Dec 21 2020

New drivers versus totting up

It’s well known that experienced drivers can accumulate twelve penalty points on their driving record at which point they are disqualified from driving as a “totter”. Most people also know that new drivers – those within two years of passing their driving test – can only record six penalty points before losing their driving licence.

But the two disqualifications are not the same.

An experienced driver can persuade the court that a driving ban will cause exceptional hardship. There is no equivalent provision for a new driver. The reason is that the new driver is not technically disqualified; their driving licence is revoked. This may feel like a distinction without a difference, but it is important. The court does not revoke the new driver’s licence, that is done by the DVLA. The court has no power to prevent the licence being revoked, which is why new drivers cannot rely on exceptional hardship to prevent the loss of their driving licences.

This post is being written during the Covid-19 pandemic (hopefully that is a distant memory for you) when there are no driving tests being conducted in many areas of the country. As you will need to retake your driving test to get your full licence back that means that the revocation of your licence could see you off the road indefinitely. You will want to avoid that happening.

There are a few things that a solicitor can do to prevent your driving licence being revoked. The first, but not always the most obvious, is to help you plead not guilty and fight the conviction. If you aren’t convicted, then you can’t get the points! There will be times when this is sensible and times when it isn’t. You should always discuss your case with a solicitor to find out what can be done to defence you.

Let’s assume you are going to plead guilty. While the court cannot stop the revocation if you get six or more penalty points, a solicitor can persuade them to impose the right number of points, so you do not get to six. This is more likely to happen in some cases than others, for example, in speeding cases where the court can impose a wide range of penalty points.

Alternatively, we can persuade the court to impose an immediate driving ban – sounds like something you want to avoid I know but hear me out. When a driving ban is imposed penalty points will not usually be added to your driving licence as well. So, let’s say you have 3 penalty points on your driving licence, and you are in court for an offence that carries 3 or more points. If the court were persuaded to impose a short driving ban – say 7 to 28 days – then you would lose your licence for a very short period and far less time than it would take you to re-sit your driving test.

If you are worried that your driving licence might be revoked, and you want to avoid that happening then call us on 020 8242 4440 or get in touch via our contact page.