Under Section 103 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (‘the Act’) it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road whilst disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence.
An offence of this nature is dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court and considered a very serious offence as shown by the fact that conviction may result in up to six months imprisonment in addition to a further period of disqualification in respect of the current offence.
Sentencing | Kangs Motoring Offences Team
Clearly, one of the obvious aggravating features which will be considered will be the breach of the existing Court Order preventing the offender from driving during the period of the current disqualification.
The Magistrates will have regard to Sentencing Guidelines:
- where there is higher culpability and greater harm, i.e. the offender drives shortly after disqualification was imposed, drove for reward and/or drove badly or for a significant distance, the offence has a starting point of twelve weeks immediate custody with a further driving disqualification of between twelve and eighteen months for the new offence..
- where there is lower harm and lower culpability, the Magistrates do not have to impose an immediate custodial sentence and can impose a low level Community Order plus a further disqualification of three to six months or six penalty points in respect of the current offence.
Further Considerations | Kangs Motoring Offences Advisory Team
- It has to be considered by the court whether or not the alleged offence has actually been committed. There is no definition of driving contained within the Act and the Court of Appeal has had to consider what amounts to driving and there have been many differences of opinion over the years. Each case should be construed on its own particular facts. As an example, the mere movement of the vehicle is not essential to amount to driving (DPP v Alderton (2203)).
- The Court of Appeal has had to consider the legal definitions of a motor vehicle and of a road with differing opinions presented in respect of both.
- A motor vehicle has been defined as a ‘mechanically propelled’ vehicle intended or adopted for use on roads. The term ‘mechanically propelled’ however has not been defined and it is open to interpretation by the Courts.
- There have been many challenges over the years as to what constitutes a ‘road’ such as whether footpaths, bridges or private car park constitute a road.
- Additional challenges presented to the Appeal Court include whether a person has a defence to the charge of driving whilst disqualified in circumstances where the accused had no knowledge of being disqualified.
How Can We Help? | Kangs Motoring Offences Defence Solicitors
It can be seen from the above that the penalties upon conviction can be severe and, accordingly, it is imperative that early legal advice is taken when an allegation has been made that you may be driving whilst disqualified.
Kangs Solicitors has a dedicated team experienced in representing defendants in motoring matters of every conceivable nature throughout the country which is available to assist you upon request.
Please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following who will be happy to assist: