When you can drive again after drink-driving offence explained
I was at court months ago for drink-driving. I pleaded guilty and I was fined and banned from driving. I think the ban was for a year but I’m not sure. The magistrates said something about me doing a course so I could drive sooner, but I have paid the fine now, does this mean I can drive again?
For an offence of drink driving, other than in rare circumstances, the court must disqualify you for at least 12 months (or longer, depending on each case). The court must also impose a punishment (usually a fine) which is separate to the disqualification. Completing the punishment element of your sentence does not bring the disqualification to an end early.
The court may offer you the chance to take part in the Drink Driver’s Rehabilitation Programme, which covers issues associated with drink-driving.
It is provided by an organisation other than the Court or DVLA and there is a fee to pay to the course provider. If you successfully complete this and notify the DVLA, your disqualification period can be reduced by up to 25%. You do not have to take part in the course but if you choose not to, the disqualification remains in full.
There are different courses the court may order you to complete as part of your sentence which do not reduce the disqualification. You must do these or risk being brought back before the court and separately punished for failing to do so.
The Drink Driver’s Rehabilitation Programme can only be offered at the court hearing. If it is not offered or if you decline the offer it is not possible to subsequently undertake the programme. If offered the court should have told you how to contact the course provider, the timescale to complete it and the amount of reduction to the disqualification you will be entitled to.
It is important that you check when you can drive again before you do so. Driving whilst disqualified is a criminal offence that is taken very seriously and often results in a prison sentence. Even when the period of disqualification is finished you should not drive until your licence has been returned to you by the DVLA or you could be committing other driving offences.
You need to find out the outcome of the court hearing. If you had a solicitor representing , check the position with them. If not, contact the court and ask to speak to someone to clarify what happened.