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Motoring Advice Blog

Early Return of Driving Licence

Julia Coffin




We get a lot of calls about the early return of driving licences following disqualification for driving offences.


If you have been disqualified for 3 or more years then you can apply to the court for your driving licence to be returned to you before the end of the disqualification period, after 2 years or half the ban period has elapsed. So for example, if you were disqualified for 2 years you would not be able to apply to have it returned early, for a 3 or 4 year ban you could apply after 2 years, a 5 year ban would be after 2.5 years and so on. 


There seems to be a common misconception that it is an automatic right to have your licence returned early.  This is absolutely not the case, it is an in-depth application made to the court and you are effectively asking them to go against an earlier decision to disqualify you for a set period, so you have to have very compelling reasons to ask them to consider this. It is far from a tick box exercise and certainly not all applications are granted. 


The Police are informed about an intention to make such an application and do have the right to attend court and object to this. 


The Court will want to hear very specific reasons why you would like your driving licence back – simply saying “I just want to be able to drive again” or “I don’t like having to get the bus to work” just aren’t good enough and would not make a strong application. 


Recently we had a client make an application on the grounds that he had been offered an expansion of his role to include driving duties for the firm he was working for, which clearly meant he needed to have his licence to accept the role. If he couldn’t drive the boss would have no alternative but to employ a driver meaning he would lose his job. His other main reason was that his elderly mother was in a care home with a degenerative and terminal illness and he would be able to see her much more regularly, and at short notice should something happen to her during the night. 


They were the strong points of his application. 


The weaknesses in his application were that he had been disqualified from driving three times previously, all within the past ten years. Twice for drink driving and once for driving whilst disqualified during his most recent disqualification, a very serious offence for which he very nearly went to prison. 


Our client had had plenty of time to reflect on his past decisions and the consequences on him and other people. Since his most recent offence he had settled down in a stable relationship and become much more settled within himself. He had changed his drinking habits and stopped drinking at home completely.


His remorse was clear to see, and the changes he had made to his lifestyle had made a huge impact on his life. However, there was still the hurdle of his past offending to overcome. 


Our Barrister was able to present a full picture of this client’s circumstances to the Court, and they found some sympathy with him.  His driving disqualification was lifted and we had a very relieved, grateful and happy client.


If you would like to make an application for Early Return of Driving Licence, call our expert team now on 01623 397200.



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