Exceptional Hardship, a way to avoid disqualification?

Help me, SMQ LEGAL SERVICES. You’re my only hope.”

— Princess Leia, Star wars

A spokesman for the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership said: “The average speed system and the 40-mph buffer either side are only a couple of miles long, there is no excuse for the aggressive tailgating and reckless overtakes we have already witnessed within the area of the road works.”

He added: “Speed detection vans and unmarked police vehicles will be patrolling the [roads] to ensure the small minority of motorists who do not consider such speed limits, which have been imposed for safety of the road engineers and all road users, as applying to them, are prosecuted for any offences they may commit within the buffer zone. Those that choose to exceed the 30mph limit within the average speed system will automatically receive a notice of intended prosecution in the post.”

The number of cameras and speed traps is continuously increasing as well as the number of persons answering to the characteristics of “totters”.

What is a “totter”? Far from being the secret name that lawyers give their wigs, the totter, regarding traffic regulations, is defined as being a person having already committed a series of offences within a short period of time.

The Court is typically less supportive with totters. If an offender possesses 12 penalty points on his/her driving licence, he/she is very likely to face a minimum of 6 months disqualification (Section 35(1) of the Road Traffic Offender Act 1988).

The situation can sometimes appear unfair, especially when you have committed multiple “small” offences. Let us imagine you exceeded the speed limit by a few miles per hour and this within a short period of time, which can lead you to face relatively high fines as per the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

The injustice is seen in disqualification penalising both small offenders, previously mentioned, and serious offenders (i.e. drink driving offences).

The Court can nonetheless find an exceptional hardship and not disqualify you, yes as a totter, but to avoid disqualification you have to show the hardship is dire and more than a mere inconvenience should you loose your licence. Be careful, disqualification cannot be avoided for mandatory disqualification. This can occur for cases of drink driving offences.

The burden of proving this hardships falls on the totter. This means that you will have to carefully build a consistent folder recalling all evidence to meet the test. Examples include showing that you could loose your home, unable to support your family, and likely to loose your employment should you be disqualified. 

We recently won an Exceptional Hardship argument by arguing our client would face great detriment to her mental and physical well-being if she was unable to drive to go out and also, she was responsible for taking others back and forth hospital appointments and to activities for their own well-being as well.

You may then need the help of a solicitor. Genuinely, only precisely, proved factors can be taken into account to meet the test.

For instance, the simple risk of losing your job is not enough. As Sunil Rupasinha, road traffic barrister at ShenSmith Barristers in Lichfield, reminded: “because, nowadays, many people are at risk of losing their jobs if they lose their licences”. Nevertheless, should the fact you lose your driving licence leads to the loss of ten persons’ jobs, this would be regarded as persuasive to find an exceptional hardship.

Giving special reasons, takes place when the Court evaluates the circumstances related to the offence’s evidence as being such that the Defendant cannot face disqualification

In order to avoid disqualification, the defendant can also plead not guilty, where “the allegation is simply incorrect” or “because the Police have not prepared their case properly / have failed to understand the basis of the defence”.

It is now up to you to pick up the ball and run with it!

You have been caught speeding and it is not the first time this happens to you? You have 12 penalty points on your driving licence and want to try by all means to avoid a driving ban or a disqualification?

Stop wasting your time waiting for a miracle to fall from the sky and call us now to book your free appointment. Indeed, SMQ Legal Services offers you 20 minutes of free advice on your legal needs (01865 246 991).

Our solicitors are glad to defend you where there is Exceptional Hardship to prevent disqualification.

5th February 2019

By Yamina Bouadi


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