What affect does a driving endorsement have on when a motoring conviction becomes spent?

Our helpline often receives calls from people who have received driving convictions and are confused about when this will become spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

Some of the more serious driving offences could result in your licence being revoked (i.e. you are banned from driving) and even a prison sentence. However, in addition to these specific disposals, your driving licence is usually endorsed.

In the days of paper licences, it was easy to see that your licence had been endorsed. Following a court hearing, you’d normally be instructed to send off your licence to the DVLA and it would be returned to you with a code added to it. For example SP30 (if you’ve been found guilty of speeding on a public road) or DR10 (for a drink driving conviction).

Now that we no longer have paper licences, endorsements are kept electronically by the DVLA.

In terms of when the conviction becomes spent, it’s important to look at the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Basically, depending what sentence/disposal is received, it takes the relevant ‘rehabilitation period’ to become spent. If you receive more than one sentence/disposal, it’s the longest rehabilitation period that applies.

For example, if Mr Motor is banned from driving for three years but also receivs a fine which, on its own, takes one year to become spent, the rehabilitation period would be 3 years as it would be based on the disposal with the longest rehabilitation period.

However, Mr Motor was also given an endorsement. Endorsements for road traffic offences have their own rehabilitation period of 5 years (2.5 years if you’re under 18 at the time). A list of endorsement codes can be found here.

So, Mr Motor’s conviction would not actually become spent for 5 years due to the addition of the endorsement to his licence.

If you’re in any doubt about whether you’ve got an endorsement, you can check your own driving licence at the DVLA Shared Driving Licence Scheme. You could also do a Subject Access Request, as this is the information that is used to process basic disclosures.

Once you’re clear about what’s on your criminal record, you can then work out when your conviction becomes spent. Try using our disclosure calculator to do it for you. If you think something is spent, you can always double-check by applying for your own basic disclosure.

For more information

  1. For more practical self-help information – Find out more information on motoring convictions and the ROA.
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.
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Debbie Sadler