A lengthy disqualification from driving can feel like a lifetime - but the law recognises that a lot can change in a few years and so, in certain circumstances, it is possible to apply to the Magistrates’ Court to have your disqualification lifted.
Who can apply?
Only those who have been disqualified for more than two years can apply.
When can I apply?
The timing of your application to the court will depend on the length of your ban.
|Two to four years||Apply after two years|
|Four to ten years||Apply after half your ban has expired|
|More than ten years||Apply after five years|
What will the court take into consideration?
In deciding whether or not to grant your application, the court will consider the following factors:
- your character and conduct since you have been banned
- the nature of your offence
- any other circumstances of your case
This gives the magistrates scope to consider a whole range of factors. They may take into account the extent to which you need your licence to get to work or to run your business, the effect that your ban is having on your children or elderly relatives or the fact that your health is suffering as a result of your inability to drive.
Lengthy disqualifications tend to be imposed for serious or repeat offences so the court will want to know how you have changed since your disqualification was imposed. This is especially true if your offence was as a result of an alcohol problem. The court will want to know the steps that you have taken to address that problem and may want to read references from your doctor or alcohol awareness counsellors who have helped to rehabilitate you and can vouch for the progress that you have made.
The court will consider any criminal record you may have and take into account the nature and number of your previous convictions. Whilst a long history of motoring offences will not help your application, the court will be far more concerned by any offences that you have committed since your ban was imposed. It is highly unlikely that you will have your disqualification lifted if you have driven whilst disqualified or committed an alcohol related offence such as assault or being drunk and disorderly.
Will my application be successful?
As your application will be back to the court that imposed the ban, you should realise that any bench of magistrates will be reluctant to be seen to water down the punishment that their colleagues thought was appropriate for your offence. As almost all lengthy bans are imposed with the protection of the public in mind, the magistrates may take a lot of persuading to let you back on the roads early.
In most cases, instructing a skilled solicitor will increase your chances of success. Our criminal defence team at Hegarty Solicitors will use their experience of these applications to help you prepare a strong and convincing argument. Our solicitors will advise you on how to support your application with documentary evidence such as character references and medical evidence and, in some cases, assist you to call witnesses to support your application.
With careful planning and preparation, your chances of success can dramatically increase. With one of our solicitors on your side, you will be in good hands.