Penalties and disqualification

A brief guide to penalties for motoring offences

Endorsable offences (penalty points) and disqualifications will be recorded on your driving licence

Endorsable offences (penalty points) and disqualifications will be recorded on your driving licence

All endorsable offences (penalty points) and disqualifications will be recorded on your driving licence.

Endorsements are written onto your paper licence or the paper counterpart to your photocard licence, and remain on your licence for a minimum period of four years. Depending on the offence this may be four years from the date of the offence or four years from the date of conviction.

For drink or drug-driving, causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, or causing death by careless driving and failing to provide a specimen, the endorsement will stay on your licence for 11 years from the date of conviction.

Once the appropriate period has passed you may apply to DVLA to have the endorsement removed from your licence – you will have to pay the standard licence renewal/replacement fee.

Totting-up

Although penalty points remain on your licence for a minimum of four years, they only count for 'totting up' purposes for three years.

If you receive 12 or more points in a three-year period, calculated for most offences from the date of offence to date of offence, you will be liable to an automatic disqualification.

The length of the disqualification will be at least six months; it will be at least 12 months if you have had a previous 'totting up' disqualification within three years of the last offence.

Courts have discretion not to disqualify, or to reduce the period of disqualification but the law limits what the courts can take into account in mitigation:

  • no account can be taken of any circumstance which it is suggested lessens the seriousness of an offence
  • no account can be taken of any circumstance which has already been taken into account by a court within the previous three years and when the court either did not disqualify or reduced the disqualification period which would otherwise have been imposed
  • hardship will not be a 'mitigating circumstance' unless it is exceptional hardship

Endorsable motoring offences

For any endorsable offence, the court has the discretion to disqualify if it considers the circumstances to be serious enough, even if you have fewer than 12 penalty points on your licence.

Obligatory disqualification

There are some offences, e.g. dangerous driving and drink driving, where the court must order disqualification. In these cases, you can still present any mitigation, if it exists, but there will be a minimum period that the court must impose unless it accepts there are special reasons.

New drivers

Since 1 June 1997, if you reach a total of six points within two years of passing your test, your licence will be revoked.

You will no longer be a qualified driver. You will have to apply for a new provisional licence and become a learner driver again, until you are able to retake and pass both the theory and practical tests.

(11 July 2012)