Disqualification in the UK of non-UK licence and trip to the US

Convicted Driver Insurance

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Staff member
People don't come here for facts they come here for discussion and debate and opinions. If they want facts they go see a lawyer; which you aren't.

There was you wanting to draw a line under this which I did; and then here you are rabbiting on about where "fiddle" sits in the Cambridge dictionary.

You really don't like being challenged on anything do you?


Discussion, debate and opinions are all good, however, laws are not debatable and insults are not tolerated on this forum. What is the law, is the law. Price is actually an ex police officer, works with drink drivers for a living and is very knowledgeable on the subject.


Well-known member
Hi all,

While I'm waiting for my court hearing I keep on researching the international law about my case and I've finally spotted the exact legal grounds allowing any nation to detain a foreign licence when imposing a driving ban. Maybe it's obvious for users of this forum but as I'm learning about all this now, unfortunately too late, I'll share my new "discovery" here.

The relevant law predates the EU and it's valid in a much larger area of the world, considering that the signatories are scattered across the globe. The article that validates the reply I had from Price wrt the likelihood to get out of the court with my plastic licence is article 42. The original text can be found at page 44 of https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume 1042/v1042.pdf#page=54 (the URL is correct because page 44 of that document is the 54th page in that PDF), but it's concise enough to be pasted in full here:


1. Contracting Parties or sub-divisions thereof may withdraw from a driver the right to use his domestic or international driving permit in their territories if he commits in their territories a breach of their regulations rendering him liable under their legislations to the forfeiture of his permit. In such a case the competent authority of the Contracting Party or sub-division thereof withdrawing the right to use the permit may:
(a) withdraw and retain the permit until the period of the withdrawal of use expires or until the holder leaves its territory, whichever is the earlier;
(b) notify the withdrawal of the right to use the permit to the authority by or on behalf of which the permit was issued;
(c) in the case of an international permit, enter in the space provided for the purpose an endorsement to the effect that the permit is no longer valid inits territory;
(d) where it has not applied the procedure for which provision is made in subparagraph(a) of this paragraph, supplement the communication referred to in sub-paragraph (b) by requesting the authority which issued the permit or on behalf of which the permit was issued to notify the person concerned of the decision taken with regard to him.

2. Contracting Parties shall endeavour to notify the persons concerned of the decisions communicated to them in accordance with the procedure laid down in paragraph I (d) of this Article.

3. Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as prohibiting ContractingParties or sub-divisions thereof from preventing a driver holding a domestic or international driving permit from driving if it is evident or proved that his condition is such that he is unable to drive safely or if the right to drive has been withdrawn from him in the State in which he has his normal residence."

It's not common to find laws so clearly worded also for the "layman" and this is why I've copied and pasted the whole article as it is in its original form.

My question around UK authorities detaining a foreign licence is answered by case 1.a, considering nevertheless that all those subparagraphs are preceded by "may". So the answer provided by Price is perfectly fine because indeed UK authorities are entitled by this article to withdraw and retain my driving licence. However, again as Price mentioned, if I leave the UK territory before the end of my ban I would be entitled to get my licence back.

In any case, and this is a recurring topic in this forum when holders of UK licences discuss about driving abroad (which is the precise mirror image of my case), according to paragraph 3 even if I keep my physical EU licence in my pocket while being in the UK, that plastic card would bear no validity in terms of right to drive until the end of the driving ban.

At this point I'm wondering again about the related practicalities. I will indeed travel multiple times abroad, regardless of whether I'll drive abroad, while definitely still residing in the UK for more than 185 days and thus remaining a UK resident.

Price mentioned something beyond the above article, which is the end of the following paragraph (I've highlighted it in bold):
If it is sent to DVLA, all you have to do is contact them in advance of your trip and say you require it for use abroad and they will send it to you to use and then return to them until the end of your ban.

If Price is right, the whole ordeal of sending my plastic card back and forth would be quite daunting and certainly expensive both in terms of time and money, if I will go through it each time I'll travel. On the other hand the Vienna Convention simply states "whichever is the earlier" at the end of 1.a. Therefore if I ask for my licence before my earliest trip, I should be allowed to keep it thereafter. There is always paragraph 3 protecting the right of the UK authorities to deny the validity of my licence in UK (and Ireland due to mutual agreements) until the end of the driving ban.

McIannelli stated
The DVLA don't like the fact that people can be banned in the UK, and then drive legally in Europe. People can only do this if they retain the actual physical licence after their disqualification.
but still if my trip outside of the UK is earlier than the end of my ban (which will definitely be the case regardless holidays, if only to visit friends and family in my home country) I should be allowed to get it back.

In summary, back to practicalities, I'm wondering:

1) Would it be too "cheeky" to mention the above to the court, hoping to persuade them that it's easier for all parties involved to leave my EU plastic card with me?
2) Does anyone know why the DVLA would be entitled to ask my licence back at the end of any, or each, trip?
3) Am I correct in believing that, only for that additional restriction, Price was wrong regarding the detail of returning the licence to the DVLA after the trip?

Reading the Vienna Convention makes me wonder also about 1.b as I've never heard of that and I'm not sure what consequences it might have regarding the validity of my licence according to its issuing country. But this could be the subject of another post.

Thanks again, I'm looking forward to receiving more feedback.



