Permanent driving license withdrawal

Permanent driving license withdrawal in Switzerland

Permanent withdrawal can be understood as an irrevocable administrative sanction, at least in a normal framework without special judicial intervention. Unlike temporary withdrawal, which has a fixed duration, permanent withdrawal indefinitely deprives a person of their driving rights.

The scope of this measure is vast and exhaustive. It applies to all categories of driving licenses and vehicles that the individual was previously authorized to drive. This means that a person subjected to a permanent withdrawal can no longer drive a motor vehicle under Swiss law.

The LCR does not lightly take the decision to permanently withdraw an individual’s driving license. It is done based on a rigorous assessment of various factors, which, although not detailed here, are integrated into a strict legal framework.

The primary goal of this measure is to protect public safety. The underlying notion is that certain actions or behaviors on the road are so grave or reckless that they justify a permanent driving ban. It is a clear statement that the concerned driver is not considered fit to participate in driving on Swiss roads.

Cases for withdrawal

One of the most common cases of permanent driving license withdrawal is the repetition of serious offenses. When a driver accumulates a significant number of serious offenses, it may indicate a systematic disregard for road rules and a risk to public safety. It is not just about minor or isolated offenses, but rather a pattern of behavior demonstrating an inability or reluctance to follow essential driving rules.

Medical unfitness to drive, whether physical or mental, is another case where permanent withdrawal may be applied. If a driver is medically deemed unfit to drive, their license can be withdrawn permanently. This can include conditions such as certain neurological diseases, serious visual disorders, or mental health issues that make driving dangerous.

Offenses related to alcohol or drugs are another area where permanent withdrawal can be imposed. Driving under the influence of prohibited substances is a serious violation of the law and a major threat to road safety. Recidivism in alcohol- or drug-related offenses can lead to permanent withdrawal, indicating the driver has failed or is unwilling to change their behavior.

In some cases, driving may be associated with criminal activities such as deliberate flight from police control, participation in illegal street racing, or using a vehicle as a means to commit a crime. In these situations, permanent withdrawal may be considered appropriate given the gravity of the fault and the direct threat to the safety of other road users.

Procedure elements

The preliminary examination is often the first step of the procedure. It is an investigation conducted by the competent authority (usually the cantonal motor vehicle service) to determine if permanent withdrawal is justified. The preliminary examination gathers evidence, such as police reports, medical records, or other relevant documents, indicating a possible need for permanent withdrawal.

In certain cases, especially in terms of medical unfitness, assessment by experts may be necessary. Specialized doctors or other experts may be called upon to examine the driver to assess their fitness to drive. This in-depth evaluation can provide crucial information for the final decision.

One of the fundamental principles of the procedure is the individual’s right to be informed and heard. If permanent withdrawal is considered, the individual must be informed of this possibility and the reasons why this measure is being considered. They must also have the opportunity to present their side of the story and, if necessary, provide evidence or testimonies to challenge the measure.

After reviewing all the evidence and hearing the individual, the competent authority makes a decision. If the decision is to withdraw the driving license permanently, it must be communicated to the individual with a detailed explanation of the reasons for this decision. The decision must be clear, comprehensive, and based on applicable law.

The decision for permanent withdrawal generally takes effect immediately, and the individual is required to surrender their driving license to the authorities. Enforcement measures can be taken to ensure compliance with the decision.

It is important to note that the notification of the decision must generally include information on the available avenues of recourse. This information is crucial to ensure that the individual understands their rights and the steps they can take if they disagree with the decision.

Avenues of recourse

When a decision for permanent withdrawal of a driving license is made, the first possible recourse is with the cantonal motor vehicle service. This step offers the opportunity to re-examine the decision, providing specific arguments and evidence concerning the permanent withdrawal. The request must be reasoned and filed within a strict deadline after the decision’s notification.

If the administrative appeal is rejected, the next step can be an appeal to the cantonal administrative court. At this stage, the focus is on the judicial review of the decision for permanent withdrawal, assessing whether the decision was made in accordance with the legal provisions applicable to the Road Traffic Act (LCR) and the principles of administrative procedure. The court can either confirm the decision, annul it, or modify it.

In case of rejection by the cantonal administrative court, an appeal can be lodged with the Federal Court. This appeal will specifically focus on the legal issues related to the permanent withdrawal, such as the interpretation of the LCR and compliance with constitutional rights. The Federal Court will not review the facts but will concentrate on the correct application of the law.

Appeals in permanent withdrawal matters require particular attention to the specific details of the case, such as the assessment of serious offenses, examination of medical fitness, or evaluation of recidivism in alcohol- or drug-related offenses. Arguments must be carefully crafted to address the unique elements of the permanent withdrawal decision.

An initial consultation

from 60 min to CHF 220.00

Asses your situation with a specialized lawyer.

You only want an appointment to ask some questions?
Not sure what to do?
Is your situation unclear?

Opt for an initial consultation with a lawyer.

You will then decide if you wish to proceed and our lawyers will give you the cost of the procedure according to your case. Appointments available in person or by videoconference.

Need a lawyer in Geneva?

Take an appointment now

by calling our secretariat or by filling out the form below. Appointments available in person or by videoconference.

+41 22 348 32 35