The Law

All those who have 12 penalty points endorsed on their driving licences for offences committed within 3 years of each other are liable to be disqualified for a minimum of 6 months ie a penalty points disqualification.  However, if it can be established that such a ban would cause ‘exceptional hardship’ then the courts have the discretion to impose a shorter ban or even no ban at all.

In Practice what considerations do the courts take into account?

Most people in this position do lose their licences for 6 months despite contesting matters in court.  However, if a motorist is able to give evidence persuasively that he, or others dependent on him, would suffer from ‘exceptional hardship’ then the court might not impose a ban.  The situation motorists often face is loss of job and consequent suffering by dependents (such as a partner and children). Beware, this is not an unusual situation and so the courts often rule that this does not amount to ‘exceptional hardship’ (as it is common).

So, what is the best way to save one’s licence?

Careful analysis and preparation of the defence case can be critical to the prospects of success. Steve Coogan would have had access to excellent legal advice from motoring offence solicitors so should have been aware of precisely which points to make and how best to evidence them.  He would have needed to have understood this personally (rather than just relying on his lawyers) as the courts usually require the motorist personally to give evidence and be questioned on oath in open court (even though the lawyer would usually make a closing speech to the court to impress upon the Magistrates just how much suffering would be caused if a disqualification were imposed).

Conclusion

If you have had 12 (or more) penalty points endorsed upon your driving licence and cannot afford to be disqualified don’t give up hope without looking into this legal loophole first.

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