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New Drivers

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All motorists are at risk of loss of licence if they accumulate too many penalty points.  As soon as a motorist has 12 or more points endorsed for offences committed within 3 years of each other s/he will face a penalty points disqualification of at least 6 months.  However, New Drivers, those still within the period of 2 years from the date of passing their tests, risk revocation of licence (as opposed to disqualification from driving) if they commit one or more offences which result in 6 or more penalty points being endorsed on their driving records (even if the points are not endorsed until the 2 year period is over).  You may wonder what is the difference between disqualification from driving and revocation of licence.

You will be disqualified from driving if a court makes an order prohibiting you from driving for a period of time.  For example, drink drivers face a driving disqualification of at least 1 year upon conviction.  Those convicted of speeding might, depending on the extent by which a limit was exceeded, also be at risk of a disqualification although it would usually be for a much shorter period.  However, new drivers who commit an offence, or offences, within 2 years of passing their driving tests which result in a total of 6 or more penalty points being endorsed on their records face revocation of licence; then,  as soon as the tally of 6 or more points is reached, the DVLA will automatically revoke the licence (even if the court sentences you after the 2 year probation period has finished).  

Revocation of Licence

Once your licence has been revoked your licence will no longer be valid (with immediate effect and whether you have been advised of the revocation or not).  If, for example, a new driver accepts a fixed penalty for a mobile phone or no insurance offence as soon as the penalty has been processed the revocation takes effect (as the fixed penalty includes 6 penalty points).  If a Defendant has been sentenced by a court without the court realising that s/he is a new driver then, once again, the licence will be revoked if the sentence means that the 6 point threshold has been reached.  The consequence is that the Defendant must then apply for, and pass, both his theory and his practical tests to regain his or her licence.  Given that there can be long waiting lists (which can vary from county to county) even if a candidate passes both his theory and practical tests at the first attempt this can mean a delay of several months before being able to drive again.  For those who cannot do without their licences, for example, if they need them for work or some other vital purpose, this presents a particularly grave problem.

How can Revocation of Licence be Avoided?

First of all any new driver at risk of revocation of licence should not accept a fixed penalty if this would mean immediate revocation of licence (if they would reach the tally of 6 or more points).  Instead they should decline to accept any such fixed penalty and wait to receive a single justice procedure notice.  At this stage, the new driver can opt to attend court for sentence so that s/he has an opportunity to seek to persuade the court not to sentence in such a way that would result in revocation of licence.  The solution will depend upon whether the court has the option of endorsing fewer than 6 points, (for example, speeding offences can result in the endorsement of between 3-6 points), or whether the offences concerned involve a minimum number of 6 points, for example.  In the latter case, the court might have the option of imposing an immediate disqualification from driving. Although this sounds harsh if the disqualification is only for a very short period, for example, 21 days, then this would pass long before the time it would have taken to pass the theory and practical tests and could mean, for example, that the new driver in question would not lose his or her job or suffer the other consequences which would follow from an (indefinite) revocation of licence.


There are many potential complexities and variations which can occur in sentencing.  Please bear in mind I cannot set them all out here.  The motorist should bear in mind, also, that the magistrates have sentencing guidelines which guide them, in the normal course of events, often to endorse points even in the case of new drivers.  Therefore, in order to persuade a court to depart from the sentencing guidelines which may apply and to impose a penalty which enables a new driver to avoid the harsh consequences that would otherwise follow involves the new driver in understanding how to make and present a persuasive case to the court. 

At Kent Traffic Law I specialise in advising upon and making such submissions.  If you would like to speak to me, without obligation, for an initial discussion please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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