Motorists in Ireland are obliged to display evidence that they have paid their motor tax and have current motor insurance on the windscreen of their vehicles. If a vehicle is found by the Gardaí not to have a current motor insurance policy they have the power to impound the vehicle until such time as an insurance certificate is produced by the owner which insures the use of the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle will be liable to all charges or costs incurred by the Gardaí in the removal and storage of the vehicle. The Road Traffic Act 2006 extended this power to include the power to impound vehicles registered outside of Ireland.
Similarly, the Gardaí are empowered to impound any vehicle which has not been taxed for a period of two months or more. In reality this means that if you are stopped by the Gardaí while driving a vehicle and the road tax for that vehicle is out of date by two months or more, the Gardaí can seize that vehicle and impound it until such time as the owner can show proof that the motor tax has been paid for that vehicle to include the date on which it was impounded (i.e. paying the arrears due on the vehicle). Again, the owner of the vehicle will be liable for all charges and costs incurred by the Gardaí in the removal and storage of the vehicle.
Each year in Ireland, thousands of people are issued with licences to drive motor vehicles. These vehicles include motorcycles, cars, vans, trucks, agricultural machinery, etc. In order to ensure high standards of road safety, it’s important that everyone is aware of the laws in place regarding motoring in Ireland and the penalties in place if you break the law.
The Road Traffic Acts set out the main provisions for motoring in Ireland. This legislation deals with issues such as vehicle licensing, vehicle standards, your obligations and responsibilities, etc. Motoring offences can include drink driving, speeding, driving without evidence of insurance or motor tax, driving without due care and attention and driving without a seatbelt. A new offence of driving while holding a mobile telephone was introduced in 2006.
You can be disqualified from driving a vehicle if a judge convicts you of a motoring offence or of driving a defective vehicle. Driving a defective vehicle can include driving a vehicle that is not road-worthy. A system of parking restrictions and fines is also in place throughout Ireland.
Summonses issued to citizens for motoring offences are heard in the District Court and the presiding judge has the power to impose disqualifications for driving and endorsements of driving licenses. Motoring offences that result in a charge of dangerous driving causing death are heard in the Circuit Court before a judge and jury unless the defendant pleads guilty prior to the hearing.
The Gardaí have the power to arrest the driver of a vehicle for certain motoring offences. These offences include drink driving and dangerous driving.
Appealing a disqualification
If you have been convicted of motoring offences and disqualified from driving in a District Court, you can appeal the disqualification to the Circuit Court. You must lodge an appeal within 14 days of your conviction. If you wish to represent yourself, the court clerk in your local District Court will help you complete the necessary forms. Alternatively, your solicitor can assist you.
Removal of a disqualification
If you have been disqualified from driving and wish to apply to the courts for an early restoration of your licence, you may do so in person or through a solicitor following payment of the appropriate fee. You may apply for the early restoration when half your disqualification period is over. However, you cannot apply for an early restoration:
If the disqualification is for 2 years or less
If the disqualification is not your first disqualification order within the previous 10 years
The court can reduce the period of disqualification to two-thirds of the original period of disqualification or to 2 years, whichever is the greater.
The court clerk of your District and Circuit Court will tell you about the court venues and dates.
The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) holds your driving licence while you are disqualified.
Contact us today on 018724717 or 0868257176