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A new provision has been added to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 which will become effective on 13 April.

s.35B of the Road Traffic Offenders Act sets out how the courts should treat drivers who are facing disqualification as well as custodial sentences.

The issue is that if a motorist is already facing an allegation which would result in him or her being sent to prison for say 12 weeks, then a disqualification of 12 weeks for speeding is not really going to have much bite. The defendant would not be able to drive whilst in prison in any event and when he/she comes out, the ban will be over.

However, the new provision (whilst in our opinion very badly drafted) appears to suggest that the fact that a period of disqualification will have no impact because a person is in custody, should not have an impact on the length of the sentence which the court decides to impose.

In our view it’s unlikely that this provision will make much difference to the way the courts sentence, but obviously someone somewhere believed there was a need for this new provision. We’ll have to wait and see.

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