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No driving ban despite 12 points

Chesterfield motoring solicitor David Gittins was recently instructed in a case where his client was at real risk of a driving ban, having collected 12 penalty points.

no driving banDavid’s client had received Notices of Intended Prosecutions from a Derbyshire court as a result of speeding offences. If convicted, she would have been over the 12 penalty point limit for keeping her driving licence.  A ban would normally follow. David identified that the client would have a strong argument to keep her licence as losing it would cause her an exceptional level of hardship.

The case began through the Single Justice Procedure (SJP).  David advised the client at an early stage as to her plea and the impact of doing so. He also advised her as to the possibility of arguing exceptional hardship in a bid to allow her to keep driving despite the number of points of her licence.

David had conferences with his client to understand her personal and professional obligations which required a driving licence.  Using his own knowledge of the area he undertook detailed research and set about collating maps, bus times and even calling local taxi firms to get quotes to understand how much taxis would cost his client if she were to lose her licence.

Instructions were also taken from our client’s partner, sister and business partners to obtain further information to put before the court.

Exceptional Hardship

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 may be able to keep their licence even though they have passed the 12 point limit.

Exceptional Hardship is not defined in law and has to be considerably more than the inevitable inconvenience caused by a driving ban.

An argument for Exceptional Hardship could be based on issues that 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, David argued exceptional hardship before Magistrates.  Our client gave evidence as to the difficulties she would face if she lost her licence. In addition, the extensive use of digital maps meant that David and his client could show the terrain she would have to cross to walk to a bus stop and the danger that would present to herself and road users given the rural locations.

12 Penalty Points and No Driving Ban

Thankfully David was successful in his representations and exceptional hardship was found. The Magistrates exercised their discretion not to impose a ban. This meant the Client could continue driving and was simply ordered to pay financial penalties for these offences.

David’s advocacy skills and ability to see the bigger picture when collecting evidence before making his argument enabled the client to keep her driving licence.

For this type of case, Legal Aid was not available but a fixed fee was agreed in advance of the work being undertaken and arguably a small price to pay in order to keep your driving licence.

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