High Risk Offenders
Due to changes in the law, the courts, police and prosecution service may now regard an offender as ‘high risk’ if they are convicted of a drink driving offence. Typically repeat drink driving offenders have a high chance of being branded ‘high risk’.
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What is a High Risk Offender?
Until recently, the term ‘high risk offender’ only applied to sex offenders, murderers and those who commit very serious crimes.
Due to changes in the law, the courts, police and prosecution service may now regard an offender as ‘high risk’ if they are convicted of a drink driving offence. Typically repeat drink and drug driving offenders have a high chance of being branded ‘high risk’, however, there is still a possibility that you may become a high risk offender the first time that you are convicted, depending on the severity of your offence.
High risk offenders have a ‘label’ attached to their names that will show up on any police check, customs check and employment or CRB check, alongside the criminal conviction. Importantly, the courts will not usually tell you that you are regarded as a high risk offender and therefore you may not be aware that you're carrying around this burden.
You're a High Risk Offender if:
- You receive a ban for drink driving and your breath reading was 87.5 microgrammes or above (or 200 milligrammes in blood, or 267.5 milligrammes in urine)
- You receive a driving ban for refusing or failing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine
- You have a previous disqualification within the last 10 years for drink driving or driving whilst unfit through drink
- You receive a driving ban for refusing to allow your an analysis of your blood taken due to incapacity.
Getting your licence back
If you are classed as a high risk offender for drink driving you may have problems getting your licence back once your ban has expired. The law now states that you will not be able to get your licence back until a DVLA appointed doctor is satisfied that you are medically fit to drive again. You will be required to have a medical assessment and provide blood for tests. There are a number of potential difficulties in the application process for being declared medically fit to drive, including the fact that specific forms must be used and submitted on specific set dates. There are also a number of complicated formalities around the type of vehicle that you wish to regain your licence for (for instance, cars and motorcycles versus buses and HGVs).
To add insult to injury, you will also have to pay for the medical assessment! Unfortunately, before the assessment has been completed and you have received notification that you are medically fit to drive, you will not legally be allowed on the road. In effect, this means that your driving ban continues indefinitely until such time as you complete and pass your medical. If you do drive in such circumstances, even after the original term of your ban has expired, you will be committing a different offence.
Will your doctor be able to help you?
Certainly. Your doctor will be able to provide you with medication and treatment if you have a drink or drug related problem. However, your GP will not be able to bypass the required medical assessment required by the DVLA. They may not even be able to carry out the medical assessment for you, as they may not be specifically government-appointed to do so. It’s also worth noting that your GP also has a duty to notify the DVLA if they have concerns relating to your fitness to drive, which could result in the DVLA revoking your licence – whether or not you have ever been convicted of an offence.