Saturday, January 22, 2005

Unexpected Nasties

Not every consequence of driving offences is ordered by the courts. These days the licensing authority (DVLA) has a couple of nasty surprises up its sleeve.

For example, if a driver gets to six penalty points (which you can get for a serious speeding offence, or two lesser ones, or for having no insurance) within two years of passing his driving test, his licence is revoked and he has to take a fresh driving test. This has happened to tens of thousands of new drivers, and in many cases it has come as a shock to the defendant. The process is purely administrative, with no judicial involvement.

Another little-known sanction applies to more serious drink-drive cases. If the alcohol reading was very high, or if the driver has been convicted previously of a similar offence, or if he refuses a breath test, then he is classified as a High Risk Offender, and he is not automatically given a new licence at the end of his ban. If medical tests show continuing abuse of alcohol he may never again be allowed to drive.

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