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Early return of Driving Licence following a Disqualification

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Did you know that you can apply for the early return of your licence following a disqualification?  If you have been banned from driving by a court for more than 2 years you can apply for the return of your licence after a certain period has elapsed (this period varies according to the length of the ban)

  • If the disqualification was for less than 4 years, after 2 years have elapsed
  • If it was for less than 10 years but not less than 4 years, when half the period of the ban has elapsed
  • If it was for 10 years or more, or for ‘life,’ when 5 years have elapsed.

Any such application would be made to the court which imposed the original ban.  (If the disqualification was for 2 years or less, or you have been banned until a driving test is passed, then your only option would be to consider appealing against sentence which, of course, involves making an application to a higher court).  Even those who have been banned for 3 years or more because of a second drink driving offence can apply (even if they have already been allowed a 25% reduction in the length of the ban due to the successful completion of a drink drive rehabilitation course).

What might the court take into account in determining the application?

The law recognises that circumstances can and do change and that what might have been an appropriate length of disqualification at the time of sentencing might no longer be apt. After all, suppose an applicant has the opportunity of a new and better job, of taking an active part in charity, of being a carer for an elderly person or some other activity (or combination of activities) which are dependent upon the early return of his or her licence? The courts can and do consider such matters. However, you can expect the Prosecution to oppose your application. Therefore, you should prepare your grounds thoroughly producing evidence to support your contentions where apt. Don’t forget that if your application fails you can expect the court to make a costs order against you and that you will not be able to re-apply until a further 3 months has elapsed. Furthermore, having failed once a court might be sceptical of any subsequent application.

However, above all, bear in mind that if the court thinks it proper having regard to the applicant’s character, conduct and all other relevant circumstances, including the nature of the offence, it does have the power to remove a disqualification early in which case the next step will be for the applicant to apply to the DVLA for his or her licence.

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