Passing a driving test is an exciting time for most people. However unlike the rest of the driving population, new drivers are subject to more stringent rules as regards their driving licence which could result in them needing the help of driving offence solicitors.
If you are driving on a provisional licence and are convicted of a motoring offence such as speeding, using a mobile phone whilst driving or driving without insurance, any penalty points imposed will be taken into account for the next 3 years. However, if penalty points are endorsed on your licence within the first two years of passing your driving test (known as the ‘probationary period’) and the total number of points on the licence is 6 or more your licence will be automatically revoked under the New Drivers Act 1995. This means that you must reapply for your driving test and take your theory and practical test again.
On the face of it sounds a simple way of deterring young or inexperienced drivers from committing minor motoring offences. However, there are anomalies caused by the Act. For example, if you have held a non-designated foreign licence (e.g. an American licence) for many years but have applied for a British licence and then passed your test in this country you are not exempt from the Rules even though you may be an experienced driver.
Drivers may also be at risk of having their licences revoked even if some or all of the motoring offences were committed before the start of the probationary period. By way of an example, our driving offence solicitors recently represented a driver in relation to an appeal against sentence for a mobile phone offence. At the time of the offence, he had 3 previous penalty points on his licence. In between the alleged offence and the matter reaching court he passed his driving test. He was summonsed for the offence a few months later and was unrepresented in the Magistrates Court. After he was found guilty of the offence and given a further 3 points, he was assured by all present in the Magistrates Court that he would not have his licence revoked because the offence was committed before he passed his test. A few days later, contrary to the advice he had been given by the Court, he received a letter from the DVLA advising him that as he was within his probationary period when the points were endorsed on his licence his licence was being revoked. This was despite the fact that had not committed any motoring offences during the probationary period itself! After he had instructed Motoring Offence Lawyers to appeal the decision, we were able to persuade the Judge to replace the penalty points with a short ban of 14 days meaning that our client, who had taken a job as a professional driver, was off the road for a much shorter period than he would have been if his licence had been revoked.
It should also be remembered that points that result in a revocation will remain active after a licence has been reapplied for meaning that a probationary driver is at just as much of a risk of receiving a totting up ban as any other driver.
A Court does not have any discretion to prevent a licence being revoked when a probationary driver reaches 6 points. However, as in the case of our client mentioned above, it may be possible to persuade a Court to impose a short driving ban rather than penalty points thereby avoiding revocation of the licence. There may also be a potential defence to the charge meaning that no penalty could be imposed at all.
If you are a new driver and are concerned about the effect of penalty points on your licence please call our driving offence solicitors now on 0800 4334 678.