Some offences carry obligatory disqualification. For those involving the accumulation of points see our totting page here. Under section 34(1) Road Traffic Offenders 1988 the magistrates’ court must disqualify you for 12 months unless it can be argued that there are special reasons why it should chose a lesser sentence, or not disqualification at all. There are a range of offences to which this section applies but special reasons for not disqualifying can include: the health of a passenger, blackmail, no speed-limit signs in a built up area and a u-turn across a central reservation in long stationary traffic.
"Some offences carry obligatory disqualification."
For drink-driving cases they can include: that the person was asleep in the car (for drunk in-charge), that the combined affect of tablets and drink were not known, ignorance that there was alcohol in cough linctus or that the driving was over a very short distance. There is further category of special reason that makes it open to the court to decide, for example, where there is a laced drink but in that example, third party intervention must be shown on the balance of probabilities: there will need to be evidence to support it.
If you have within the previous 10 years from the commission of the new offence been convicted of driving or attempting to drive whilst unfit through drink or drugs, death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, or driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol (or failing to provide a specimen for obligatory disqualification offence) then the period of disqualification is 3 years unless special reasons can be argued.
The court can in its discretion disqualify for such periods as it sees fit for bad driving or persistence offences.
Special reasons relate to the facts of the offence and they need to be established with evidence. The magistrates should state in open court when they have found special reasons and when they have not.