Early Return of Driving Licence
S.42 of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988  allows disqualified drivers, under certain circumstances, to make an application to the court (that disqualified them) and request consideration for the early removal of the disqualification.
If a person has been ordered to re-take their driving test it will not be possible to apply for the early removal of a driving disqualification.
A disqualified driver may only make an application to the court for early removal of a driving disqualification once a certain period of time has expired from the date the disqualification order was imposed.
If a driver was disqualified for:
4 years or less - they may make an application for early removal of the disqualification after a period of 2 years.
4 to 10 years - they may make an application for early removal of the disqualification after one half of the period of disqualification.
More than 10 years - they may make an application for early removal of the disqualification after a period of 5 years.
Making The Application
In order to make an application for early removal of a driving disqualification a disqualified driver must make an application in writing to the court that disqualified them. Court information and addresses can be found using HMCS (Her Majesty's Court Service) court finder search facility.
Send the application to 'Clerk to the Justices' at the court where the disqualification was imposed. Include as much information as possible including name, date of birth, address at the time of disqualification and current address if different. You should also include your case number and driving licence number if known.
The Court Hearing
The court hearing will be an opportunity to put forward your case as to why you need early removal of your driving disqualification. Courts are not easily satisfied and any reasons given as to why the disqualification should be removed early need to be strong. Examples include:
- Employment Opportunities:- A new job or promotion that would be dependant upon the ability to drive.
- Health Issues:- A health issue either with the disqualified driver or a member of their family that would benefit from their ability to drive.
- Family Issues:- Family breakdown and contact with children dependant upon the ability to drive.
These are only a few examples as to why a disqualified driver may think they need early removal of their driving disqualification, the list is not exhaustive.
Other reasons may include an opportunity to carry out charity work that relies on their ability to drive or an elderly or sick relative that would greatly benefit from their ability to drive.
Any additional information that could strengthen the application should be brought to the courts attention.
This could include reports from a disqualified drivers GP addressing any issues regarding alcohol, reports from any alcohol counselling, education or rehabilitation providers.
Any information that will help the court to see that a person has addressed any issues they may have had regarding the consumption of alcohol will be beneficial.
The court will consider the application and take into account various factors such as:
- The character of the person making the application and their subsequent conduct since the disqualification order was imposed.
- The nature and circumstances of the offence for which they were originally disqualified.
- The reasons given as to why the court should consider early removal of the disqualification.
- Any other circumstances relevant to the case in question.
Hiring a drink driving solicitor may be your best option and increase your chances of success, especially if you are not confident in addressing the court and are unsure of how to put together a strong application.
The Courts Decision
Once the court has considered all relevant information they will make a decision to either grant the early removal of the disqualification or refuse the early removal of the disqualification.
If an application is refused then the disqualified driver will be unable to make another application for a period of 3 months.
If an application is granted then the driver will need to apply for a driving licence from the DVLA.