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Exceptional Hardship


Totting Up

When a motorist accumulates twelve or more penalty points within a three-year period, they will fall to be considered for disqualification under the totting up provisions.

The minimum period under the totting up provisions is a full six months disqualification.  However, this rises to twelve months if the driver has been disqualified for fifty six days or more within the three years immediately proceeding the commission of the latest offence.

Further, if there are more than one previous disqualifications to be taken into account, the minimum totting up disqualification increases to twenty four months.

Exceptional Hardship

It may be possible for a motorist who falls within the totting up provisions to argue that they should not be disqualified due to Exceptional Hardship.

There is no legal definition to what amounts to ‘Exceptional Hardship’, however, for hardship to be exceptional it must be more than that is normally suffered.

Exceptional Hardship is not confined to the hardship that will be caused to the offender as a result of disqualification.  Often hardship will be caused to person other than the offender who are wholly innocent and who relies upon the offender driving them about, and will suffer if the offender is disqualified.

In Cornwall v Coke (1976), it was submitted that a Court may properly take more notice of hardship where it is caused either to the public or to the offenders employer, employees or family and depending upon the degree of hardship, hardship to persons other than the offender may be more readily regarded as Exceptional Hardship than hardship to the offender himself.

If an argument of Exceptional Hardship is successful, then the effect is that the motorist will retain their licence.

Limits to the application

The endorsement of further penalty points will lead to automatic disqualification as an Exceptional Hardship application based on those same reasons can only be argued once in three years

It should also be noted that an argument of Exceptional Hardship cannot be advanced as a way of avoiding disqualification following conviction for offences where disqualification is automatic upon conviction, such as drink driving or dangerous driving.