Driving whilst disqualified – Suspending disqualification pending an appeal: the only legal way to drive when disqualified

Having your driving licence taken away can cause huge inconvenience and even severe financial consequences. The magistrates’ court can disqualify a person from driving for a number of reasons:

  • because they have been convicted of an offence which carries a mandatory period of disqualification;
  • have had a discretionary disqualification imposed; or
  • asa result of receiving 12 penalty points in a three year period (and are therefore disqualified as a ‘totter’).

Driving whilst you are disqualified is a separate criminal offence. If convicted of driving whilst disqualified you could face a fine, a community order or imprisonment, in addition to a further period of disqualification.

But what if you feel you have been wrongly convicted of a road traffic offence and are planning on an appeal? Is there a mechanism for keeping your licence until your appeal has been heard?

Driving disqualification – What if there is an appeal?

If you are appealing against the conviction that led to the imposition of a driving ban, or against a sentence which included a ban, the Court has the power to consider suspending the operation of the order disqualifying you from driving whilst you await the hearing of your appeal.

The Court can only consider suspending the operation of an order of disqualification if that order is specifically appealed against, and contained in the notice of appeal.

Filing a notice of appeal does not automatically suspend the order of disqualification. A separate application should be made. This will normally be dealt with at a hearing before the appeal and can either be heard in the sentencing Court (although it does not need to be heard in front of the same bench of magistrates or Judge) or the appeal Court.

The Court may suspend the operation of an order of disqualification if it thinks fit, pending the appeal.

The Court dealing with the application to suspend the operation of an order of disqualification may consider the following:

  • The prospects of appeal (although the Court will not be hearing the appeal itself), including the circumstances of the original sentencing, such as whether you were represented and whether you advanced all potential arguments (such as special reasons or exceptional hardship)
  • The length of time before the appeal will be heard
  • Any specific hardship that the ban will cause in the meantime (either where exceptional hardship will be considered as part of the appeal or more generally)

There is no right of appeal if your ban is not suspended pending appeal, however you may be able to make a further application to the appeal court (or sentencing court, if your first application was heard by the appeal court).

Motoring offences can lead to complex cases, and appeals may involve extremely technical processes. If you feel that advice and legal representation by a skilled criminal barrister would help you, please read our step-by-step guide and then get in touch with our clerks who can discuss your needs with you and then match you with a barrister to assist.

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