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July 6, 2018
Driving whilst disqualified – Suspending disqualification pending an appeal: the only legal way to drive when disqualified  

Driving whilst disqualified – Suspending disqualification pending an appeal: the only legal way to drive when disqualified  

Having your driving licence taken away can cause huge inconvenience and even severe financial consequences. The magistrates’ court can disqualify a person from driving for a number of reasons:

  • because they have been convicted of an offence which carries a mandatory period of disqualification;
  • have had a discretionary disqualification imposed; or
  • asa result of receiving 12 penalty points in a three year period (and are therefore disqualified as a ‘totter’).

Driving whilst you are disqualified is a separate criminal offence. If convicted of driving whilst disqualified you could face a fine, a community order or imprisonment, in addition to a further period of disqualification.

But what if you feel you have been wrongly convicted of a road traffic offence and are planning on an appeal? Is there a mechanism for keeping your licence until your appeal has been heard?

Driving disqualification – What if there is an appeal?

If you are appealing against the conviction that led to the imposition of a driving ban, or against a sentence which included a ban, the Court has the power to consider suspending the operation of the order disqualifying you from driving whilst you await the hearing of your appeal.

The Court can only consider suspending the operation of an order of disqualification if that order is specifically appealed against, and contained in the notice of appeal.

Filing a notice of appeal does not automatically suspend the order of disqualification. A separate application should be made. This will normally be dealt with at a hearing before the appeal and can either be heard in the sentencing Court (although it does not need to be heard in front of the same bench of magistrates or Judge) or the appeal Court.

The Court may suspend the operation of an order of disqualification if it thinks fit, pending the appeal.

The Court dealing with the application to suspend the operation of an order of disqualification may consider the following:

  • The prospects of appeal (although the Court will not be hearing the appeal itself), including the circumstances of the original sentencing, such as whether you were represented and whether you advanced all potential arguments (such as special reasons or exceptional hardship)
  • The length of time before the appeal will be heard
  • Any specific hardship that the ban will cause in the meantime (either where exceptional hardship will be considered as part of the appeal or more generally)

There is no right of appeal if your ban is not suspended pending appeal, however you may be able to make a further application to the appeal court (or sentencing court, if your first application was heard by the appeal court).

Motoring offences can lead to complex cases, and appeals may involve extremely technical processes. If you feel that advice and legal representation by a skilled criminal barrister would help you, please read our step-by-step guide and then get in touch with our clerks who can discuss your needs with you and then match you with a barrister to assist.

By Matthew Withers  |  Motoring Offences


Driving whilst disqualified – Suspending disqualification pending an appeal: the only legal way to drive when disqualified

Make an Enquiry

Upon receiving your enquiry a public access clerk will contact you within 24 hours to discuss your case in further detail. Please see our 4 steps outlining the process of instructing a public access barrister with Barrister For Me.

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June 26, 2018
Motoring offences – Special Reasons: The argument that could keep you your licence

Motoring offences – Special Reasons: The argument that could keep you your licence

What would losing your driving licence mean to you?

If you’ve been charged with, or are awaiting sentence for a drink driving charge, it’s a question you are very likely to be asking yourself and no doubt worrying about.

Section 34 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 provides that where someone is convicted of an offence that carries an obligatory disqualification (such as drink driving), the court must disqualify that person for a minimum of 12 months unless the court for special reasons thinks that it is appropriate to order a shorter period of disqualification or to order no disqualification at all.

Therefore, disqualifications from driving following a conviction for drink driving can sometimes be avoided if so-called ‘special reasons’ arguments are advanced, successfully argued and established to the satisfaction of the sentencing court.

What is a special reason?

A special reason is not a defence to a drink driving charge; it’s mitigation to ask the sentencing court to exercise its discretion in not ordering a disqualification.

To be a special reason, it has to be something that is a mitigating or extenuating circumstance, directly connected with the commission of the offence itself and which is in itself capable of properly being taken into consideration by the sentencing court.

There is no exhaustive list of what that mitigating or extenuating circumstance might be, but cases where special reasons have been established include those where:

  • the vehicle was driven as a result of an emergency;
  • the vehicle was driven only a very short distance;
  • cases where alcohol or drugs have been taken inadvertently (such as cases where someone has been spiked).

When the Defence raise an argument of special reasons the sentencing court must carefully consider a number of factors:

  • The reason for driving the vehicle
  • The distance the vehicle was driven
  • The manner in which the vehicle was driven
  • The condition of the vehicle driven
  • Whether or not it was the driver’s intention to drive further
  • The road and traffic conditions at the time the vehicle was driven
  • Finally (and most importantly), the possibility of danger to other road users at the time.

Even if special reasons are established, it is still a matter for the sentencing court to decide whether to use their discretion to not order a disqualification.

The burden is on the defence to establish the special reasons on the balance of probabilities. To successfully do this may include calling evidence, hearing from witnesses, cross-examination and submissions.

Successfully running a special reasons argument is a complex and technical process. If you feel that advice and legal representation by a skilled barrister is likely to improve your chances, then please read our step-by-step guide and then get in touch with the clerks in our Brighton Office who can discuss your needs with you and then match you with a barrister to assist.

By David Reader |  Motoring Offences

 


Special reason - the argument that could keep you your driving licence

Make an Enquiry

Upon receiving your enquiry a public access clerk will contact you within 24 hours to discuss your case in further detail. Please see our 4 steps outlining the process of instructing a public access barrister with Barrister For Me.

Enquire
June 11, 2015

Matthew Heywood makes successful argument on Appeal ensuring client keeps his driving Licence

A Barrister for me client was charged with speeding and was at risk of losing his licence due to the amount of points on it. However, he denied ever receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution which eventually was fatal to the prosecution case. Matthew Heywood successfully argued on appeal that s.1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act applied and the conviction should be quashed. The Crown Court allowed the appeal and the conviction was quashed and the client kept his driving licence.

May 19, 2015

Exceptional hardship successfully argued

Christine Henson successfully argued exceptional hardship for motorcyclist speeding 94 in 70mph zone including roadwork restrictions of 40mph. Due to other points on his licence would have been automatically disqualified unless he proved exceptional hardship. He has kept his licence.