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Driving whilst disqualified
A person who is disqualified from driving by the Court is prohibited from driving any motor vehicle on a road (i.e. any highway (including footpaths and bridleways) and any other road to which the public has access and includes bridges) for the period imposed by the Court and in some circumstances disqualification will continue until an extended test is passed.
If the period of disqualification has expired but the extended test has not yet been taken, the driver may drive but display ‘L’ plates on the vehicle and be appropriately supervised at all times. Failure to display ‘L’ plates and be supervised before the extended test would mean a driver is guilty of the offence of driving whilst disqualified.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) must prove that a defendant is disqualified from driving. It is not a defence for a person to say that they thought the disqualification had expired and a person disqualified in their absence cannot claim they did not know about the disqualification (although it may be possible to investigate this further and make representations to the CPS in relation to the prosecution and/or disqualification upon conviction. It is also possible to make a statutory declaration stating that the driver had no knowledge of the proceedings that led to their disqualification and then apply to have the conviction set aside).
To drive whilst disqualified is a separate offence which is treated very seriously by the Magistrates especially if the offence is committed very soon after the disqualification was imposed; in these circumstances there is a real risk of a custodial sentence.
The maximum penalty for driving whilst disqualified is Fine Level 5 (£5000) and 6 months’ imprisonment. The Magistrates may disqualify for any period and/or until a driving test has been passed. Magistrates’ must endorse 6 penalty points unless there are special reasons not to do so.
If you need advice about a matter concerning driving whilst disqualified, please contact us
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