Driving disqualification avoided due to exceptional hardship
Chesterfield Motoring Solicitor Kevin Tomlinson was recently instructed in a case where his client was at real risk of a driving disqualification. Her latest offending left her with 19 penalty points on her licence. In order to ensure the best result for her, Kevin had to ensure that offences from two different court centres were before a single court.
Kevin’s client had received a requisition from a Court in Staffordshire. This was as a result of new speeding offences. If convicted she would have been over the 12 point penalty limit for keeping her driving license and a ban was possible. Kevin knew that the client would have a strong argument to keep her license as losing it would cause her exceptional hardship.
His client then discovered that she was to have a further case before Derby Magistrates’ Court involving similar offence.
It was important that both cases be listed together. This was because Kevin could only put forward the same reasons for exceptional hardship once within a three year period. Kevin managed to delay the case in Staffordshire until the case in Derby had been listed. He was then able to have both matters listed before the same Magistrates’ Court.
At the point of sentencing Kevin had the opportunity to put forward the exceptional hardship argument on behalf of his client. This gave her an opportunity to keep her driving license even though she now had 19 penalty points on her driving licence as a result of her guilty pleas.
Exceptional hardship arguments
As all drivers know when you reach 12 penalty points the Court will disqualify you from driving under the totting up procedure. However, if it can be shown that exceptional hardship will result from a disqualification a driver is enabled to keep their license even though they have passed the 12 point penalty limit.
The concept of “exceptional hardship” is not comprehensively defined by the law. It does, however, have to be more than an inconvenience caused as a natural result of a driving ban.
Issues that can amount to hardship may include:
- Loss of a job resulting in loss of accommodation for others such as children
- An inability to get to any work due to geographical and public transport restrictions
- Loss of other third persons employment due to businesses having to close
- The requirement to take family members to urgent medical appointments when no other transport is available
In this case Kevin argued exceptional hardship before the Magistrates. His client gave evidence to the court about the difficulties she would face if she lost her licence. Although the case was initially heard before two Magistrates, they could not agree. As a result a third Magistrate was brought in so Kevin had to present the case again.
No driving disqualification but 19 penalty points
Fortunately for his client, Kevin was successful in his representations and exceptional hardship was found. The court chose to exercise its discretion not to impose a driving disqualification. This meant the Client could continue driving and was simply ordered to pay financial penalties for these offences.
Kevin’s advocacy skills and ability to see the bigger picture when collecting together cases before making his argument enabled the client to keep his driving licence.
Privately funded cases
For this type of case legal aid was not available. Instead an agreed fixed fee was agreed in advance of the work being undertaken. In the event this was arguably a small price to pay in order that our client keep her driving license.
Contact a Chesterfield Motoring Law Solicitor
If you require advice and representation from an expert road traffic law solicitor because you face a driving disqualification then please contact Kevin at our Chesterfield office on 01246 283000 or use the contact form below. Details of our Chesterfield Office can be found here. Alternatively you can find your nearest office here.
Kevin can provide you with detailed and affordable advice as to whether you are able to challenge the prosecution evidence relating to your road traffic offence, or how you are likely to be sentenced following a guilty plea.