Where a person is convicted of an offence in relation to mechanically propel vehicle, the court if it does not order an ancillary disqualification, may direct particulars of the conviction to be endorsed on the licence. If the person does not hold a licence it may be endorsed on the licence subsequently granted. Endorsements are transferred onto any subsequent licence where applicable.
Where a court makes a disqualification order this is endorsed on the licence or any subsequent licence. The licence may be suspended pending appeal. The Court Service must notify the Department of the imposition of a disqualification order and this should be endorsed in the relevant licensing record.
A person disqualified from driving must deliver up his licence. Within five days of a disqualification coming into force the driving licence must be surrendered to the court officer, unless the matter s appealed. It is to be retained and the order is to be endorsed and sent to the licensing authority.
Where the order is postponed the obligation to deliver is similarly postponed. Equivalent provisions agree apply for and orders made on appeal.
If a licence is delivered , it is to be retained until the period for lodging of notice of appeal has expired or until it is lodged. If no appeal is lodged, it is to be endorsed and sent to the licensing authority. Where an appeal is lodged, it is to be sent to the Registrar of the Circuit Court. The provisions also apply to driving licences of other states.
A consequential disqualification order is one which arises automatically on a particular road traffic offence. It may only apply on a repeat or subsequent offence within a period. The detail of the legislation defers depending on the type of offence.
The fact that the imposition of a disqualification orders s potentially severe in its impact on some persons, this does make the underlying offence, subject to an entitlement to a jury trail. The Irish Courts have decided that this is the case, notwithstanding the right to a jury trial for a non-minor offence.
Where an automatic disqualification is imposed the court may specify that a certificate of competency or certificate of fitness be required before a new licence issue after the period of disqualification. In such cases the disqualification continues until the certificate is produced.
Certain offences are subject to minimum of two years disqualification in the case of a first conviction. The principal offences are those involving intoxicating liquor. There is provision for four years disqualification for a second and subsequent offences.
The periods of mandatory disqualification for first and second offences may vary depending on the concentration of bool/ urine /breath alcohol concerned. Below certain l thresholds, the periods are respectively one year and three months on first conviction, and six months and three years on second conviction.
The disqualification period in respect of dangerous driving and no insurance is not less than a year on a first offence and two years on a second and subsequent offences between a certain period.
In certain cases where a consequential or automatic disqualification, an exception may be allowed for a special reason. This must be an unusual mitigating or extenuating circumstances such as a sudden medical emergency.
A disqualification order may be made exceeding the minimum prescribed period. Disqualification may be made for life. This may happen for example in the case of dangerous driving causing death. This would be exceptional.
When cases are appealed the disqualification aspect, in so far as it is not mandatory, may be varied. A consequential or automatic disqualification must not be reversed unless the underlying conviction is reversed.
There are a range of less series of offences where r mandatory disqualification applies in the case of multiple offences within a certain period.
The following involve consequential or automatic disqualification on the first offence:
- Driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug;
- Use of vehicle while uninsured;
- Taking vehicle without consent;
- Dangerous driving
- Certain failures to fulfill duties on the occurrence of an accident.
The following involve mandatory disqualification in the case of a second offence within a period, typically three years;
- Using vehicle without a test certificate
- Driving while unfit;
- Careless driving;
- Driving dangerous vehicle second offence.
An ancillary disqualification order is one which is imposed by the court as a matter of discretion. The ancillary disqualification order disqualifies the person during the period specified.
An ancillary disqualification order may be made when a person is convicted of an offence under Road Traffic Acts in relation to a mechanically propelled vehicle or its driving or a in a crime in which a vehicle was used. The disqualification is an addition to any other penalty that may be declared. The disqualification order may be appealed to the Circuit Court.
A disqualification order is not necessarily imposed as punishment. In principle it is withdrawal of a privilege based on fitness to drive and it not necessarily punitive in nature. The order may be imposed for a period or until a certificate is produced or during a period and thereafter until a certificate of fitness or competency is produced or both. In an appeal an ancillary disqualification order may be annulled, confirmed or varied.
A special disqualification order is one made on the basis of person’s disease, physical or mental disability to drive or incompetence to drive. It is not a punishment. It is made on the application of Garda Síochána on the grounds of unfitness.
The application is made to the District Court in the place with the person ordinarily resides. If the Judge is satisfied that the person by reason of physical or mental disability is unfit for driving mechanically propelled vehicles generally, or of the class, a special disqualification order maybe made.
Prior notice must be given to the applicant. A person aggrieved by a special disqualification order may appeal to the Circuit Court. The provisions also apply in respect of a visitors driving permit. Particular of the special disqualification order are to be endorsed on the driving licence and in the licence records.
Disqualification orders maybe postponed for special reasons for periods not exceeding six months. Special reasons must exist, which must be specified in the order.
When an appeal is brought in relation to an offence carrying a disqualification order or against a special disqualification order, the court may order direction of the suspension, pending appeal. The notice of appeal must be made within the time limit in order to suspend the application of the order. The suspension ceases, if the appeal is withdrawn.
There are provisions regarding durations of endorsement upon disqualification on driving licences and in the licensing record.
This provision for application to court to remove a disqualification order early. The application is generally made to the court where the order was made.
In the case of an disqualification order, of not less than two years, an application may be made for removal at any time after nine months and the beginning of the period. Longer periods apply for longer disqualification orders. In the case of a disqualification of not less than one year, the application maybe made within three months but may not take effect until six months after the disqualification.
The application is made to the court concerned generally the District Court. An Garda Síochána must be given notice of the application. The court must be satisfied that circumstances exist which justify the making of the order for the removal. This may include the conduct of the applicant and the nature of the offence.
The applicant’s payment of any fine and conduct after the event is relevant. The nature of the offence is also relevant. When an order is refused a fresh application may not be made within three months after refusal.
There is the European Convention on Driving Disqualification. Where a person is disqualified on a specified offence in another country, the authority of the state notifies the Minister of the disqualification and transmits certain documents. The Minister is to transmit the notice and orders other documents to the licensing authority.
On application to the appropriate Judge by the licensing authority that it has received the notice the Judge on being satisfied make an order declaring the person disqualified for the relevant period. The maximum disqualification is not to exceed the maximum that would have been imposed in a domestic court.
The order may be refused if the conduct concerned does not constitute an offence under the law of the state or does not constitute one for which disqualification may be ordered or less than one month remains unexpired.
If a person normally resident in the State is convicted of specified offences and a driving disqualification is imposed, the Court Services must notify the Minister and furnish any further information as it is required for the purpose of the Convention.
The Minister is obliged to notify the central authority of the state of residence. He must ensure all things necessary under the convention is done including cancellation certification and attestation of documents.
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