Pre Sentence Report
If convicted of driving whilst disqualified, 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. However this is not the only information that the Court will consider, having a good plea of mitigation can be the difference between a custodial sentence or a community order.
Driving whilst disqualified is an absolute offence. This means that there 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, whilst this is not a defence to the charge, it can amount to special reasons. A special reasons plea is still a guilty plea, however if successful it gives the Court the discretion to impose no penalty for the offence.
Charged with driving whilst disqualified
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.
Magistrates' Association Sentencing Guidelines
The Magistrates' Association Sentencing Guidelines state that, where a Court is sentencing a disqualified driver, it should consider sentences from a Court fine (at the lowest end of seriousness) to 26 weeks custody (at the highest end of the spectrum). This is applied to first time offenders who have pleaded not guilty, a guilty plea can help to reduce the severity of the sentence, however previous offences can serve to exacerbate the sentence. 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. The Court would want very good reason as to why the disqualification should not be extended. Instructing a specialist road traffic solicitor can give you the best chance of avoiding an extended ban.
View the Carry on Driving FAQs on: Driving whilst disqualified
If you find yourself in a situation where you have been charged with driving whilst disqualified contact our specialist solicitors to discuss your options on 0203 816 9274 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you.