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Exceptional hardships for driving bans

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Exceptional hardships



What is an exceptional hardship ?



Now under normal circumstances and under the totting up system if you were to accumulate 12 or more penalty points within a 3 year period you would be subject to a 6 month mandatory driving disqualification under section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988

Under section 35 the minimum period of disqualification is : 


  • six months if no previous disqualification is to be taken into account

  • one year if one previous disqualification is to be taken into account

  • two years if more than one previous disqualification is to be taken into account.


A previous disqualification will not be taken into account if it is imposed within the three years immediately preceding the date on which the current offence was committed.

In certain circumstances an application for exceptional hardship can be put forward where the motorist will give reasons for why the disqualification would bring suffering beyond what an average person would experience in the same circumstances  . Once the application has been put forward the magistrate will determine whether the disqualification is too severe considering the circumstances of the individual . If the magistrate deems that the punishment is too harsh then the length of the disqualification could be reduced or not enforced

Exceptional hardships

Examples of exceptional hardship 



Loss of employment  


Losing one's job due to not having a driving licence is a common reason we put forward for exceptional hardship . If you work as a lorry driver or are required to travel frequently for work, facing a driving disqualification may lead to loss of employment leading to further consequences such as losing your house and income causing further suffering to your family and those dependent on you . 


Hardship on individuals who rely on your support or care  


Many of our clients may be caregivers to family members or have others who rely on them where loss of one's driving licence may cause loss of that support and result in suffering for those who are reliant on the motorist.


Inability to assist with childcare if disqualified


Parents, if disqualified, may not be able to drive their children to extracurricular activities or to school if there is not sufficient public transport causing excess adversity.  In single parents it may make it difficult for them to see their children if they live a far distance resulting in negative impacts for the children.

Now there are many reasons why a driving disqualification would cause hardship and suffering to an individual but the judge or magistrate will be more accepting in circumstances where suffering is caused to others reliant on the motorist . If you feel as though you have grounds for exceptional hardship contact us now at 0330 341 1690 .


How we put forward an exceptional hardship application  



Prior to your court hearing we will thoroughly prepare you and build the foundations of your application by gathering witnesses and relevant evidence showing excess hardship on you or others . 

Examples of these could be financial records detailing how  loss of employment could result in financial detriment ; Medical papers for people who you care for ; statements from employers confirming your position and why your Driving licence would be essential etc etc. 

Frequently we find that motorists will put forward exceptional hardship on grounds of termination of employment but you can imagine how often the magistrates are presented with the same argument for exceptional hardship that's why we believe it is necessary to present further information detailing the consequences of a driving disqualification such as negative implications to third parties

The loss of one's driving licence may mean loss of occupation but can consequently result in a household losing their main source of income and suffering for those dependent on the motorist such  as his/her children . 
Now you can see evidently how the above is more compelling than “But i'll lose my job ".


Exceptional hardship outcomes



Once an application for exceptional hardship has been put forward one of 3 outcomes will occur : 

  • The court recognises your application and does not impose a disqualification 

  • The court recognises the application but a ban is still imposed usually less than the minimum period of 6 months 

  • The court rejects your application as compelling and the minimum disqualification of 6 months is imposed .


How often can you apply for exceptional hardship ?


Within a 3 year period you are unable to put forward the same grounds for exceptional hardship but can put forward a different reason . Although if argued once it is important to note the magistrate will likely be less tolerant in regards to your situation .


Can exceptional hardship be used to avoid a Drink Driving disqualification ?


The short answer to this would be no . Unlike a totting up disqualification under Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 Drink Driving incurs a mandatory 12 month disqualification . If pleading guilty the only way to avoid a disqualification is to put forward “special” reasons . Special reasons would be extenuating or mitigating circumstances revolving around the offence where if the magistrate deems applicable, could result in a reduced disqualification or none at all . Common examples of this would be :  

  • Short distance driven

  • Spike Drinks 

  • Emergency situations 


 If you believe you have grounds for special reasons contact us now at 0330 341 1690 .


How we help 


If you find yourself dealing with a totting up disqualification look no further. For over 20 years our team at Parnell and Peel have specialised solely  in defending motoring offences with an extensive track record and thousands of licences saved. We believe in providing the most exemplary legal representation to our clients .  Click here and see for yourself .