Avoiding a Driving Disqualification – Exceptional Hardship


The biggest threat to any motorist’s driving licence comes from the cumulative effect of endorsement on the licence of penalty points for a whole host of motoring offences.

The number of penalty points imposed will depend upon the type of offence committed.  These road traffic offences fall into two different types:

  • those where the number of points is fixed based upon the offence committed.
  • those where the number of points varies based upon the seriousness of the offence, the driver’s previous driving history and the mitigation to be offered.


A driving licence can be endorsed with penalty points for a whole host of offences.  The offences most commonly encountered are:

  • speeding (varies between 3 to 6 points)
  • using a mobile phone whilst driving (6 penalty points)
  • failing to identify the driver of the vehicle committing moving road traffic offence (6 penalty points)
  • driving through a red traffic light (3 penalty points)
  • driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention (3 to 9 penalty points)
  • driving or using a motor vehicle without insurance (6 to 8 penalty points)


Penalty points are critical because any motorist who accrues twelve penalty points within a three year period is liable to be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of six months.  The driving ban can be for longer depending upon the driving history of the motorist.


The answer is, yes, provided a motorist can prove to the Court that such a disqualification would cause the motorist, and/or others, exceptional hardship.


There are no hard and fast rules but typical examples of situations which have been successfully argued by our solicitors on behalf of motorists to be exceptional hardship have involved one or more of the following: –

  • loss of employment on the priority on a motorist
  • loss of employment for those whose job is dependent upon the motorist’s ability to drive
  • substantial damage to the business of a motorist
  • loss of ability to provide care for a family member, or another
  • adverse effect upon necessary regular commitments towards family.


An expert motoring law solicitor can assist in many ways: –

  • to collect and marshal evidence in support of motorist’s argument to keep the driving licence
  • to construct the motorist’s case to keep his licence
  • to prepare the motorist for giving evidence in Court-a legal requirement in such cases
  • to represent the motorist in court
  • to give honest, realistic and practical advice of the prospect of success
  • to anticipate and deal with counter arguments raised by the Court and/or Prosecution against a hardship application

A court which is asked to conclude that exceptional hardship will result from a penalty points disqualification has one of four choices ahead of it:

  • to reject the argument and disqualify for a minimum period of six months
  • to accept the argument but to disqualify for at least six months in any event
  • to accept the argument, and impose no disqualification at all
  • to accept the argument and impose a period of disqualification of less than six months

An exceptional hardship argument is not something that can be undertaken lightly. It is potentially a complex area of law. Of equal importance is the tactical approach to be adopted when mounting such an argument. Marrying the technical aspects of the argument with the correct tactical approach is a job for an experienced road traffic lawyer.

There is, of course, of no guarantee of success, but the experienced team of motoring lawyers of VHS Fletches have saved motorists’ driving licences by arguing exceptional hardship on occasions too numerous to itemise, both at Magistrates’ Court and also the Crown Court, to which any appeal against the refusal of a Magistrates’ Court to find exceptional hardship lies.

Our motoring team has extensive experience of dealing with cases right up to the Court of Appeal and geography will not be a bar to instructing us.  We will travel anywhere in the country to protect a motorist’s driving licence.

We will always investigate the circumstances of your case and see whether legal aid is available for your free representation in your motoring law case before the Magistrates’ Court.  You can read more about the legal aid scheme here.

If you are not eligible than we will provide representation in your road traffic case for a fixed fee.  This will allow you to know about and budget for the cost of your legal fees.  You can read about these fees here.

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