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Driving Disqualification – Totting up

Exceptional Hardship only becomes relevant if you face a driving disqualification under the totting up provisions.

If you have pre-existing penalty points on your driving licence and are facing prosecution in respect of a motoring offence which carries penalty points, you could face a driving disqualification under the totting up provisions if you accumulate 12 or more penalty points on your driving licence within a three year period.  The mandatory driving disqualification under the totting up provisions is 6 months. The period of disqualification may be even longer, if you have previously been disqualified from driving.

However in such circumstances, we may be able to put forward an Exceptional Hardship Argument in respect of your mitigating circumstances. If the Court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that you would suffer Exceptional Hardship as a result of the driving disqualification then the Court has the discretion to either reduce the period of disqualification or not impose a disqualification at all in spite of you accumulating excess penalty points.

Simply informing the Court that you will face Exceptional Hardship will not suffice. The Court needs to believe that you will not just suffer mere hardship but rather Exceptional Hardship and therefore putting forward an Exceptional Hardship argument is no easy task.

We have a vast amount of experience in this area and this is evident given our success rates in assisting drivers in avoiding driving disqualifications.  We not only have knowledge of the various arguments that can be put forward in respect of this but can also advise you on the necessary evidence to support and strengthen the Exceptional Hardship Argument.

What amounts to Exceptional Hardship varies from case to case. However the following are just some arguments which have been used to persuade the Court of Exceptional Hardship:

  • Loss of employment
  • Personal/financial implications
  • Impact on business
  • Impact on employees
  • Impact on family members
  • Inability to care for elderly, disabled, sick or vulnerable individuals

An Exceptional Hardship argument can be put forward in respect of the extreme hardship that you personally would suffer as a result of a driving disqualification. However, it can also be put forward in respect of how a driving disqualification upon you will have an impact on others and cause them Exceptional Hardship.

In these circumstances, the burden of proof is on you to show that you or others will suffer Exceptional Hardship as a result of a driving disqualification and it can therefore be difficult to persuade the court of this without having knowledge of the area and without expert legal representation. It is therefore imperative that you secure legal advice and representation if you wish to avoid a disqualification.

All of our specialist motoring solicitors at Caines Law have years of experience in preparing Exceptional Hardship Arguments. We have successfully saved thousands of our clients’ driving licences over the years. We aggressively protect our clients’ licences, and prepare Exceptional Hardship Arguments meticulously, paying close attention to every detail so that our clients can continue driving. There is nothing worse than coming out of Court thinking that you could have advanced other circumstances to support your case or could have represented your circumstances in a better way. You may not get a second chance in forwarding Exceptional Hardship, unless you decide to appeal your sentence in the Crown Court. This involves more costs and further inconvenience with Court proceedings. It is therefore essential that you get it right the first time.

Call us on 0800 6441544 to speak to one of our motoring lawyers who will explain the law on ‘Exceptional Hardship’ and assess your circumstances.

Calculating the three year period

The totting up provisions only apply if the driver has accumulated 12 or more penalty points within a three year period. To assess this, the penalty points are calculated from the commission date of the offence and not the date on which the driving licence is endorsed with penalty points.

If you are uncertain, secure the paper part of your driving licence and Contact us on 0800 6441544 for a free consultation. One of our Solicitors will then calculate the dates for you and will advise you whether you are facing a driving disqualification under the totting up provisions.

I have already pleaded ‘Exceptional Hardship’ – Can I plead again to avoid a Driving Disqualification?

The same argument for Exceptional Hardship may not be put forward again within a three year period, but the Court may hear an Exceptional Hardship argument within that time if there are a change in circumstances and a different argument is presented to the one previously used.

Do I need a Solicitor to represent me?

Given the difficulty of these arguments, it is imperative that you instruct a team of specialist motoring solicitors who deal with these matters on a day to day basis and therefore have knowledge and experience in successfully presenting these arguments.

Many individuals who are at risk of a driving ban arrive at Court not only unrepresented but also unprepared to address the Court in relation to the strongest points. It is of fundamental importance that the Court is presented with relevant background and information in a coherent and structured fashion; this will give you the best possible chance of avoiding a ban. For these reasons it is advisable that you are represented.

Call us for a no-obligation discussion about your circumstances on 0800 6441544. Alternatively, please complete the Contact us form and we will make contact with you at a time convenient for you.

Our ethos is very simple: if we do not believe that your circumstances are likely to be accepted by the Court as ‘Exceptional Hardship’ we will advise you of this. Our reputation and integrity is of paramount importance to us.

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Case Study 1

Our client was a self employed sub contractor for the installation of fire sprinklers. He travelled across the breath of the country to undertake work. He had two employees neither of whom drove.

He was facing prosecution for a speeding offence. He already had 9 points endorsed on his licence. The speeding offence would have led to him accumulating 12 points on his licence which would have led to him receiving a 6 month driving ban under the totting up provisions.

We advanced an Exceptional hardship argument successfully on the basis of the repercussions our client’s business would suffer and how this could potentially put at risk the employment of the two employees. Given the nature of the work, our client was required to carry a significant amount of tools and materials in his vehicle in order to allow him to undertake work. Public transport was therefore not a feasible option. It was apparent that if a ban was imposed, he would not be able to meet his obligations in respect of future work and would be in breach of his contractual obligations.

Furthermore, he had a daughter who was terminally disabled and who required regular medical attention. Given the disability, the daughter had to be escorted in a custom made vehicle at all times and only our client was able to drive this vehicle given that his wife could not drive.

The Court found Exceptional hardship and the ban was avoided.

Case Study 2

Our client was facing prosecution for using a mobile phone whilst driving. He already had 12 points on his licence as a consequence of an offence which took place 2 years prior. At the time he advanced Exceptional Hardship on the basis that he would lose his job if he received a 6 month driving ban. The court found Exceptional Hardship and he avoided the 6 month driving ban, however 12 points remained endorsed on his licence.

The current mobile phone offence of which he was guilty of would lead to him receiving a further 3 points, leading to him accumulating 15 points on his licence, which would again lead to activating a 6 month driving ban under the totting up provisions.

Our client advised that a ban would cause him significant difficulties.

The general rule is that an exceptional hardship argument can only be advanced once every three years. However, an exception to this rule is if you are able to show that you will suffer exceptional hardship due to some other reason (a reason different to the one already advanced at Court).

Given that our client had already used his employment as a reason when he last advanced an exceptional hardship argument to avoid a 6 month ban, we could not use this as a reason on this instance. Through a lengthy consultation with our client, we established that he and other family members would suffer significant hardship if he suffered a ban. His family would face severe financial implications. His three young children would not receive maintenance which would cause grave difficulty given that his ex wife worked very few hours. His elderly mother also suffered from a medical condition and she relied on our client to escort her to medical appointments and also to check on her welfare. It was apparent from this that he and his family would suffer exceptional hardship

Having secured this information, we represented our client and used his familial circumstances when advancing the Exceptional Hardship argument. The court found in his favour and he avoided a further 6 month driving ban

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