Convicted driver FAQs

If you’ve just been charged with or convicted of a motoring offence, you’re probably worried about what it could mean for you, your livelihood, and your future driving career.
So, what is a driving conviction, and what might the penalties be? How can convicted driver insurance arranged by Insurance Factory get you back on the road after a ban?
We’ve put together some frequently asked questions on the topic. For more details, see the government’s information on penalty points, fines and driving bans.
Please note that there are variations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and always consult a qualified solicitor if you’re in trouble.

Q. What counts as a criminal conviction?

A. If you plead or are found guilty in a court, or this is a criminal conviction.
If you are simply issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, for example, for a minor speeding offence, this is not a criminal conviction.
Generally, only offences which could lead to imprisonment will go on your criminal record, so minor motoring offences such as speeding will not. You will still need to declare them in certain circumstances though.
 A judges hammer under a set of gold scales

Q. Do I need to declare any conviction I’ve ever had?

A. You’re likely to be asked about convictions by insurance providers or on job applications, and you need to declare them until they are considered spent. This includes endorsements on your licence, even though they’re not criminal convictions.
Companies which specialise in arranging insurance for convicted drivers, such as Insurance Factory, can help you get back behind the wheel with minimal hassle.

Q. How long will a driving conviction stay on my record?

A. If you have any endorsements on your licence, these are considered spent after five years, or two-and-a-half years if you’re under 18. Fines are spent after one year and driving bans as soon as the ban is lifted. If you have more than one penalty, then the longest applies.
More serious convictions stay longer on your record. If you’re sentenced to more than 30 months in prison, this will never be spent.
Furthermore, for certain jobs like teaching or finance, prospective employers are entitled to demand a standard or enhanced criminal record check, which includes spent convictions.
Insurance providers will ask about convictions, so you’d be advised to turn to a specialist company such as Insurance Factory to arrange convicted driver insurance to get the most competitive deals. Otherwise, you could face sky-high premiums or even have your application rejected.

Q. Where do I get support if I’m a convicted driver?

A. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are prosecuted in the UK for motoring offences, so you’re not alone!
We’ve put together a page of useful sources of support for convicted drivers. They include the charity Unlock, which supports people with criminal records, and the Drink Driving Forum and website.
Getting back on the road after a driving conviction can be an uphill task. Insurance Factory won’t judge you for your motoring mistake – we’ll treat you as an individual, and arrange competitive convicted driver insurance for you.

Q. Can a police officer ask me to give a roadside breath test if I’m not driving?

A. The police can ask for a breath test if they reasonably believe that: you are currently driving, attempting to drive, or are in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; you have been driving, attempting to drive, or in charge of a vehicle while under the influence; or have committed a traffic offence while driving.
So, you could be asked to give a breath test when you’re not actually driving, for example, when the police believe you were involved in an accident a short while earlier.
You must give a breath test when asked – failure to do so is a serious offence unless you’re medically exempt.
 A driver failing a breathalyser test

Q. How long will a driving ban last?

A. Driving bans can be issued for a minimum of one week for minor offences, right up to five years for serious and repeat offences.
If you’re banned for 56 days or more, you’ll have to reapply for a licence. After a lengthy ban, you’ll probably have to take an extended test to regain your licence – you’ll be told at court whether this applies in your case.
Note that the law is slightly different in Northern Ireland, and you’re more likely to need to retake your test after a ban.

Q. Can I ride a motorbike if I’m banned from driving?

A. No – your disqualification applies for any motorised vehicle. Likewise, if you are banned due to a motorbike driving offence, you cannot drive your car.

Q. Can I supervise a learner driver if I’m banned from driving?

A. No – you need to hold a full licence to supervise a learner.

Q. Can I appeal a driving ban?

A. Yes. If you believe you were not guilty of the offence, you can appeal against the conviction. If you admit guilt but think the sentence was too harsh, you can appeal against the sentence.
You need to lodge your appeal within 21 days of your ban, and it’s best to instruct a solicitor to represent you.
Your appeal will be heard by the Crown Court. The judge may uphold your ban, rescind it, or send your case back to the Magistrates’ Court for a new hearing.

This process might take a while, so you could apply to the Magistrates’ Court to suspend the ban. If this is granted, you can continue to drive while you wait for your appeal.
The Scottish Court System is different, so check details and consult a solicitor for support.

Get a quote from Insurance Factory today

If you’ve been convicted of a driving offence, it can be tricky to find cover to get you back behind the wheel.
At Insurance Factory, we believe your past is in the past and we want to help you resume your driving career as affordably as we can.
We search a panel of providers to find the most convicted driver insurance policies on the market that suit your situation. Get in touch today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.