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Can A Disqualified Driver Avoid Prison?

disqualified driver avoid prison


Can A Disqualified Driver Avoid Prison?


In Mansfield Magistrates’ Court this week, Patrick Stevens was ecstatic when he heard the words ‘suspended sentence’ – it was at this point that he knew he would not be going immediately to prison for his driving offences.


Patrick had, however, endured an agonising few weeks between his police station interview (during which he was charged) and the court hearing date.


Just recalling the date in question was very uncomfortable for him, Patrick told his counsel – Steve Williams, Senior Solicitor of Forrest Williams.


Having been disqualified in August of this year for a drink driving offence, Patrick admitted he had decided to drive his vehicle, but could not fully explain why. He admitted he had been very upset about his inability to drive for work, and also that some alcohol had been consumed.


Whatever his thought process at the time, the facts of the case could not be disputed. Patrick had been driving his van towards traffic lights when he had collided with the back of the vehicle in front, which had subsequently bumped into the next vehicle ahead in the queue of traffic.


Instead of stopping at the scene, or finding a safe place to pull over and exchange details, Patrick was ashamed to admit that he had panicked and driven away. The drivers of the two vehicles involved in the collision had followed Patrick and pulled over when he did. They asked him for his identify but he again panicked and refused to give his name. One of the other drivers took photographs of Patrick, grabbed the keys from his ignition and took one of Patrick’s business cards from his works van.


Patrick ran away from the scene but, full of remorse the following day, he called the police and admitted what he had done. The police linked his call with reports made by the two other drivers and he was questioned and subsequently charged with three offences: driving whilst disqualified, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to give his details.


Steve Williams mitigated on Patrick’s behalf, making the court aware that the previous disqualification had hit Patrick very hard as it had placed his new sole trader business in jeopardy.


However, Patrick had been made aware from the point of instructing us to act for him that there was a very real risk an immediate custodial sentence would be imposed.  The courts are reluctant to help a disqualified driver avoid prison.  He knew that the court could not treat lightly the fact that he had driven whilst disqualified, and so soon after his disqualification had been imposed.


Patrick was therefore incredibly relieved to hear the District Judge pronounce sentence. A 12 week sentence was imposed, suspended for 12 months. In addition, a community order was made for 150 hours of unpaid work. Lastly, Patrick was disqualified for 9 months for driving whilst disqualified and 9 months for failing to stop – but both of these to run concurrently, so one further 9 month disqualification on top of his original disqualification.


Patrick thanked Steve Williams and said he would, in future, take very seriously the rulings of the court. He had, he said, learned his lesson the hard way. 


Are you a disqualified driver needing to avoid a prison sentence?  Get the experts on your side now by calling us on 01623 397200.


Driving Whilst Disqualified: A Case Study

driving whilst disqualified


Driving Whilst Disqualified: A Case Study


When we took a telephone call recently from Marlon Billson, we recognised his name immediately. This was because just four months ago – in November 2015 – Marlon had been in court for a drink driving offence, which he pleaded guilty to and was subsequently sentenced to a disqualification of two years.


Marlon, who had no previous drink driving offences at that time, had been very remorseful and assured us that he fully understood that he was not to drive during his disqualification period. Forrest Williams made him aware that to do so would be a serious offence, with a custodial risk.


However, as a result of a situation at work, Marlon made the fateful decision to borrow a friend’s vehicle and collect some building supplies from an empty property which was due to be tenanted the next day. He was stopped by the police as the vehicle he was driving came up as having no MOT. He immediately admitted to the police that he was a disqualified driver and, as such, was not insured to drive the vehicle.


Marlon was charged with three offences – driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and driving a vehicle with no MOT certificate.


When he called us, he was aware that there was a custodial risk and he was very worried about this.


He instructed us to act for him and was supported through the process of preparing for the court hearing by Tracy Johnson, the same case worker he had worked with just a few months ago. Marlon told us that he found this continuity reassuring.


Once again, Marlon was represented at the hearing by a specialist motoring law barrister, who mitigated on his behalf.


His barrister explained to the court that, whilst it was no excuse for him driving whilst disqualified, Marlon’s regular driver had been on holiday abroad and he had been without a driver when the offences took place.


Marlon’s barrister assured the court that this was a single occurrence and that it would not happen again. Marlon had, in fact, put in place a system whereby he had a driver to call on at any time.


Due to the thorough preparation of Marlon’s case by Forrest Williams, together with the skilful representation of his interests in the court room, a custodial sentence was avoided. Marlon was, instead, ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and his licence was endorsed with 6 points for the no insurance offence. Financial penalties were also imposed.


Considering what might have happened at the hearing, Marlon was very relieved and will, in future, abide by the order of the court not to drive whilst disqualified. 


Here at Forrest Williams we understand that good people can make mistakes.  If you need a dedicated legal team, call us now on 01623 397200.




Disqualified Drivers Who Cause Death While Banned Will Now Face 10 Years In Jail



The law is to be changed so that disqualified drivers who cause death or serious injuries when driving while banned will face up to 10 years in jail.


The changes, announced yesterday by justice secretary Chris Grayling, will see the maximum sentence increase from two years’ imprisonment for disqualified drivers who cause death.  There is currently no specific offence of causing serious injury by driving whilst disqualified.


The changes will be implemented early in 2015 and is the result of campaigns from families of victims of disqualified drivers that have been supported by Chris Skidmore and Steve Barclay.


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