If you are convicted of a motoring offence, the courts can fine you and add points to, or ‘endorse’, your driving licence. These endorsements stay on your licence for a number of years (either four or 11 depending on the offence) and if you accumulate more than 12 in a three-year period then you can be disqualified from driving.
What is an endorsement?
If you are from another country, don’t be confused by the term ‘endorsements’. For example, an ‘endorsement’ in New Zealand is a positive right to drive another type of vehicle, e.g. an I endorsement is required to be a driving instructor. In the UK the word endorsements is used in a negative sense, as in a penalty on your licence.
When you receive an endorsement you will have to hand your driving licence over to the police, a fixed penalty office (FPO) or the courts.
Endorsements for new drivers
These rules apply to drivers from all British and EC/EEA territories, including if you passed your first licence exam in an EC/EEA territory.
Penalties are much steeper for new drivers. If you get more than six points in the two years after getting your licence it will be revoked (i.e. taken away). This means you will have to take the theory test and practical test again.
Any points you get on your provisional licence that haven’t expired will be carried through to your full licence.
If you obtain a different type of licence, e.g. you have a car licence and then you get a motorbike licence, the two-year rule does not apply to that second licence.
How many penalty points do you get for each offence?
The number of penalty points varies with the type of offence and how severely you breach the laws.
Some offences have a fixed penalty, for example ignoring a stop sign attracts three penalty points, and being in charge of a vehicle while drug level above specified limit attracts 10 penalty points.
Some offences have a sliding scale, for example dangerous driving could attract 3 points at the low end and up to 11 points maximum. If you have a previous currently valid conviction for dangerous driving then the courts are likely to use the higher end of the scale.
Each endorsement has a code which is applied to your licence, e.g. failing to stop after an accident is code AC10.
A full list is available here.
How to check your licence for endorsements
You can use this page to check your driving licence details or share it with others.
How long do endorsements stay on your licence?
If the points remain for four years they are valid for the first three.
If the points remain for 11 years they are valid for the first 10.
Endorsements from the date of conviction
For dangerous driving offences and all disqualifications, the four-year endorsement is valid from the date of conviction.
For drink/drug driving and that of causing death due to drink or drug driving, the 11-year endorsement is valid from the date of conviction.
Endorsements from the date of the offence
For all other driving offences the endorsement starts on the date of the offence.
Who can find out about your endorsements?
Insurers, employers, finance companies and others, may be able to find out that you have the endorsement:
- any time during a 4-year endorsement
- during the first 5 years of an 11-year endorsement, or the first 30 months if you’re under 18.
How do you remove endorsements from your driving licence?
Most endorsements will be automatically removed – you don’t have to do anything.