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What is the sentence for using a mobile phone whilst driving?

using a mobile phone whilst driving

In March 2022 an update in legislation was imposed surrounding the use of mobile phones whilst driving to eliminate any loopholes.  The word ‘’use’’ now involves any form of use and not just making and receiving phone calls.  You are now unable to hold a mobile phone whilst driving whether you are using it or not.  The most common recognised usage includes texting, facetiming and the use of any apps or searching on a browser.


The event results in six penalty points being endorsed on your licence, in addition to a compulsory financial fine based on your weekly income.  The police usually deal with the offence by way of a fixed penalty notice as the matter only holds authority to impose six penalty points and it avoids the Court process which incurs additional fees.  Alternatively, in cases where you are at risk for disqualification, you may be called to Court.  If found guilty, the six penalty points will be endorsed and will remain on the licence for three years from the date of the conviction.


If you have already had six or more penalty points on your licence on the date of the offence, you are at risk of a six month minimum topping up disqualification.  Where a motorist accumulates twelve or more penalty points on their licence, they are called to Court and sentenced under the totting up provisions.


The Court have the power to impose a six month minimum totting up ban.  A possible solution to avoid the six month totting up ban is to forward an exceptional hardship application.  If it is proven that the totting up disqualification will inflict exceptional hardship then the Court can pardon the disqualification.  However, the penalty points will still be endorsed on the licence.  This means that if you were to commit any further offences before any of the penalty points expire, you could be called back to Court.



An exceptional hardship application cannot be used more than once within any three year period.  If the Court deny the exceptional hardship application then a six month driving ban is possible.  Once you have completed the disqualification, all penalty points will be wiped off your licence and you will be left with a clean licence.  There is the right of appeal.


Where a motorist states they were not using a mobile phone and that they were distracted due to something else, it is possible to negotiate a request with the CPS to reduce the charge to a slightly different offence ‘’driving a vehicle without proper control’’.  This offence holds a less serious punishment.  For driving a motor vehicle without proper control the Court can impose three penalty points, whereas for the use of a mobile phone the Court can endorse six penalty points.  This lesser charge is popular with motorists who already have penalty points on their licence, and also for new drivers as it could prevent the new driver licence being revoked.


It is important to recognise that most cases of the use of a mobile phone stem from eye-witness accounts from police officers and therefore they are often difficult to challenge.  That being said, if you want to challenge the charge for the use of a mobile phone whilst driving, please call 01256 320555 or email us at mail@clarkeandson.co.uk for initial legal advice.



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