At best, having your driving licence revoked can be a costly inconvenience, especially if there are restrictions on public transport in the area in which you live. This can leave you struggling to get to work, taking your children to school and caring for the people that you love. In many cases, however, having your licence revoked can have a devastating impact. This could include the potential loss of your livelihood if you drive for the purposes of work, with severe financial hardship as a result of this, not to mention becoming isolated if you suffer from any mobility issues and having a car was your only way of getting about.
What does a revoked licence mean?
If you have your licence revoked by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), this means that your permission to drive has effectively been cancelled. As such, if you continue to drive, you would not only commit the offence of driving without a valid licence in place, this would also invalidate your motor insurance which is an entirely separate offence.
Once a revocation decision has been made by DVLA, you will no longer be legally permitted to drive on UK roads until you are able to obtain a new driving licence. However, the way in which you go about this will depend on the reason for the revocation in the first place.
What are the main reasons for driving licences being revoked
The DVLA have the authority to revoke your driving licence if you no longer meet their licensing criteria. However, there could be various reasons for this, including:
- on medical grounds
- as a new driver accruing 6 or more points in 2 years
- failing to surrender your licence for endorsement.
Licence revoked on medical grounds
In the UK, if you suffer from an illness or injury that could impair your ability to drive safely, you are legally required to declare this to DVLA. This is because driving could potentially put you or other road users in danger. As such, you must tell DVLA if you develop a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability, or where an existing condition or disability that you have already told DVLA about has got worse since getting your licence.
A notifiable condition can include anything from heart and eye conditions to things like epilepsy, diabetes and even a range of mental health disorders. It can also include persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol, regardless of whether or not this amounts to a dependency. In broad terms, you will be required to give up your driving licence if either:
- your doctor has told you to stop driving for a period of 3 or more months
- your medical condition or any disability affects your ability to drive safely and lasts for 3 or more months
- you do not meet the required standards for driving because of your health condition.
Importantly, a medical revocation can apply to both Group 1 and Group 2 licence holders. Group 1 licensing includes cars and motorcycles, while Group 2 licensing includes lorries, coaches and buses. However, the medical standards expected of a Group 2 driver are much higher due to the size and weight of the vehicles, as well as the risk to the public.
You can use the online service at GOV.UK to check if your health condition needs to be reported to DVLA or, alternatively, check the A to Z list which sets out over 250 different conditions with specific advice on your reporting obligations. You will then be told how to report your condition, either online or by post, where there are different forms for various conditions and disabilities. Group 2 licence holders cannot use the online service to report their condition, but you can use the A to Z list to find the link for the appropriate form.
Once the DVLA receives the notification of a medical condition or disability, they will conduct an investigation to determine whether you are able to continue to hold your driving licence. DVLA’s medical enquiries procedure is generally a two-stage process, where information on your condition will be sought from both you and your GP or any other relevant healthcare professional. In some cases, DVLA may also require an independent review by a DVLA-appointed expert and even ask you to undergo a driving assessment.
As the process to revoke a licence on medical grounds can be quite lengthy, the licence holder will usually retain the legal entitlement to drive during this time, unless they have previously had their licence revoked on medical grounds. However, it is for the motorist to assure themselves that they are fit to drive, where the doctor or specialist in charge of your care should be able to advise you if it is safe to continue driving while the DVLA conducts medical enquiries. If you continue to drive and are unfit to do so, you are not only at risk of being prosecuted if you cause an accident, but of hurting yourself and other road users.
Following its investigations, the DVLA can decide one of four things:
- you are currently fit to drive and allowed to retain your licence
- your vehicle must be adapted to ensure safe control
- you can have a shorter licence, for either 1, 2, 3 or 5 years, so that your health can be monitored at regular intervals for signs of improvement or deterioration
- you are not fit to drive and your licence must be revoked.
If your licence is revoked because of a health condition, you will be told by DVLA if and when you can reapply for your licence. However, you will only be able to apply for a new licence once your doctor determines that you meet the medical standards for driving safely.
If you disagree with the decision to revoke your licence on medical grounds, you can write to DVLA to ask them to reconsider, although you must be able to provide additional relevant information in support. You must also include adequate proof that you meet the required standard for driving. If the DVLA stands by its decision, you can appeal by making a written application to your local Magistrates Court within 6 months. However, you will again need expert evidence from a healthcare professional to support the argument that DVLA’s decision is wrong and you are fit to drive, where reference should be made to the DVLA guidance set out in the ‘Assessing fitness to drive: a guide for medical professionals’.
