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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.

Driver Licencing

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Getting a HGV Licence

Driving TestApplying for Licence

Your driving conduct for larger vehicles, minibuses or buses

If you are applying for or currently hold a large goods vehicle (LGV) driving licence or a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) driving licence you will have to meet a high standard of driving conduct.

The Traffic Commissioner appointed for the area in which the driver resides, deals with the conduct of all large goods vehicle drivers and passenger carrying drivers. Any decision ie refusal, revocation or suspension of a driver's entitlement taken by a Traffic Commissioner is binding by the Secretary of State. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will then act on the Traffic Commissioner's decision.

When applying for a licence, you must tell the DVLA if, within the last four years, you have any convictions for breaking rules about:

You do not need to tell DVLA about any convictions for the above if they were more than four years ago.

Non driving conduct – drivers of PCV vehicles

In addition, if you are applying for a PCV licence for a minibus or bus, you must tell DVLA about any other court convictions you have had even if they are not to do with driving, for example, sex offences. DVLA need to know about these unless they have run out under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

If your conduct is not considered suitable you will be refused a licence. If you hold a licence and subsequently commit such offences you risk having your PCV licence revoked or suspended.

In all cases of conduct, the Traffic Commissioner for the area in which you live will decide whether to grant your entitlement to drive large goods vehicles or passenger carrying vehicles. In doing so, the traffic commissioner will take into account all of the endorsements on your licence. They will not grant you entitlement if you are disqualified from driving. The DVLA will act on the Traffic Commissioners decision.

Spent convictions

Convictions that are not yet 'spent' - ie unspent convictions - are taken into account when assessing a driver's character. After specified periods of time, convictions for criminal offences may become 'spent' if there have been no further convictions during the specified period.

For certain purposes, spent convictions will be disregarded and will not normally be taken into account when assessing whether a driver is of good character.

The way in which a conviction can become 'spent' under the ROA will depend upon the sentence received for the offence, and the rehabilitation period that applies to that offence sentence. The principles apply to convictions in a criminal court, findings in a juvenile court, certain offences in service disciplinary proceedings and hospital orders under the Mental Health Act 1983.

The time required before the conviction is spent - the rehabilitation period - will be different depending upon the nature and length of the sentence, be it a term of imprisonment, a fine, a surcharge order, probation, or an absolute or conditional discharge. Relevant rehabilitation periods are set out below.

Unless otherwise stated, the rehabilitation period runs from the date of the conviction and will generally depend upon compliance with the sentence.

Relevant Rehabilitation Periods
Sentence of imprisonment of more than two and a half years - Never
Sentence of imprisonment of more than six months but no more than two and a half years - 10 years
Youth custody for more than six months but no more than two and a half years - 10 years*
Corrective training for more than six months but no more than two and a half years - 10 years*
Dismissal with disgrace from Her Majesty's service - 10 years*
A sentence of Borstal training -7 years
Prison for six months or less - 7 years*
Dismissal from Her Majesty's service - 7 years*
Sentence of imprisonment or detention in YOI or youth custody for six months or less - 7 years*
Detention in respect of conviction in service disciplinary proceedings - 5 years*
(Most) fines - 5 years*
Sentence of young offender detention for over six months but not more than two and a half years - 5 years
Probation order or community order (person 18 or older) - 5 years
Probation order or community order (person under 18) - Either 2 years from conviction, or until the order ceases to have effect - whichever is the longer
Hospital order under Mental Health Act 1983 - Either 5 years, or 2 years after order ceases to have effect, whichever is the longer
Sentence of young offender detention fo not more than six months - 3 years
Conditional discharge, binding over, care order, supervision order, reception order - Either 1 year after making of order, or 1 year after the order ends, whichever is the longer
Absolute discharge - 6 months
Disqualification - The period of disqualification
Cautions, Warnings and Reprimands - Spent as soon as they are issued
Conditional cautions - Spent as soon as conditions end.
*Note: These periods are reduced by half if the offender was under eighteen at the date of conviction.

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