If you have been disqualified from driving, you might be able to get your licence back before serving the entire length of your ban. However, there are strict eligibility criteria.

In this article, our motoring defence solicitors explain everything you need to know about the early return of a driving licence after a disqualification.

If you have any further questions, or you want to apply to get your disqualification reduced, contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We specialise in motoring law and can help you get your licence back.

Can you end a driving ban early?

You can ask the court to reduce the length of your driving disqualification, but only if you have:

  • Served the minimum term of your disqualification; and you have
  • Compelling reasons for reducing the ban

The court does not grant such applications lightly, so you cannot apply simply because you would like the freedom to drive again.

The eligibility requirements are discussed in greater detail below.

Eligibility requirements – can I apply to get my driving licence back early?

You are eligible to apply to get your driving ban reduced if you have served the minimum term of the ban and you really need your licence back.

The minimum term depends on the length of your original driving disqualification. Before applying, you must wait until you have served:

  • At least two years of your ban, if you were disqualified for less than four years
  • At least half of your ban, if you were disqualified for between four years but less than 10 years*
  • At least five years of your ban, if you were disqualified for 10 years or more

* For example, if you were disqualified for six years, you must serve at least three years before becoming eligible for the early reinstatement of your licence.

There must also be good reason to justify the early return of your licence. This might include:

  • Employment opportunities – you have been offered a new job or promotion that depends on your ability to drive
  • Family issues – a change in circumstances means you need to drive to see your children or care for them
  • Health problems – you need to drive yourself or your loved ones to medical appointments

This is not an exhaustive list. If you have served the minimum period of your driving ban and you think you have good reason to apply for the early return of your licence, please contact us. We can discuss your eligibility, advising whether your application has a good prospect of success.

How to get your licence back early after a driving ban

If you are currently serving a driving ban and you want to get your driving licence back before serving the entire length of the disqualification, you need to make an application to the court. This is the court that disqualified you. You do not have to use a solicitor, but your application will likely be more successful.

The process for getting your licence back early after a driving ban is as follows:

1. Contact our motoring solicitors to confirm your eligibility

Our motoring solicitors can assess your case and advise whether an application would be suitable under the circumstances. We will check that you have served that minimum period of disqualification, and that you have compelling reasons to argue for the early return of your licence. If you want us to act on your behalf, we handle the application process from here.

2. Prepare your application

The next step is to prepare your application. The court wants to see evidence that you need your driving licence back or your application will fail. The right evidence depends on the situation, but might include an offer of employment, statements from you and your family members or medical records.

We can also advise on other pieces of evidence that might help your case. For example, if you were banned because of drink driving, then we might submit character references detailing how you have addressed your issues. Reports from counsellors, GPs or alcohol rehabilitation providers can also be useful.

3. Submit your application to the court that disqualified you

Your case must then be submitted to the court that originally disqualified you. A date will be listed for a court hearing.

4. Attend a court hearing

You must attend the court hearing to give evidence. If you instruct our motoring solicitors, we will present your case on your behalf. We appreciate that court hearings can be intimidating but we will be there to guide you.

5. Apply for a new licence

If the court agrees to reduce the length of your driving disqualification, then you may find yourself in a position where you have now served the length of your ban. If so, you can apply to the DVLA for a new licence. The court will tell the DVLA that the disqualification has been reduced.

Drivers of cars and motorbikes need to complete the D1 ‘Application for a driving licence’ form. It is important to renew your licence or you could be committing the offence of driving without a valid licence.

What if the application is refused?

If the court rejects your application to reduce your disqualification period, you can apply again after three months. However, you must consider why the court rejected the application in the first place. It is unlikely to succeed a second time if you submit the same evidence again.

If your application was rejected and you did not use a solicitor the first-time round, contact us for help. We can review your application and advise whether a new approach could heed different results.

What does the court consider when making their decision?

The court decides whether or not to reduce your driving disqualification. Specifically, the decision is made by the magistrates who hear your case, or the District Judge. Their decision is based on a variety of factors, including:

  • The severity of the offence which resulted in a driving disqualification
  • Your character and conduct since the disqualification
  • What attempts you have made to remedy your actions (such as rehabilitation for alcohol dependency)
  • The reasons for your application

If you have not served the minimum period of your ban then your application cannot be considered.

Can I go to a different court to the one that convicted me?

You must apply to the same court that banned you from driving in the first place. You cannot apply to a different court. We appreciate that this might be frustrating, especially if you have moved or you have to travel far to the court hearing.

Do I have to appear at court?

You have to attend the live court hearing in some capacity. Reasonable adjustments must be made for those with disabilities. A judge may also decide to hold a telephone or video hearing. Speak to your solicitor if you are concerned about attending court in person.

Can I apply earlier than two years?

You must serve the minimum length of your driving ban. You cannot apply to have your disqualification reduced until you have waited at least two years. You must wait longer if your driving ban lasts four years or more. It is not possible to apply any sooner.

For reference, you must wait:

  • At least two years, if you were disqualified for less than four years
  • Until you have served at least half of your ban, if you were disqualified for between four years but less than ten years
  • At least five years, if you were disqualified for ten years or more

Get Your Driving Licence Back Early

Do you want to get your driving licence back early? Contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors. We specialise in motoring law and can apply our expertise to get you the correct result. We understand the importance of having a licence and will do everything we can to help you.

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You can also email us at enquiries@ashmanssolicitors.com or complete our Online Enquiry Form, and we will contact you.