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Penalty Points Disqualification Case Study

Introduction

Jeff had two recent speeding convictions which had resulted in 6 and then a further 3 penalty points being endorsed on his record. He had then been caught speeding at 75mph in a 50mph limit. He knew that if penalty points were endorsed upon his driving licence for the latest offence he would then face a penalty points disqualification and, very probably, a 6 month ban. He needed his licence for his job. What could be done?

Jeff’s next step

Jeff rang Kent Traffic Law and, based on his initial, brief account was told that he probably would not succeed in an ‘exceptional hardship’ submission (which is necessary if one is to avoid a penalty points disqualification having had 12 or more points endorsed on one’s licence). It should be borne in mind that in an initial call clients are given ‘provisional guidance’ rather than formal legal advice (as this can only be given once detailed instructions have been taken). Jeff did not want to give up his licence without at least checking whether anything could be done and so he booked a formal consultation.

The Consultation

Detailed instructions were taken from Jeff on the offence itself, and on his work and general background. Jeff’s children had long since left the marital home. He had paid off his mortgage and lived with his wife who had her own job. Jeff, however, had to drive 50 miles to work to do shift work. It was a requirement of his job that he should have a full licence so that, if necessary, he could attend at short notice in emergency situations.

The Law

Jeff was advised that the courts often take the view that if it is only the Defendant and his immediate family that would suffer from a 6 month ban, even it it means loss of job, that they wouldn’t usually find ‘exceptional hardship’ in such cases (as it is in fact very common that people who lose their licences lose their jobs; thus it is unlikely that such cases could be considered as causing ‘exceptional hardship’.) However, Jeff was also told that there was a chance that the courts would consider imposing an immediate, short ban rather than ordering the endorsement of points. This would mean that he would remain on 9 points only and that the minimum tariff ban of 6 months would not apply.

At Court

Jeff had been advised to take certain steps in advance of his court date in order to make his mitigation stronger.  On his behalf it was conceded at the outset that loss of licence, even for 6 months, would not cause ‘exceptional hardship’.  Instead, a submission was made that an immediate, relatively short ban rather than the endorsement of points should be ordered. Unusually, this was accepted by the court.  Jeff was thrilled as his ban was only 21 days long! This meant that he could keep his job.  He said,

‘I have had the stress of this day hanging over me for 8 months.  I could not have hoped for a better result.  Without your case preparation and experience I could not have obtained such a lenient outcome.’

Conclusion

Jeff had been very fortunate that the court agreed not to endorse points but simply to impose an immediate ban which meant that the current penalty points remained on his licence but that the 6 month minimum tariff ban did not apply. The reader should be aware that, although the defence sought this outcome, that the odds of achieving it were relatively low as the courts usually order the endorsement of points in such a situation meaning that a 6 month tariff ban can usually only be avoided if ‘exceptional hardship’ is made out.

So, if you fear the endorsement of points and a 6 months penalty points disqualification because your case for submitting ‘exceptional hardship’ is weak, this does not necessarily mean there is no hope of ‘winning’ your case. It might still be possible to persuade the court to impose a much shorter ban instead. If you would like to speak to us, without obligation, to make a provisional assessment of your prospects don’t hesitate to call.

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