Under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, if an offender accrues 12 points or more on his licence within a period of 3 years, he must be disqualified for a minimum of six months.
They may be disqualified for a minimum period of six months if no previous disqualification, for a period of one year if there is one previous disqualification and for a two-year period if more than one disqualification is to be taken into account.
Such previous disqualifications have to be for a fixed period of 56 days or more and should have been imposed within three years immediately preceding the date of the offence which is being considered by the court.
Totting up disqualification will clear the driving licence as it will erase all penalty points.
The period of a totting up disqualification may be reduced if an exceptional hardship argument is presented and the court is prepared to accept it. If you have pleaded exceptional hardship within the previous 3 years, the same grounds cannot be used.
Each case is different. Therefore, there cannot be general grounds for exceptional hardship. If a driving ban will result in losing your job it may be considered as hardship, but it will not reach the threshold of ‘exceptional hardship’.
Examples of ‘Exceptional Hardship’:
- Loss of your job will result in you not being able to pay your mortgage, eventually resulting in losing your home
- You are the only/main breadwinner, if you lose your job your family members will suffer financially
- Your wife and children need you to drive them to various places. Children have their extra- curricular activities (swimming, cricket, music etc) and you drive them to these various places and back. Lack of public transport to these venues.
- You are the carer for a family member/relative who is house-bound due to a serious illness. Caring includes driving this person to various places i.e.: hospital, GP visits, etc and a driving ban will result in your not being able to provide the care needed effectively
- You visit your family/parents who live far and your visit is the highlight of their week. As they live in an area not served by public transport it will be difficult for you to make this journey regularly.
- You live with your extended family. Others do not drive and you are the person who has to drive them around.
- You run a business which requires you to drive around. If you are not able to drive the business will collapse. You have invested a great deal of time and money in starting and running this business and it will result in grave financial hardship for you and your family.
Whilst any hardship caused to you may not be taken into account, the court will need to consider the hardship suffered by third parties. Please also note that any circumstances that may be alleged to make the offence not a serious one, will not be taken into account by the magistrates.