There are three ways to get a disqualification:

1. Mandatory, the court has no option.

  • Causing death by dangerous driving
  • Dangerous driving
  • Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drug

2. Discretionary, the court has an option to disqualify.

  • See Maximum Penalties for Motoring Offences

3. Totting up procedure.

If you build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of three years, you’ll be liable to be disqualified under the 'totting-up' system.

Generally, you can be disqualified from driving for:

  • 6 months if you get 12 penalty points or more within three years.
  • 12 months if you get a second disqualification within three years.
  • 2 years if you get a third disqualification.

To get your licence back after being disqualified, you must apply for a new licence, even if your old licence has not run out

There are two ways to escape disqualification:

1. Exceptional Hardship – speak to your legal representative.
2. Special reasons - this is a highly complex area.

Section 34(1) RTOA reads in part:

the Court must order him to be disqualified unless the Court for special reasons thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period, or not to order him to be disqualified.

  • Special reasons involve many circumstances which must be contemplated by the court; talk to your legal representative if you think you may have a special reason.

An application can be made to the court to remove the period of disqualification before the period is over; if you have been disqualified:

  • For less than 4 years, you have to wait 2 years before you can make the application.
  • For less than 10 years, but more than 4, after one half of the period of disqualification.
  • 5 years in other cases.

You apply in writing to the court that disqualified you, giving date of offence, date of conviction and any other information to justify your request. If successful, the court will notify DVLA of the
decision. You can then apply to renew your driving licence.

If you’re disqualified for some alcohol related offences, DVLA, (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) will make medical enquiries before your driving licence can be renewed.

These offences are:

  • Disqualified with an alcohol level of over 200mg in 100ml of blood, or 87.5mg in 100ml of breath, or 267.5mg in 100ml of urine
  • Two disqualifications within 10 years for drinking and driving, or being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink
  • Disqualified for refusing or failing to supply a specimen for analysis

As well as paying a higher fee to renew your driving licence, you may also have to attend and pay for a medical examination.

Short period disqualification (SPD)

  • If you’re disqualified for less than 56 days, the court will stamp your paper driving licence or counterpart document and give it back to you.
  • The stamp shows the disqualification period and you don’t need to renew your licence.
  • The licence becomes valid and you can return to driving after the disqualification ends.