Guide To Convictions
This guide aims to explain how driving offences are categorised, the course of action that can occur as a result of being charged, and provide a list of conviction codes that you may need to include when you apply for car insurance.
Types of driving offence
Not all driving offences have to be dealt with by the courts. The police can deal with minor road traffic/motoring offences. These are known as fixed penalty notice motoring offences and are commonly those where there is photographic evidence such as traffic light contraventions or speeding.
Normally such offences carry a £60 fine and the application of 3 penalty points, however, some more serious offences, such as driving without insurance will carry a higher penalty and fine.
What happens if you are convicted of a driving offence?
If you are convicted of a driving offence, and it is classed as an "endorsable offence", an offence code and the related penalty points will be added to your driver record and written on your paper driving licence. This is known as an endorsement and the information will remain on your record for four or eleven years, depending on the offence committed.
An endorsable offence normally refers to one that has occurred on the road. For example, speeding or ignoring a red light. Non-endorsable offences are usually considered to be those that pose less of a threat to other road users, such as parking offences.
If an offence goes to court, the court can endorse your driving licence with points, impose a disqualification period from driving and occasionally demand that you re-sit another driving test.
After the conviction has occurred you need to produce your licence for endorsement. This will either be at the police station, fixed penalty office or at court if you are asked to appear. In the event that your licence is lost you will need to obtain a duplicate copy from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Is a Fixed Penalty Notice a conviction?
Payment of a Fixed Penalty discharges liability to conviction for the offence. If you accept it and surrender your licence for penalty points this is not classed as a criminal conviction.
How long a motoring conviction remains on your record
The following information is sourced from Direct.gov.uk and explains how long the endorsements remain on your record listed by conviction. A full list of offences and the penalty points a court may impose is listed at direct.gov.uk .
NB: How long a conviction remains with you is dependent on the sentence given – not the offence committed. Custodial sentences lasting 21-22 years are never spent. *
Eleven years from the date of conviction
If the offence is:
- causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs – shown on the licence as CD40, CD50 and CD60
- drinking or drugs and driving - shown on the licence as DR10, DR20, DR30 and DR80
- causing death by careless driving, then failing to provide a specimen for analysis – shown on the licence as CD70
For example: Date of conviction is 3 December 2002 - the endorsement must stay on the licence until 3 December 2013.
Four years from the date of conviction
If the offence is for:
- reckless/dangerous driving - shown on the licence as DD40, DD60 and DD80
- offences resulting in disqualification
- disqualified from holding a full driving licence until a driving test has been passed
Example: Date of conviction is 28 May 2004 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 28 May 2008.
Four years from the date of the offence
In all other cases – fixed penalty notices.
Example: Date of offence 10 June 2005 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 10 June 2009.
Points add up:
If you acquire 12 or more penalty points within a three year period you will be liable to be disqualified. This is known as the ‘totting up procedure’. This can occur through separate offences occurring during a 36 month period, or if a number of offences are committed at the same time and a court concludes that the punishment should be 12 points or more.
A driving licence will be automatically revoked (taken away) if you build up six or more penalty points within two years of passing your driving test.
Expiry of endorsements:
You can remove expired endorsements from your licence by exchanging your driving licence for a new one. Endorsements that have expired will be automatically removed when you apply to renew or make updates to your licence for other reasons.
Certain offences or combination of offences could result in disqualification. More information on disqualification can be found at Directgov.
Finding suitable and affordable car insurance when you have driving convictions can be difficult. If you have had any driving convictions in the last 5 years then you must let your insurance provider know when requesting a quote or at your renewal date.
What impact the conviction will have on the price of your insurance depends on various factors which can include; the type of conviction, the car you drive and the insurer’s stance on convictions. Drink driving convictions are more likely to attract hefty premiums over speeding offences.
To demonstrate the effect of convictions on the cost of insurance Tiger.co.uk ran some example quotes. The quotes were based on a middle aged man living in the East of England, buying comprehensive insurance cover for a 7 year old mid-range family car. The table below shows how different convictions affect the prices returned.
When the car insurance quote is re-run adding in one speeding conviction, the premium increases by over 20% - that’s £43 a year based on this drivers premium but it would equate to £183 based on the national average policy price**.
You can check your driving licence against the list of conviction codes listed at Directgov and use it when advising your insurer of your conviction status. We have also shortlisted some of the common convictions below.
Most common offences
- SP10 - Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits
- SP30 - Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road
- SP50 - Exceeding speed limit on a motorway
- SP60 - Undefined speed limit offence
- TS10 - Failing to comply with traffic light signals
- CU80 - Using a mobile phone whilst driving a vehicle or supervising a learner
- DR10 - Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit
- CD10 - Driving without due care and attention
*Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
** AA Insurance Premium Index.