Licence revoked as a new driver accruing 6 or more points
When a person first passes their driving test, they will serve an initial 2-year probationary period. During this time, if a new driver accrues 6 or more penalty points on their driving licence for motoring offences, their licence will be automatically revoked by the DVLA. In theory, a new driver would therefore be given one chance by way of a 3-point fixed penalty, for example, for speeding or running a red light, but if two such fixed penalties were accepted, or a more serious offence resulted in 6 points, their licence would be revoked.
Unfortunately, there is no appeal process to challenge the revocation of the licence itself in these circumstances, although you may be able to appeal the original conviction that led to the penalty points in the first place, provided you did not accept a fixed penalty notice.
Otherwise, to get your full licence back following revocation as a new driver, you must:
- reapply for your provisional licence and initially drive as a learner
- retake and pass both the theory and practical tests.
Once 6 points are reached for a new driver, revocation of a driving licence has an immediate effect, where this does not require any court process as it is triggered by the DVLA. This means that your licence will remain revoked indefinitely until an application is made for a provisional licence. When a full licence is eventually reissued, although this will only be after you have passed the theory and practical tests again, the points incurred will be transferred to this licence and will remain valid until their third anniversary.
Licence revoked for failing to surrender a licence for endorsement
If you are prosecuted for a motoring offence for which you receive penalty points, you will be required to hand your driving licence to either the police, a fixed penalty office or when you appear in court. Any failure to surrender your licence for endorsement can result in a notice of revocation, where this is one of the most common reasons for a driving licence being revoked. You will then have a 28-day period in which to surrender your licence.
During this period, you will still be permitted to drive your vehicle. However, when the 28-day period elapses, you will lose your entitlement to drive if you have not surrendered your licence for endorsement. If this occurs, you will then need to submit an application for renewal of your driving licence to be able to continue driving legally.
Will my licence be revoked once I reach a certain age?
There is no upper age limit to licensing in the UK. However, once you reach the age of 70 you will need to apply to renew your licence, with renewals every 3 years thereafter.
As with any driver applying for a licence, or renewal, you must tell DVLA of any notifiable medical condition. This means that if you have developed a medical condition or disability that affects your ability to drive safely, or have an existing condition that has recently got worse, you will be legally required to notify DVLA of this. As such, your licence may be revoked until you can meet the medical standards of fitness to drive again. For example, if your doctor has advised that you are no longer fit to drive following a recent stroke or heart attack, you will need to let DVLA know about this, otherwise risk being prosecuted.
If you want to keep driving but have concerns about your ability to do so because of your age and/or a health condition, you should speak to your GP or other relevant healthcare professional. You can also have your driving confidentially assessed from organisations like the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and I Am Road Smart.
Importantly, if your licence is revoked because of a medical condition, you must check with your doctor that you are fit to drive before reapplying. The letter DVLA sends you when your licence is taken away will tell you how long you must wait before you can reapply.
Penalties for driving with a revoked licence
If you are caught driving by the police without a valid licence in place, you will be guilty of an offence for which you may be given between 3 to 6 points, together with a hefty fine. You will also be guilty of driving without insurance. Additionally, it is an offence to fail to disclose a relevant health condition to DVLA for which you could be fined up to £1,000.
Importantly, under the totting up rules, if you accumulate 12 or more penalty points within a 3-year period, you will be at risk from a driving ban of at least 6 months.
What can I do if my driving licence is revoked?
If your licence has been revoked and you want to understand your options to have it reinstated, you should seek expert advice from a specialist in motoring law. This also applies to having a driving licence revoked unfairly, where securing specialist advice can help you to make an informed decision as to how best to proceed and maximise the prospects of resolving this issue with the DVLA as quickly as possible.
With the right legal advice and assistance, together with a well-worded letter to DVLA, plus evidence in support if necessary, it may be possible to reverse their decision. Your legal adviser can also assist in reapplying for your driving licence after this has been revoked.
Driving licence revoked FAQs
How do I get my revoked licence back UK?
The way in which you get back a revoked licence will depend on how this was taken away. For example, as a new driver with 6 points, you will need to reapply for a provisional licence and retake your test.
What happens if you have your driving licence revoked?
If your driving licence is revoked, you will no longer be able to legally drive on UK roads. If you do get behind the wheel, you will be guilty of an offence, potentially resulting in penalty points and a fine.
What does revoked licence mean?
A revoked licence refers to where a motorist has held a UK licence but, for one of a number of different reasons, a decision has been made by the DVLA to take that licence away, for example, for medical reasons.
Why would a driving licence be revoked?
Your driving licence could be revoked for various reasons, including if you are classed by DVLA as medically unfit to drive or, alternatively, if you are a new driver and accrue 6 or more points in the first 2 years.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.