Rehabilitation Periods for Driving Convictions

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act came into effect in 1974 and was updated in March 2014. The Act sets out to protect people from having a permanent blot on their records after commiting all but the most serious offences.  Most convictions will become “spent” after a certain period of time and are no longer required to be divulged to an insurance company.

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Some car insurers such as Insure Your Motor specialise in offering driving insurance for convicted drivers within the UK, even before their conviction is spent. Other insurers still look at convictions as a serious problem, although under the law, spent convictions needn’t be divulged and cannot be taken into account when assessing the insurance risk.

It is the duty of the insured to honestly disclose all convictions that are not spent when asked. As of 2014, insurers are able to obtain driver data directly from the DVLA using a drivers’ driving license number (DLN). The data is supplied by the DVLA through the Insurance Industry Access to Driver Data (IIADD) system, also known as MyLicense. The data includes:

  • The type of licence held
  • How long the license has been held for
  • Any motoring convictions, points or disqualifications

Rehabilitation period for driving convictions

Custodial sentences

For custodial sentences, the rehabilitation period does not begin until the end date of the sentence. The length of the rehabilitation period for convicted drivers depends on the sentence given.

  • Custodial sentences over 4 years are never spent
  • Custodial sentences between 2 1/2 and 4 years – 7 years rehabilitation
  • Custodial sentences between 6 months and 2 1/2 years – 4 years rehabilitation
  • Custodial sentences of 6 months or less – 2 years rehabilitation
  • Community or Youth Rehabilitation Orders – Spent after 1 year

Non-custodial sentences

  • Fixed Penalty Notices – 5 years rehabilitation
  • Driving licence endorsements become spent after 5 years
  • Penalty points become spent after 3 years
  • Fines – rehabilitation period 1 year
  • Driving Disqualifications become spent at the end of the disqualification period

Rehabilitation periods for under 18s

For drivers under 18, rehabilitation periods for custodial sentences, Youth Rehabilitation Orders and fines are half the ordinary period. For all other motoring offences, the rehabilitation period is the same.

Rehabilitation periods for multiple convictions

It’s important to note that where more than one sentence or penalty is imposed, the period of rehabilitation always reflects the longer sentencing. For example if a driver was given a fine (usual rehabilitation period 1 year) AND disqualified from driving for 4 years, the conviction would not become spent until the rehabilitation period of 4 years relating to the disqualification had ended.


Cautions are not classed as convictions, do not result in a criminal record and do not need to be disclosed to an insurer. Cautions do not involve a rehabilitation period. However if you are specifically asked if you have ever been cautioned, you should disclose this information.

What if you get another conviction before the first one is spent?

If you already have an unspent conviction, and you get a further conviction before the first one is spent, then neither conviction becomes spent until the rehabilitation period for both offences is over. If your second conviction results in a custodial sentence of more than 4 years, then neither the first nor the second conviction ever becomes spent.

Applying for car insurance

Once your conviction is spent, ie. the rehabilitation period has come to an end, you no longer have to disclose it when applying for car insurance.

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More information for convicted drivers

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