High Risk Offenders - Getting Your Licence Back After a Drink Drive Ban

Once you have served a drink-drive disqualification, getting back your licence can be complicated, especially if you are categorised as a “high risk offender”. However, a lawyer can give you advice and help you through the process.

Anyone convicted of drink-driving will normally be banned from driving for at least a year, although the length of the ban depends on various factors. As a specialist drink drive lawyer, Marcus Croskell works with many motorists in East Anglia and further afield who have been disqualified from driving, giving expert legal advice.

Who is Categorised as a High Risk Offender?

Drivers are legally categorised as “high risk” for a number of reasons. This includes people with a high alcohol reading and repeat offenders who have been convicted for the second time in 10 years.

However, these are not the only motorists who are regarded as high risk. This also normally applies if you refused to give a sample of breath, blood or urine or refused to allow analysis of a blood sample, which may have been taken while you were unconscious following an accident.

So even if you were only just over the drink-drive limit, or not over the limit at all, refusing to blow into a breathalyser can potentially put you into the “high risk” category. This is one of the reasons why it is very important for drivers to be aware of how serious it is to refuse to take a breath test.

However, there can sometimes be genuine medical reasons why someone can’t give a breath test, and if this applies to you it is important to get legal advice at the stage of being charged so that your defence can be put in court. Drink drive lawyer Marcus Croskell can advise you on this, and provide expert representation. 

Applying to Get Back Your Licence  

Once a ban from the road has been served, the procedures for high risk offenders differ from the standard procedure for having a driving licence restored. In most cases, a driver is sent a D27 renewal form 56 days before their ban ends.

However, if you fall into the high risk bracket you will be sent the licence application 90 days before your ban ends, because you have to undergo a medical examination before you get back your licence. You will also have to pay the cost of the examination.

It is important to be aware that, if you haven’t yet undergone the medical and been passed as fit to drive, then you are still disqualified, even if the period you were banned for has finished. So, if you were to drive during this period, you could be charged with driving while disqualified.

DVLA Medicals

As part of the medical, drivers have to answer a questionnaire about their alcohol use and their medical history, and will also be physically examined by the doctor.

They also have to have a blood test which looks for the Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) biomarker. There is a higher level of this in the blood if people are heavy drinkers. The blood sample is sent for analysis and the test results are categorised on a traffic light system, as red, amber and green.

Green means the reading falls within the normal range. However, amber means there may possibly be excessive alcohol consumption, and with this type of result the DVLA will check with a doctor before giving back the licence. Red indicates someone is alcohol dependent and the licence application will be refused.

Temporary licences can also sometimes be issued, which would mean you would need to undergo another medical after a period of between 12 and 36 months.

If the return of your licence is refused because of concern over alcohol use, you will be informed of what you need to do and any time limits before you can reply. If refusal was because of alcohol misuse, a minimum period of 6 months controlled drinking or abstinence is usually required before your licence can be returned. If the problem is alcohol dependence, you will normally need evidence of 12 months abstinence.

After refusal, you will usually need to provide a medical report from your own doctor and undergo another DVLA medical before you can get your licence back.

Right to Appeal

If the DVLA refuses to return your licence, you have the right to appeal to a magistrates’ court. You will need to do this within 6 months of the decision, and it is important to have expert legal advice and present your case as strongly as possible.

One example of circumstances where a driver might appeal are if they have been abstaining from drinking but the medical examiner doesn’t believe them. Another could be if there was an amber CDT blood reading and the DVLA has decided against returning the licence after checking with a doctor, but the driver feels this decision is wrong.

A lawyer can help by advising you over whether you have a realistic chance of success and representing you in court if you decide to go ahead with an appeal. 

If you are looking for barristers based in East Anglia to represent you in an appeal, Marcus Croskell frequently appears in courts in the area, as well as in Suffolk, Essex, East Anglia, London and other parts of the UK.

Facing a drink-drive charge is bound to be very stressful, but, as a direct access barrister, he can support you and give expert legal advice throughout the whole process, from initial charging right through to getting your licence back.

As well as appealing against a refusal to return a licence, he can also represent you if you are applying to have a long driving ban reduced. Email Marcus Croskell here or call 0843 886 2603 for an initial free consultation.