Most of us receive the odd speeding ticket or other minor endorsement on our driving licence at some point in our lives.
If you have held your licence for over two years then you can receive up to 11 points on your licence without being disqualified. Once you have received 12 points on your licence as a result of offences which occur within 3 years of each other you will face disqualification from driving for a minimum of six months. This is often referred to as a ‘totting ban’. This can be especially frustrating for the driver who has committed a number of relatively minor offences, such as speeding, within a short period of time.
What can you do to save your licence?
For a great number of people the loss of their driving licence, even for a short period, can have a devastating effect on their career and their personal life. There are however provisions, within existing road traffic legislation to allow people to keep their licence if they can convince the court that ‘mitigating circumstances’ exist. If the court is satisfied mitigating circumstances exist the magistrates can use their discretion to impose a shorter period of disqualification or not disqualify you at all.
What are Mitigating Circumstances?
The legislation is very clear as to what can be put to the court as a mitigating circumstance and what cannot. The court will not hear any arguments to suggest that any of the offences which resulted in penalty points being imposed are not serious. The Point of a ‘totting’ ban is to punish drivers who have repeatedly fallen foul of the law, even if each individual offence is minor in nature.
The court will also discount any argument to suggest that losing your licence would cause you hardship unless it is ‘exceptional hardship’. In most cases losing a driving licence would cause hardship but usually the court will be looking for something out of the ordinary.
What constitutes ‘Exceptional Hardship’?
There are no hard and fast rules as to what is exceptional hardship and what is not. This is a question for the magistrates on the day in court and predicting whether the argument will succeed is very difficult. It is generally accepted that transport difficulties to and from a place of employment is not sufficient to cause exceptional hardship. The fact that a driving licence is required to carry out your employment and the loss of your licence would result in the loss of your job, can be more persuasive, but it is no guarantee of success.
The court will always be more receptive where the hardship is caused to an innocent third party who otherwise relies on the person losing their licence to drive them. Arguments such as these become much more forceful if the innocent party needs to be driven for an important reason such as to attend hospital appointments or in order to keep their own employment.
At Cheshire Motoring Lawyers, unlike many other law firms, we can provide a free initial consultation in relation to your driving queries. If you decide that you need representation at court we charge a fixed fee of £500.00 plus VAT. This will not only cover advice prior to your hearing, it will also cover representation at court. Call us now on 0800 005 1009, our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day.