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Driving while disqualified carries a range of possible penalties, including a six-month prison sentence, a fine and an extended driving ban. It is essential that you instruct a specialist motoring offence solicitor to represent you in court. A solicitor can argue for leniency, helping you to avoid a custodial sentence.
Have you been caught driving while disqualified? Contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors. We offer free police station representation, and can take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can advise you throughout proceedings, representing you in court to secure the best possible outcome.
Driving while disqualified – the law
If you have been disqualified from driving, then you are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway until your driving ban has been served. You can check the gov.uk website to see when your ban ends. The DVLA will also send you a D27 renewal form 56 days before your disqualification expires, which you can use to reapply for your driving licence. The expiration date of your ban is firm. Even if you have just one day left to serve, you still cannot get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
You also need to be wary about the difference between private and public property. The law specifically states that you cannot drive on any public road or highway. Some people are lured into a false sense of security because they believe they are driving on private property.
However, this can be something of a grey area. Take pub car parks, for example. These are generally located on private property, but allow unfettered access to the public. In the eyes of the court, this makes them a public place.
Is driving while disqualified an offence?
Driving while disqualified is a criminal offence. You are not insured to drive while you are disqualified, so you will also be guilty of driving without insurance. Driving while disqualified is taken very seriously. It is not like other, more minor motoring offences where you receive a Fixed Penalty Notice in the post. Instead, you will be arrested and there will be a court hearing. The court will decide what penalty to impose, basing their decision on factors such as your previous infractions and the likelihood of you reoffending.
When it comes to driving while disqualified, the court has a range of penalties at their disposal, including:
- A six-month prison sentence
- Six penalty points
- An extended period of disqualification
- Community service
- A curfew order and electronic tag
- A fine
How will I be caught driving while disqualified?
The police have something called an Automatic Vehicle Registration Recognition system fitted to their cars. They can run checks on every single vehicle on the roads, using the registration plate to confirm whether the vehicle is taxed, MOT’d and insured. If this raises any alarm bells, the police will pull the vehicle over and conduct further investigations. If it transpires that the driver is in fact disqualified, he/she will be immediately arrested and taken to the police station.
What happens when you are caught driving while disqualified?
You will be arrested and taken to the police station. You will have your fingerprints and photograph taken, after which you will be held in custody until you are interviewed. Before you answer any questions, you must get expert legal advice. You are entitled to free police station representation and it is absolutely essential that you exercise this right. A solicitor can advise you which questions to answer, and most importantly, how to answer them. This ensures that you do not accidentally incriminate yourself or increase the severity of the situation.
If you are currently being held in a police station, contact us Ashmans Solicitors. We offer free police station representation. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Do not say anything until you have spoken to us.
Next, you will either be released and told to attend a Magistrates’ Court on a certain date. This is known as a court summons. Or, you will be held in custody until you are taken to court. The magistrates will hear your case and consider what penalty to impose. It is not recommended that you represent yourself. You face a possible prison sentence, so it is vital that a solicitor pleads for leniency on your behalf. Our motor offence solicitors can defend you, working to minimise the consequences.
Will I definitely go to prison?
The maximum penalty for driving while disqualified is six months in prison. However, the court will not necessarily impose the maximum sentence available – it is simply an option open to them. Having said that, the courts do treat driving while disqualified very seriously and wish to deter others from breaking the law. Custodial sentences do happen, particularly for repeat offenders.
It can be very hard to provide a complete defence to driving while disqualified, as it is likely that you knew what you were doing. Even so, it may be that you were not on public property, meaning that the charge cannot be upheld. Or there may be a special reason for your actions. For example, you might have been fleeing from danger or responding to a medical emergency. If so, you may have had no option but to drive, despite your driving ban. There may also be other defences available. We will explore the best approach in your case, persuading the court that a custodial sentence is not appropriate in the circumstances.
If you are convicted of driving while disqualified, the minimum penalty you can expect is six penalty points and a fine.
Where can I find a solicitor?
There may be very little time in between your arrest and your court appearance. Because of this, you might only have a short window of opportunity in which to secure legal representation. It is therefore essential to act sooner, rather than later. You do not want to appear in front of the court without a solicitor by your side. Ideally, you will contact a solicitor as soon as you are arrested. The police will take away your mobile phone, but you are allowed a phone call at the police station. You are also entitled to free legal advice. If you say that you want to talk to a solicitor, then the police cannot interview you until this has happened.
It can be hard to know who to call, but take note: we defend clients accused of motoring offences, such as driving while disqualified. We have a specialist team of motor offence solicitors and we represent clients across England and Wales. If you have been charged with a motoring offence, we can help you. We will recommend the best approach in your particular case, applying our legal expertise to secure a not guilty verdict, or a reduced sentence if a conviction is inevitable. In particular, we will take pains to argue for leniency, persuading the court to consider alternatives to a custodial sentence.
Contact us now for an initial enquiry. You can call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. See our motoring defence fees page to find out more about our fixed fees.