Driving Licence Offences

What is driving otherwise than in accordance with licence?

The most common licence offence, is for a person to:

Drive on a road a motor vehicle of any class otherwise than in accordance with a licence authorising him to drive a motor vehicle of that class.

Section 87(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988

Typically, this offence arises:

  1. If a provisional licence holder is driving unsupervised, without L plates etc; or
  2. Where a full licence holder is driving a vehicle for which they do not have the appropriate group. For example, a car driver is driving a van, coach, bus or similar vehicle for which an additional licence category was required or, a learner driver is using a moped and is not displaying L plates etc.

What is the penalty range?

The penalty range is 3 to 6 penalty points, plus a fine from £100 to £1,000. In each matter, there is an option to impose a discretionary ban.

Why was I not offered a Fixed Penalty Notice?

It is extremely likely that if prosecuted for a licence offence, the driver will not receive a Fixed Penalty option because an additional offence, such as driving uninsured, will be incorporated.

Can I reduce the penalty points?

Yes. As there is a scale of points, you have the option to persuade the Court to punish towards the lower end of the scale. Likewise, if there is more than one offence raised, it may be possible to persuade the Court to impose a penalty for one matter alone. Much will depend on whether the offence was an inadvertent oversight (simply being unaware of the licence category required) or a deliberate attempt to drive without a licence (i.e. a learner driver driving unsupervised). Other features of the incident, to include how you came to the attention of the Police, will also have some bearing on the outcome.

Is driving without a licence the same as driving whilst disqualified?

No. These are quite different allegations. Driving whilst disqualified will often result in a prison sentence because it is a far more serious issue; i.e. the Defendant knows that they cannot drive due to a Court Order. Driving otherwise than in accordance with the licence normally arises where the Defendant holds a licence of some description, but not for the vehicle in use.

What if it is alleged that my licence was revoked at the time of the offence?

If your driving licence has been revoked, either pursuant to the New Drivers Act, on medical grounds or due to a ban of 56 days of more, it will only be reinstated as a full licence once you have met the terms imposed e.g. retaking your driving test / passed a medical examination, paid for the licence to be reissued. If any of these circumstances apply in your case, you will be guilty of the offence, but it may be possible to minimise the penalty.