You must be disqualified (banned from driving) for certain offences, whereas others are discretionary.
For either category, where this would cause exceptional hardship to you or others around you the court may be persuaded not to disqualify, but you will almost certainly need a solicitor in court to represent you. The length of any ban will depend on the offence and your driving history. Any ban takes effect immediately, so you have to be there to be banned. Always make other arrangements to get home if a driving ban is likely.
What happens if I get caught driving whilst disqualified?
Pack your toothbrush and get a good solicitor. It is unusual if you are caught riding whilst disqualified for you not to go to prison. You are given a very clear warning when disqualified and driving on a ban has a maximum fine of £5,000.00 and six months imprisonment. They can extend your ban for as long as the court sees fit or you can be made to retake your driving test after a period of a ban. The offence will carry a minimum of six penalty points and there is no time limit within which the prosecution has to be brought.
If you are within the first two years of first passing your driving test and you accumulate six or more penalty points the DVLA will automatically take your driving licence away. It is not a matter that the court has any discretion on. You will have to retake your test to get your licence back.
Is riding underage the same as riding whilst disqualified?
No. It is an offence of riding otherwise than in accordance with a licence.