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Avoiding a Driving Ban

Avoiding a Driving Ban

A disqualification from driving can have devastating consequences, not just for the driver disqualified, but for the driver's family, the driver's business and other third parties affected. There are a number of ways that a driver can lose his or her licence.

  1. The commission of an offence which carries a mandatory disqualification upon conviction:
  • Drink driving
  • Drug driving
  • Failing or refusing to provide a specimen of (breath or blood)
  • Dangerous driving
  1. The commission of an offence which carries a discretionary disqualification:
  1. Getting 12 or more points on your licence- 'totting up provisions.'
  1. Attracting 6 penalty points within the first two years of passing your test - 'probationary driver.'

Whatever the way your licence is at risk, it is not always a guarantee that the loss of your licence will follow. There are various arguments that can be raised that can ensure that you keep your licence:

Keeping your licence- 'Exceptional hardship.'

Where a driver faced proceedings which mean that he or she is at risk that any further penalty points would result in 12 or more points being on his or her licence, it is possible to avoid being banned from driving by arguing that the loss of the driving licence will result in 'exceptional hardship.' When considering whether exceptional hardship would be suffered by the loss of a driver's licence, although the courts will consider the impact on the driver on him or herself, the court will be more impressed with the impact the loss of the licence has on third parties. If the court finds that the loss of licence will cause hardship which is capable of being classed as exceptional. The court has the power not to disqualify at all, or for a lesser period of time than the mandatory period usually imposed. Examples of exceptional hardship:

  • The loss of the licence will result in loss of your job. This might mean that you cannot pay a mortgage or rent and your home may be at risk.
  • The loss of your licence will mean that as an employer you cannot carry out your job as effectively as you otherwise would or could and this may mean that others will be at risk, such as employees, of losing their jobs.
  • The loss of your licence will mean that you cannot assist a third party who relies on you and your car, eg, an elderly relative or child who needs to be taken to regularly hospital or medical appointments.
  • The loss of your licence would result in you nor being able to carry out necessary commitments such as medical or hospital appointments.
  • You may live in an are where there is no or little public transport and so you simply couldn't carry out essential daily tasks without your licence, eg, taking children to a school.

[See specific exceptional hardship article in information section above]

Keeping your licence- 'Special reasons.'

Whether or not an offence carries a mandatory or discretionary disqualification, there can in certain cases be an argument that special reasons exists not to impose points or disqualify even though the offence has been committed. Whereas the exceptional hardship argument concerns issues relevant to the offender, a Special reasons argument concentrates on issues relevant to the offence, and not the offender. Examples of special reasons:

  1. Drink driving- where someone laced your drinks and you didn't know you were driving whilst over the prescribed limit
  2. Drink driving- where the distance driven was in fact only a short distance
  3. No insurance- Where you genuinely believed that you were insured even though you were not, eg, in a case where the insurance had only recently expired

[See specific special reasons article in information section above]

A defence in law

Obviously if you have a complete defence in law and you are acquitted of an offence then it goes without saying that the court will not impose a driving ban. Road traffic law can be complex. Most people panic when facing prosecution for a road traffic offence, and even more so when facing the risk of losing their licence. Wells Burcombe are experienced road traffic lawyers. We can advise you on all aspects of your case including whether you have a complete defence, and if not, whether we help with you keep your licence in another way.

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