When will the courts consider disqualification from driving?

Types of Disqualification

There are a number of instances when the courts will consider disqualification as the most viable penalty following motoring offences. The court may implement an obligatory, discretionary or mandatory disqualification on drivers depending on the nature of the offence.

Obligatory Disqualification

Obligatory disqualification is part of the overall sentence a court may impose on a defendant; in a serious case the court may impose a custodial or community penalty. If the court is considering such a sentence, it will normally adjourn the case so that a pre-sentence report may be prepared by the probation service. In such cases, the court is entitled to implement an interim disqualification period on the defendant until sentence is passed. 

Magistrates also have the power to impose interim disqualification if they commit the defendant to the Crown Court to be sentenced following a guilty plea because they consider their sentencing powers to be insufficient.

When the court has an obligation to disqualify

A court must disqualify a defendant from driving for at least 12 months if he/she is convicted of an offence carrying obligatory disqualification, such as driving whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit or dangerous driving. The prescribed alcohol limit is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood and 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine. The only exception to this disqualification is if the court finds that there are ‘special reasons’ for not disqualifying the defendant 

The minimum period of 12 months is increased to 2 years disqualification if the defendant is convicted of causing death by dangerous or careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs. The period may also be extended if it in 3 years prior to the current offence, the defendant has received more the one disqualification for a fixed period of at least 56 days. 

The minimum period may be increased to 3 years if the defendant is convicted of any offence involving ‘drink driving’ or driving whilst unfit through drugs and the defendant has a conviction within the 10 years preceding the current offence for any similar type of offence. 

A court must disqualify a defendant until he passes an extended driving test if the defendant is convicted of motor-related manslaughter, causing death by dangerous or careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs. The defendant may only take such a test after the period of his disqualification has ended.

Drink Drive Cases

A defendant convicted of an offence involving drink driving can obtain a reduction in the length of his disqualification by agreeing to take part in the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme, when offered to do so by the court.

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For more information on:

  • High Risk Offenders
  • Discretionary Disqualification
  • When the court has a discretion to disqualify
  • Mandatory Disqualification under the Points System
  • The Period of Disqualification
  • Newly Qualified Drivers