What is Exceptional Hardship?
When a driver accumulates 12 or more penalty points on their driving licence, they may be able to argue ‘exceptional hardship’ which can be submitted to the court to avoid a disqualification from driving.
What happens if I get 12 points on my license?
Courts are obliged to disqualify [ban] a person from driving for at least 6 months when they reach 12 penalty points. If there has been a previous disqualification, the minimum is a 12-month ban and two years, if more than one.
Why should I seek advice about driving offences straight away?
The driving ban provisions are draconian (severe) and rigorously enforced in the Magistrates Courts. It becomes vital to take advice – as soon as it becomes likely that points will be applied – as we may be able to avoid the terrible consequences, which can follow the loss of the right to drive.
How can I prevent points being added to my license and any potential ban?
Sometimes we can present arguments to avoid the points being imposed (enforced) at all. This usually involves arguing that there is some special reason, connected to the offence itself, which – if proven – would give the court discretion not to impose points. Such reasons must be connected to the offence, but not amount to a defence. For example, that the vehicle was only driven a very short distance to prevent an accident. We will be able to advise if such reasons exist in a case.
What special circumstances may apply to prevent points being added to my license, i.e. ‘Exceptional Hardship’?
More often we can argue that special mitigation applies. Such special mitigation cannot relate to the offence itself or to anything previously taken into account. Hardship almost always results from the loss of a licence, but can only amount to special mitigation if we can persuade the Court that it is “exceptional”. Courts will often look to hardship caused to someone – other than the licence holder – by loss of their licence. Examples include:
- Relatives who can no longer be cared for;
- Employees who may lose their jobs or;
- Children who may not be able to get to school.
We are able to deal with the preparation of these applications and their presentation in Court to ensure the best prospects of success. The licence holder has to give evidence, on oath, in court and we can help you through the process. If allowed by the court, argument on the same facts cannot be used again for three years.
How can Cartwright King help with driving offences and exceptional hardship?
If you require further advice in relation to your driving offence, or how exceptional hardship may work in your favour, please contact our Driving Offence expert, Andy Cash, or complete your details below and one of our lawyers, from our Motoring Law team, will contact you.
All advice is correct at time of publication.