ranges if you had never passed a driving test, you planned long-term evasion, you obtained the vehicle in question during the period of the ban, you were driving for remuneration (e.g. as a taxi driver), you had driven a long distance, there is evidence of associated bad driving or you had caused an accident. Factors that would mitigate the sentence, so as to put it in the lower reaches of the ranges, would include you not being present in court when the disqualification was imposed and there is a genuine reason as to why you were unaware of the ban, or where there was a genuine emergency that required you to drive.

There have been concerns about the number of cases in which this offence has been committed, so the courts have also been imposing anti-social behaviour orders, so you might also find yourself stigmatised by an ASBO.

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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