Restoration of a Driving License in Scotland

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Being able to drive is vital to much of modern life and is a key part of many careers. Unfortunately, there are many ways in which you can incur a driving qualification which in turn can have devastating effects on your livelihood and quality of life. From simply visiting family and friends to keeping your job, not being able to drive can cause immeasurable damage.

This is why it’s so important, when you are facing a driving qualification, that you know exactly what steps to take to restore your driving license. 

Here’s everything you need to know to make sure you’re ready should the worst happen regarding your right to drive.

What is a Driving Disqualification?

A driving disqualification is when you are disqualified from driving for a period of time, usually specified by the court which has convicted you of a driving offence. This driving qualification will apply to all motorised vehicles, including but not limited to: cars, vans, lorries, motorbikes, and mopeds.

Depending on the length of a driving qualification your driving licence may be revoked entirely, meaning it would need to be reissued, or may be held by the court for the duration of the ban. In both cases, this means the following effects take place:

  • Your driving licence can not be used for photographic ID during your driving ban
  • You will not be able to drive abroad unless you also hold a foreign driving licence
  • You will not be able to supervise a learner driver

Overall, a driving qualification can mean severe consequences that can impact many aspects of your life.

How do you Get Disqualified from Driving in Scotland?

There are three types of driving disqualifications in Scotland which could lead towards a driving ban. 

Totting Up Bans

The most common driving disqualification is the ‘totting up’ ban. This means that if a driver gets 12 points or more on their DLVA record, the court is obliged to disqualify that person under the law as stated in Section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.  

The driver is given a 6-month driving ban for the first ‘totting ban’. Thereafter, for a 2nd ‘totting ban’ and within three years after, they will receive a 12-month driving ban. 

Discretionary Driving Disqualifications

If the offence is more serious, the court can ban a driver on the basis that the offence is serious enough, regardless of the driver’s history. The option to ban the driver is to the discretion of the court. 

Obligatory Driving Disqualifications

In the most serious instances, the court has no option other than to ban a driver. For example, this could be down to Dangerous Driving. The court will impose a ban of one year or more and also a fine. 

How Long Can You Get a Driving Disqualification for in Scotland?





Penalty Points

Cause of death by dangerous driving

14 years


Obligatory – 2 years minimum


Dangerous driving

2 years




Cause of death by careless driving

14 years


Obligatory – 2 years minimum


Careless and inconsiderate driving





Driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs

6 months




Failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident

6 months




Driving when disqualified 

12 months




Source: Road Safety Scotland 

Getting Your Driving License Restored

If you have been given a driving disqualification, it may be possible to apply to the Court to seek to have your driving license restored. 

There are certain time limits to put through an application, these include: 

  • After 2 years, if the disqualification is for less than 4. 
  • Half of the period of the disqualification, if it is less than 10 years. 
  • 5 years in any other case. 

What is the Process of Restoring a Driving License? 

The application involves putting together a petition to the original Court where the case was initially heard. The petition should be considered by the particular judge who imposed the original disqualification. 

If the application satisfies the time-limit criteria, the petition begins with detailed considerations of reasons why an applicant should have the disqualification removed.

The most relevant consideration, is whether the petitioner has shown good behaviour during the duration of the disqualification. It is very unlikely a Sheriff will consider an application favourably where the accused has been involved in further offending as this becomes easy to refuse. 

The hearing normally involves legal submissions made by the Crown and Defence. The Crown draws the Sheriff’s attention to the terms of the Police Report. After that, the Sheriff invites submissions from the petitioner and their legal representative. 

Lodging an appeal is possible by yourself but requires in-depth knowledge of the law so employing a solicitor or lawyer is the best option to ensure your appeal has the best chance of being successful. Courts will not take ignorance of legal procedure into account as an ameliorating factor, so ensuring you have a solicitor on your side who understands the law can be vital for success.

Restoration of a Driving License Application Unsuccessful

If an application to remove a disqualification is refused, another application will not be able allowed to be made within 3 months after the date of the refusal. This is because it is unlikely the decision will be reversed during this time. 

For this reason, we prefer to get it right the first time and for tactical reasons, we would advise clients to defer their application when necessary.

Contact Our Road Traffic Solicitors in Scotland

If you are in Scotland and require assistance restoring your driving license, or simply need legal advice regarding driving matters, then Neil Kilcoyne & Co. Solicitors can help. Our dedicated road traffic lawyers are rated amongst the best throughout Scotland and are ready to help you. Get in touch today and begin the process of getting you back on the road.


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