Guide: Driving licences

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Have you lost your licence due to disqualification or on medical grounds?

The Driver defence team at Blake Morgan recognises the importance of a driving licence and the freedom that it brings. However, our service isn't limited simply to defending motorists in court for speeding or other offences. Increasingly, we are asked to advise on issues that relate specifically to driving licences – in particular, the legality of foreign licences and the use of such licences in this country. Moreover, we also advise and represent drivers who seek the return of their licence after having it revoked on medical grounds or where they have been disqualified from driving.

Driving licence categories

There are a number of categories of driving licences which authorise driving on roads within Great Britain.

For a full list of categories, visit the DVLA website.


It is an offence to drive otherwise in accordance with a licence. The penalty for doing so is a maximum fine of up to £1,000 and between three to six penalty points. In some limited circumstances, the offence does not carry points – for example, where a person has passed a driving test and so could have been covered by the terms of a driving licence but had not been issued with one.

Drivers from abroad

This can be an extremely complicated area of law. In brief, the legal position is:

  • drivers who hold community licences are entitled to drive on their foreign licence until aged 70 or for three years after becoming resident here, whichever is the longer period
  • drivers who hold licences other than community licences are generally entitled to drive here for a period of 12 months, starting when they become resident here
  • DVLA define 'residence' as being the "place where you usually live and have personal and/or occupational ties"
  • Some foreign licences can be exchanged for a British licence

DVLA do provide guidance on this However, expert advice can be obtained from ourselves. Please do get in touch to see how we can help. 

Driver medical standards

There are rules which require drivers to notify DVLA of a medical condition or disability that may affect their ability to drive. This requirement applies not only when applying for a driving licence but also whilst in possession of one. It is an offence for a licence holder not to notify DVLA of a medical condition which may affect his ability to drive.

The Drivers Medical Branch of DVLA has produced an 'At a glance' guide to medical standards. The medical conditions range from mental health disorders, to abuse of drink and/or drugs, as well as covering visual defects. Essentially, any medical condition that may affect a person's ability to drive. We have successfully acted for clients who have had their driving licence revoked on medical grounds.

The process of having the licence reinstated is not straightforwad and ultimately an appeal a Magistrates Court may be necessary. However, before embarking upon this course of action, it is appropriate to obtain expert legal advice. We have experience in advising and representing drivers who have either been refused a licence or who have had their licences revoked. We have provided important initial advice and have successfully taken cases to appeal.

Removal of driving disqualification

Drivers who have been convicted for a second time in ten years for drink driving are liable to be disqualified from driving for at least three years. The law allows for an application to be made to the convicting court after a two-year period, following the imposition of the driving ban. The court can order the driving disqualification to be removed. The factors which the court will take into account include the nature of the offence, the character and conduct of the offender since the disqualification was imposed, and any other circumstances. Such applications do not automatically result in driving disqualifications being lifted. Expert advice should be sought before an application is submitted.

Case study

Mr F was disqualified from driving for a minimum of three years for a second drink driving offence. He instructed us to assist him. We applied on his behalf for his disqualification to be removed. He had his licence reinstated after two years and three months of his driving ban.