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9August2016

How to apply for your licence back after being disqualified for drink driving

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Conor Johnstone

How to apply for your licence back after being disqualified for drink driving

I have been disqualified for drink driving. How do I get my licence back?

Drink driving carries a mandatory disqualification. Once the period of disqualification has ended, you are entitled to apply for your licence back. However, there may be further steps before your licence is returned to you. This will depend on whether you fall into the High Risk Offenders category. You can read more about High Risk Offenders on our dedicated page

How do I know if I’m a High Risk Offender?

You will fall into the High Risk Offenders category if any of the following apply;

  • You have been disqualified from driving with an alcohol level above or equal to;
  • 87.5 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 200 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • 267.5 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
  • You have been disqualified twice within the space of 10 years for driving over the legal limit
  • You have been disqualified for failing or refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine
  • You have been disqualified for failing or refusing to allow your specimen to be subject to analysis

The court may not notify you that you are a High Risk Offender.

I am not a High Risk Offender, how do I get my licence back?

The DVLA should send an application to renew your driving licence 56 days before your disqualification is due to end. If you change your address during the period of disqualification, it will be in your interests to notify the DVLA of this. If you do not receive this application form, you should fill in an ‘Application for a driving licence’ (D1), which you can order from here.

I am a High Risk Offender. How do I get my licence back?

Your licence will not be returned to you until the DVLA are satisfied that that you are medically fit to drive again. This means that you will be required to undertake a DVLA medical before your licence is returned to you. This assessment will also include blood tests.

As above, if you fall into the High Risk Offenders category, you will be required to provide a sample of your blood to the DVLA in order to determine your CDT levels. The result of the blood test – alongside other information – will then be used to make a decision as to whether or not a driving licence will be issued.

What is CDT?

The Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test is a test that tracks heavy alcohol consumption over an extended period of time. If an individual drinks steadily and heavily (4-6 units of alcohol per day) for several weeks, the percentage of transferrin which is deficient in carbohydrate will rise. The longer a person drinks at this level, the higher the level of CDT. Intermittent or binge drinking can also increase CDT levels. The extent to which this occurs is dependent on the frequency of binges and the amount of alcohol consumed on each occasion.

Elevated CTD will decline with reduced alcohol consumption, and will revert to normal after several weeks of abstinence.

This test has a very high level of specitivity (i.e. it is not affected by other drugs or substances) and therefore it has been adopted by the Secretary of State’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel as the sole test for assessing harmful use of alcohol for high risk offenders (https://www.medichecks.com).

What must CDT Levels be in order to pass the DVLA medical?

The DVLA use a traffic light system in regards to CDT levels when deciding whether to issue a driving licence to a high risk offender. High risk offenders whose CDT levels are:

  • 2.1% CDT or less are considered to be in the green zone and will be considered as compatible for a driving licence to be issued.
  • between 2.2% – 2.9% CDT are considered to be in the amber zone which is considered to be indicative of possible problematic alcohol consumption, this will trigger further enquiries before a decision to issue a driving licence is made.
  • 3% CDT or more are considered to be in the red zone and will be refused a driving licence.

A person who consumes little to no alcohol will have less than 1.6% of their blood transferrin in the carbohydrate deficient form while people who misuse alcohol and drink to excess will typically have a higher proportion of their blood transferrin in the carbohydrate deficient form e.g. 3-10%.

How much alcohol will it take to increase CDT levels in the bloodstream?

CDT Levels will begin to rise after consuming approximately 70 grams of alcohol per day (the equivalent to 5 440ml cans of Fosters) for a 2 – 3 week period.

Can binge-drinking affect my CDT Levels?

Intermittent or “binge” drinking can increase CDT levels. The extent to which this occurs is dependent on the frequency of “binges” and the amount of alcohol consumed on each occasion. Someone drinking 200 grams of alcohol two days a week, but abstaining on the other days, could have a CDT level of 1.5-3% (potentially resulting in a failure of the DVLA CDT test).

The assessment will involve;

  • filling in a medical questionnaire about your medical history and how much you drink
  • a physical examination
  • a urine test
  • blood test

Your licence will not be returned if the medical assessment finds evidence of;

  • persistent alcohol misuse within the past six months or dependence within the past 12 months, or
  • current misuse or dependence

This is to ensure that you will not be a danger to other road users.

You will be required to cover the cost of the DVLA medical.

Get your licence back early?

Visit our dedicated licence page or contact us on

0151 422 8020

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