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Totting Up or Penalty Points Disqualifications – A Case Study

totting up

The Rule

It is the law that anyone who accumulates 12 or more relevant penalty points on their driving licence is liable to a ‘totting up’ disqualification. This ordinarily means disqualification from driving for a minimum of 6 months. The extent of the suffering that flows from loss of driving licence varies from person to person. Everyone would suffer inconvenience but some would suffer much more than others. The starting point in every such case is for the motorist to quantify just how much suffering loss of licence would cause and to whom.

Exceptional Hardship

The law provides an exception to the general rule ie anyone who can prove that he/she would suffer from ‘exceptional hardship’ will normally avoid a ban (or, at least, a ban of such length). However, the burden of proof is on the Defence ie the motorist has to go to court and prove, by giving evidence on oath, that he/she would suffer exceptional hardship. Consequently, the case has to be prepared as a mini trial so that the client is ready for giving evidence on oath (including being questioned by the prosecution in open court).

The Client

The client in this example was petrified that she would lose her licence and that this would have grave consequences for her and her family. She lived in a rural location and both of her daughters had special educational needs. Each had to be driven to and from specialist schools. Neither attended for the usual full school day. Each had to be taken to the main city for medical and other appointments. The client herself had recently taken on a role in a company that involved driving.

The Contention

The Defence had to gather evidence of all of the above-mentioned matters and evidence of the consequences of loss of licence (not just to the client but to her family). With regard to her work evidence had to be obtained of the impact upon others involved with her work. The contention put forward was that loss of licence would cause grave suffering and that innocent people (such as her daughters and colleagues at work) would also suffer.


Fortunately the court found that exceptional hardship would flow from a totting up disqualification. The Defendant was not disqualified. She was ‘mighty’ relieved to keep her licence.

All such cases benefit from expert analysis of the issues and thorough preparation for the court hearing. Motorists often assume that if they require their licence for their job that a court will find in their favour. Although the court will often take this into account it is far from a determinative factor and such cases can be easily lost.

If you are at risk of loss of licence through a totting up disqualification and you would like the benefit of expert preparation and presentation of your case in court then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Request A Telephone Review (at no cost to you)​

2 thoughts on “Totting Up or Penalty Points Disqualifications – A Case Study”

  1. Hello, Sunril. I, have, read this, and I do understand the Woman needed her licence for her special need children. I, need my licence ti save my career, my home, my car, my out of hours life visiting, family, and close friends. My Career. Without my employment I shall have no proper funds to pay my monthly outgoings. Without my home, that I pay monthly rent payments. Where, my landlord does not except unemployed persons. So, I shall not have a place ti live. Without my car that I pay monthly payments on. I, shall not be able to visit my family, and close friends. I would gladly take the slap on the wrist if I was going faster than 35 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone. Especially, where the road behind me was a 60 miles per hour limit. Reducing my speed to 30. On, this occasion I obviously over read the signs. Whether, through tiredness or lack of concentration at the time. I, am a courier Driver. I, have driven over 10 years all over Europe, and the UK. Managing, to keep my licence clean. Until last year 2021 where on 5 occasions I managed to accumulate so many minor speeding tickets. I, drive the motorways 5 days a week and have to put up with speeding motorists not giving the slightest interest in other law abiding drivers. Mainly these speeding Motorist are the cause if so much destruction on our Motorways. Causing death, pain, and chaos to every road user. You, can not even overtake slow moving vehicles because of them. I place my vehicle on a 70mph limiter ie speed control, most of the time to prevent me going over the speed limits. Although on the occasions of my speed camera tickets I had not git my vehicle on my speed limiter. I, await your call tomorrow in respect of the above matter. Yours sincerely Graham Smith.

    1. Dear Graham,
      It is heartbreaking to read about just how costly loss of licence would be for many ordinary people; Job, home, family life and more can all be horrendously affected by loss of licence resulting in loss of job and career. What the court won’t take into account are some of the points you make above such as that others exceed the speed limit by far more and it is those people who cause most risk. When you are liable to a penalty points disqualification it matters not how the tally of points is accumulated. Points for only just exceeding a limit count just as much as points for grossly exceeding a limit (although, of course, you might get more points for the latter). I know that by the time I am responding to you we have already spoken at length. Thank you for your comment.

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