Put simply, it is an offence to drive or obtain a motor vehicle during the period of a ban imposed by a court It is an offence of strict liability meaning that there it is no defence to say that you were not aware of the driving ban, although that will be strong mitigation.
The prosecution must prove a number of points, such as that you drove, on a road or other public place, that the vehicle you drove was a motor vehicle and that you were disqualified from driving at the time. In some cases, all of these points will be obvious but in many they are less obvious. For example, you will have a defence if you can show that you drove in a car park that is not a road or public place within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1988. We represented a lady found driving in the car park at the rear of her home. We argued that the place was not a road because it did not go from one place to another and because there were signs prohibiting its use by non-residents. The court agreed and our client was acquitted. It is often worth challenging the police on their evidence that you were disqualified at the time, for example in R v Derwentside JJ Ex p Heaviside, the High Court quashed a conviction based solely on the production of a court record showing that somebody of the same name as the Defendant had been disqualified from driving but failing to show that the person named in the record was the person before the court.
We will always obtain the prosecution evidence and advise you on any defences available to you.
If you are convicted of driving while disqualified the court may impose an unlimited fine and up to six months imprisonment – the sooner you drive after being banned the more likely you are to go to prison; however, there is always a lot that can be said in mitigation to avoid an immediate prison sentence. The court must endorse your online driving record and may impose an additional driving ban. If you plan to plead guilty, we can help you by mitigating on your behalf. This means we will aim to persuade the court not to impose an immediate prison sentence and not to disqualify you from driving. We do this by looking for any points that make the offence less serious and by focusing on your personal circumstances that the court should consider before sentencing you.
By involving a specialist motoring law solicitor as early as possible you give yourself the best possible chance of winning your case, whether that means avoiding convicition, keeping your driving licence or simply minimising the consequences of a guilty plea. We can help you however you decide to deal with your case.
The sooner you get in touch the sooner we can get to work on your case.
Don't delay, call one of our expert motoring specliast solicitors now on 020 8242 4440 or visit our contact page to send us an email.