TTC Group
You are doing your research!
firstly I would say do NOT ask the court about keeping your licence. When you are banned, they will either insist on retaining it..... Or they will be baffled and hand it back to you. If they want to keep it, you will not pursuade them it is more convenient for you to hold on to in. If they give it back because they are baffled..... no need to ask!
what I quoted about sending your licence back after your visit is what the DVLA procedure says should happen. In practice, once they have sent it back to you, they do not ask how long you are going abroad for, or chase up the return of the licence, so your multiple trips should not present you with any problem. As I said, it is valid in any other country, just not here.
The treaty you have quoted says that the member state that witholds a licence will notify the issuing state - your home country) (section 1b) in practice I don't think this is done for offences committed in the UK. The reason they can retain your licence after your holiday is in the treaty you have quoted. It says: .(1a)....... "Until the holder leaves its territory". DVLA take the view that if you have only popped out for a couple of weeks, you have not fully "left its territory." Therefore they are entitled to retain it again. I have said above what happens in practice though.
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Well-known member
Many thanks Price for the usually well argued points you've made.

Honestly about my question 1 I was definitely leaning towards what you've just answered, and that's also why I used the term "cheeky"... I should just focus on pleading guilty and repent utterly about what I've done, plus mentioning that I've already taken the decision to avoid any alcoholic drink before driving in the UK or anywhere else (some countries do have a zero-tolerance law). I guess that the best I can expect is to be offered the course to reduce my ban to 9 months and to get a fine at the lower end of the relevant bracket considering that I've pleaded guilty since the very beginning of my misadventure. Getting out of the court with my plastic card is a minor concern in the end, and as you wrote it's more related to the specific procedures or even only the habits of the court that deals with my case, rather than being related to what I have done and/or might say.

I also agree that subparagraph 1.a, probably like most of these international treaties, leaves still much to be interpreted. I am not at all a lawyer, otherwise I would have probably steered clear of even a single glass of wine before driving, but I guess that usually those international agreements are also "translated" into, or anyway used as guiding principles for, national laws and regulations, so there might indeed be more specific procedures in the UK that will be documented wherever it's relevant. I doubt that any DVLA officer or even a magistrate goes really back to the Vienna Convention each time they're taking a decision on these matters.

It would be interesting to find public documents about the UK interpretation of the Vienna Convention but this is really just curiosity at this stage, in the end I will find out only after my hearing and I don't have any means to influence these processes.

In the worst case I'll just ask my licence back before my first trip, and then see what happens next.

I will further update this thread after the hearing or earlier if I have more questions bugging my mind. Even before any court ruling, the immediate effect of my massive mistake is that I can't really think of anything else in my spare time. It's not affecting work, luckily, and now I'm on leave, but it is a scar that will take time to heal regardless of any ban or fine.

Thanks again and best regards,


Well-known member
Hi all,

Thanks a lot to Price, Sean, and everyone in this forum.

Today I had my court hearing and everything went smoothly except for a long wait (got there before 9:00, heard shortly after 16:00).

I will provide here the key results, then more details in the thread about sentences:

1) Minimum disqualification, i.e. 12 months that will be reduced to 9 upon completion of a rehab course. The training location is exactly halfway between home and office, along a 15 min walking route (I always walk to work as I moved to the UK to work in the office where I'm working and I've always looked for houses/flats at walking distance also because I didn't have a car here anyway when I moved).

2) Minimum fine, according to the judges, £400 which become £525 after adding costs and victims charge. Indeed less than the weekly income that I have declared, while I thought that the minimum was 100% of the weekly income (although the main judge said that they have more leeway with fines rather than with disqualifications)

3) No one had a look at my EU driving licence. They asked if I had it with me but it remained in my wallet. The judges actually called out, with a smile, that I am only banned in the UK (and Ireland, as we know, but no one mentioned it there; I pointed this out to the duty solicitor prior to the hearing, a young woman probably too young to remember the issues in Northern Ireland or even to know much about U2, and she repeatedly mentioned that Ireland is part of the UK... even after I called out the difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland :) ). Interestingly, this whole drama ended with no one ever looking at my licence even once. The police didn't ask for it, the magistrates or any clerk didn't either, and indeed in my final CPS documents I can't read anywhere my licence number. I find this quite odd, to be honest, but now that they have my DNA they probably don't care much about my licence ID. It will be interesting to see if I will have a DR10 on my licence if I will still be a UK resident when my current licence will expire in 2020 and I will have to get a UK one. I've read in this forum that DR (and other) codes are attached to a non-UK licence by means of a "placeholder" that would then be the template for my first UK licence. However if I will live at another address, unless they only use name, surname and DOB to identify people, or unless they really start asking for fingerprints and DNA to all new applicants, it will be difficult to recognise that I am the same person who was disqualified in 2016.

When I got back home with my wife, who was there with me and penned an appreciated character reference, we found also her provisional licence in our mailbox, so everything is looking relatively good after a shock I don't want ever to go through for the rest of our lives.

Now I need to sort out the insurance (tomorrow or anyway ASAP and definitely by the end of this week) and the US visa, but hopefully I'll start sleeping again more than 4/5 hours per night. In the last couple of weeks I kept on waking up way too early, feeling hot, then cold, then shivering, much like having a flu. Hopefully that feeling will be over, and I'll be able to get back to the happy life I've had so far in the UK. We'll just spend some weekends exploring local places and using the train, rather than going further in our exploration of the UK, but when my wife will have her license we'll be free again to visit farther places with our car.

Thanks again everyone, I will soon update my other threads about my case and I will not abandon this forum. I'd like to provide feedback to others and, at the least, to report back when I'll be driving again.

All the best,


Well-known member
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