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Motoring offences

 

Driving offences are some of the most common we face in our lives. Here is a summary of the most common offences with their DVLA offence codes, relevant statutory law and prospective penalties if you are found guilty.

Minor motoring offences are mostly dealt with via fixed penalty notices (a fine) with, or without a license endorsement (points). They do not generally count as criminal convictions and won’t normally show on a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. Serious motoring offences are usually dealt with in a magistrates’ court and are punishable with anything from a large fine, a disqualification, a term in prison or a points endorsement. These are criminal offences and will show on your record.

Failing to stop after an accident

  • DVLA code AC10
  • Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988
  • Drivers are obliged to stop after any accident which causes personal injury or damage to other road users, animals or the land adjacent to the road

Drivers must stop and give their name and address if asked to do so, and must also disclose the name and address of the vehicle owner if different, and the identification marks of the vehicle.
 
The penalties for failing to stop after an accident include a fine of up to £5,000 with a prison sentence of up to six months. The offence also carries a license endorsement of between five and ten penalty points.

Failing to report an accident

  • DVLA code AC20
  • Drivers are obliged to stop after being involved in an accident, however if you do not stop and give your details at the scene then you must report the incident at a police station as soon as possible, or in any event within 24 hours

The law states that the driver must report the accident in person, and must produce a certificate of insurance within seven days of the accident.
 
Penalties for failing to report an accident are as serious as those for failing to stop after an accident, and include a fine of up to £5,000 with a prison sentence of up to six months. The offence also carries a license endorsement of between five and ten penalty points.

Refusing a breath test

  • DVLA code DR70
  • Section six of the Road Traffic Act 1988
  • Any person who drives, attempts to drive or is in charge of a motor vehicle can be asked by police to provide a specimen of breath and must do so if asked

Police can only request a sample if they have a reasonable cause to suspect you have committed a motoring offence, have consumed alcohol or have been involved in an accident.
 
You can avoid a charge if you have a reasonable excuse, such as a medical condition which prevents you from supplying a specimen.
 
Penalties for refusing a breath test include a fine of up to £1,000 and a driving ban of between 12 and 36 months at the magistrates’ discretion. The offence also carries a licence endorsement of four or more penalty points.

Drink driving

  • DVLA code DR10 – driving with excess alcohol
  • DVLA code DR20 – driving whilst unfit through drink
  • DVLA code DR40 – in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol
  • DVLA code DR50 – in charge of a vehicle whilst unfit through drink

It is a criminal offence to drive or be in charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol. The legal alcohol limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath, or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
 
For both driving offences the penalties include a £5,000 fine, up to six months in prison and a driving ban of between 12 and 36 months.
 
The lesser offences of being in charge of a vehicle carry penalties of up to three months in prison, £2,500 fine and a driving ban of between 12 and 36 months. Any points added to your license will remain on your record for eleven years.

Refusing to supply specimens

  • DVLA code DR30
  • Section seven of the Road Traffic Act 1988
  • It is an offence if you fail to supply specimens of blood or urine when asked by the police

This offence carries a £5,000 fine, up to six months in prison and a ban of between 12 and 36 months, and any penalty points awarded must remain on your license for eleven years.

Careless driving

  • DVLA code CD10
  • Section three of the Road Traffic Act 1988
  • It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle without due care and attention

The offence is based on all the relevant facts of the case. Examples of careless driving include lapses of concentration, loss of control, careless turning into traffic and poor overtaking manoeuvres.
 
Penalties for this offence include a fine of up to £5,000 and a discretionary ban or imposition of three to nine penalty points.

Dangerous driving

  • DVLA code DD40 – dangerous driving
  • DVLA code DD60 – manslaughter whilst driving a vehicle
  • DVLA code DD80 – death by dangerous driving
  • DVLA code DD90 – furious driving
  • Section two of the Road Traffic Act 1988

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There are several criminal offences relating to dangerous driving, which is defined as a standard of driving well below that of a competent driver. The test applied is whether a competent driver would obviously view that example of driving as dangerous.

Dangerous driving is a serious offence, which can be tried summarily at a magistrates’ court or in more serious incidences on indictment at a Crown Court. The maximum penalty at a magistrates’ hearing is up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000. If your case is heard at Crown Court the maximum sentence is up to two years imprisonment. All offences carry a ban of at least 12 months which can be extended if this is not your first offence. 

Speeding

  • DVLA code SP30 – exceeding a statutory speed limit on a public road
  • DVLA code SP50 – exceeding a motorway speed limit

There are several motoring offences relating to speeding, of which the most common is exceeding a statutory speed limit on a public road (DVLA code SP30). Other speeding offences apply to goods vehicles (SP10), other types of vehicles (SP20) and exceeding a motorway speed limit (SP50).
 
All speeding offences committed on roads other than motorways can carry a fine of up to £1,000 and a discretionary ban of between seven days and eight weeks, or between three and six penalty points. Generally speaking a ban is more likely where your speed exceeds 45% of the statutory limit, e.g. over 85mph on a 60mph limit road.
 
If you are caught speeding on a motorway the offence is more serious, and carries a fine of up to £2,500.

Running red lights

  • DVLA code TS10 – failing to comply with a traffic light signal
  • DVLA code TS20 – failing to stop at double white lines
  • DVLA code TS30 – failing to comply with a ‘stop’ sign
  • DVLA Code TS40 – failing to comply with the directions of a traffic warden

Many traffic light systems in the UK are fitted with cameras to catch motorists who pass through when the light is red. Running red lights is part of a range of motoring offences which apply when drivers fail to comply with road signals.
 
The offence of running a red light is punishable with a fine of up to £1,000 and three penalty points.

Driving without a license, insurance or MOT

  • DVLA code IN10 – driving without valid insurance

Driving without the necessary legal documentation is an offence under UK motoring laws. Driving without insurance is punishable with a fine of up to £5,000 and a discretionary driving ban or between six and eight penalty points.
 
Driving without a licence covers the offence of driving without having passed your test, and also the more serious offence of driving whilst disqualified. Driving without a licence is punishable with a fine of up to £1,000, with an endorsement of three to six penalty points which are added to your licence in future.
 
The more serious offence of driving whilst disqualified carries a fine of up to £5,000, imprisonment for up to six months and further disqualification if it is felt appropriate.
 
Driving without an MOT is an offence under section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which is punishable with a fine of up to £1,000.
 
As you can see, there are a large range of serious motoring offences, so drive safely and legally.

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