Driving whilst disqualified is a criminal offence and those accused of committing this offence often find themselves charged as opposed to being summonsed. Once charged they are bailed to attend Court by the police. For free initial advice from expert solicitors call our 24/7 helpline on 0845 00 20736.
In view of the sentences likely on conviction, we would recommend that anyone charged with disqualified driving contact us to obtain legal advice and guidance even if it is for damage limitation purposes.
Driving whilst disqualified is an offence pursuant to section 103(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
If convicted of this offence, it is usual practice for the Court to briefly adjourn your sentence hearing to enable a Pre Sentence Report to be obtained. The Court will then use this report in order to decide on the appropriate sentence to impose against you. This report may be an "all options" report, where the Court chooses not to rule out the possibility of imposing a custodial sentence, or a report where the Court has decided that the offence is not serious enough to sentence to a term of imprisonment.
Driving whilst disqualified is an absolute offence. This means that there are is no defence, other than if you could prove that you were not in fact subject to a disqualification. Problems often arise where people have been disqualified in their absence as a "totter" and are unaware that they have been disqualified by a Court. However, where this is the case this still does not afford someone a defence to the charge.
If you are charged with driving whilst disqualified it is essential to obtain advice from a specialist motoring lawyer as, often, we are able to identify significant evidential defects which if argued successfully could result in the case being thrown out of Court. There are a number of evidential issues which need to be dealt with at Court if the Prosecution are to stand a good chance of obtaining a conviction for driving whilst disqualified.
The Magistrates' Association Sentencing Guidelines state that, where a Court is sentencing a disqualified driver, it should consider sentences from a community penalty (at the lowest end of seriousness) to 26 weeks custody (at the highest end of the spectrum). This applied to motorists who have pleaded guilty rather than having been found guilty after a trial. Following an unsuccessful trial, the penalty would be higher as the Court would not award the discount on the sentence that it awards following a guilty plea. It is extremely rare for a disqualified driver to be fined as an alternative to a community penalty and to custody.
Whilst it is possible to receive 6 penalty points for this offence, it is more likely for Court's to sentence disqualified drivers to an extended period of disqualification.
View the Carry on Driving FAQs on: Driving whilst disqualified
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