Loss of driving license

This pages provides an overview of the rules on breaking the Road Traffic Act due to speeding and/or drink driving.

Driving ban and confiscation of driving license

In the event of a serious breach of the Road Traffic Act, a police officer can temporarily issue a ban on driving and confiscate the driver or vehicle owner's driving license (see section 33 (3) of the Road Traffic Act at lovdata.no). If the suspect fails to comply with the ban and confiscation, the matter has to be referred to a District Court for trial within three weeks.

Temporary ban and confiscation

Anyone suspected of a criminal act that can imply a ban on driving for various reasons can usually expect to be banned and confiscation of their driving license until the case has been resolved.

Long-term confiscation

For cases that involve long-term confiscation, the Supreme Court's appeals committee issued the following guidelines in Rt (Retstidende - statutes) 2006 page 254:

“In pursuance of section 33 (3) of the Road Traffic Act, a temporary ban on driving can be decided regarding anyone suspected of a criminal offence for various reasons that can lead to such a ban. With regard to the conditions for a temporary suspension, Supreme Court statutes state that absolute proof of the need for long-term confiscation is necessary, cf. Rt-2004-2044. The statutes also state that key aspects for deciding on confiscation and whether it will be disproportional intervention will include the seriousness of the offence, what risks to traffic safety the offender represents, how strong the evidence is against him and how strong the need is for him to retain his driving licence, cf. inter alia Rt-2005-160, Rt-2005-605 and Rt-2005-1252.”

District Court proceedings

The District Courts will hear the case in a court session. The accused will be summonsed to attend and will be given leave to testify. Losing their driving license is a major inconvenience to most people. Presenting proof of why loss of their licence will mean such inconvenience to them is important. If the accused objects to the charges, e.g. because he believes that the speed check was wrong, the reason for that belief must be explained. Witnesses are involved in some cases, and the presentation of witnesses to the court is allowed.

In the event of speeding offences that lead to a short-term license confiscation, and where there is strong evidence for the speed measured, compelling argument is needed to prevent confiscation of a driving license before the case is heard.

Sentencing in Road Traffic Act cases

In the event of speeding and drink driving offences, the period for license confiscation is set out in a table in the regulation on loss of the right to drive a motor vehicle (lovdata.no).

Speeding

The minimum period for a ban on driving is 3 months. A 3 month ban is given for:

 

Speed limit 30 kph

Speed 56 kph

Speed limit 40 kph

Speed 66 kph

Speed limit 50 kph

Speed 76 kph

Speed limit 60 kph

Speed 86 kph

Speed limit 70 kph

Speed 106 kph

Speed limit 80 kph

Speed 116 kph

Speed limit 90 kph

Speed 126 kph

For other tables concerning license confiscation due to speeding, see section 2-2 of the regulation (lovdata.no).

The length of confiscation can be reduced by 20-30% if the offence tool place in conjunction with an otherwise responsible overtaking manoeuvre.

For drink driving, see chapter 3 of the regulation (lovdata.no).

Sentencing: Effect will always be considered

When determining the length of the ban, the effects it is expected to have will always be taken into account if expected to be worse than normal. The deciding factor will be the interests of traffic and public safety, see section 1- of the regulation (link to lovdata.no).

Supreme Court on license confiscation for professional drivers

The Supreme Court stated the following on professional drivers and the period of license confiscation in Rt 2005, p. 641:

 “The defence counsel has also stated that a ban on driving will have a disproportional impact on the accused. He is a taxi owner, supports his wife and two children and is deeply in debt. The accused has not been able to earn a living in any other way. The defence counsel has referred to section 33 (1) final part of the Road Traffic Act and section 1-3 of the regulation. The Court of Appeal stated:

 “The Court of Appeal noted on this subject that professional drivers are subject to particular requirements on exercising care in traffic. All professional drivers will generally be hard-hit if they have to leave their vehicle at home, in the same way as others are dependent on their vehicle to earn their living. The rules were not intended to allow professional drivers a shorter confiscation period than others who are not dependent on a vehicle every day, and we cannot see that A’s situation is any different than for other professional drivers. The effect is not any more of a burden than for other professional drivers who suffer a ban on driving and we cannot see any particularly mitigating circumstances than referred to in section 33 (1) part 6. of the Road Traffic Act. Regard for traffic safety and general respect for the law must also be taken into account here. ”

(28)   In this respect, I am to a significant degree in agreement with the Court of Appeal’s reasoning, and I do not believe that there are grounds to go below the minimum period according to section 33 (1) part 6.”

Other traffic safety offences

For other traffic safety offences such as hazardous overtaking, failure to give way, rear-end collisions, crossing lanes etc., see section 2-5 of the regulation (lovdata.no).