Penalty Points and Disqualification – Totting up
Every endorseable road traffic offence attracts a fixed or variable number of penalty points so where brought before a court, the court must endorse a driving licence with penalty points.
Where a person is convicted of an offence that carries penalty points and the penalty points for that driver equal 12 or more, the court must order the driver to face a period of disqualification, usually for 6 months. This is known as “totting up” of penalty points.
If however a court finds that there are mitigating circumstances, a court may order a disqualification for a shorter period, or order no disqualification at all although a fine and costs will usually still be payable.
In finding mitigating circumstances to reduce disqualification, or not to disqualify, the court can only take account of “exceptional hardship”.
“Exceptional hardship” is the most common reason for reducing disqualification or for not disqualifying. Before a court may exercise its discretion and find exceptional hardship it must usually hear evidence. It follows from this that it is essential for an experienced Motoring Lawyer to put forward a convincing case to the court that there will be exceptional hardship for the driver or his immediate family or third parties.
What is “exceptional hardship” is always a matter for the court to determine. We can advise on whether you have a strong exceptional hardship argument. We appear frequently before the courts arguing exceptional hardship on behalf of drivers and in most cases our representation is successful. It is often the case that our clients prefer a short period of disqualification under totting up instead. A short ban of 7 or 14 days will have the effect of “wiping the slate clean”. Often this is a preferable solution where points have been recently imposed.
Expert representation for these legal arguments is essential. Find out more about penalty points and exceptional hardship by contacting our dedicated Motoring Offences Team at Rothera Sharp on 0800 088 6280.