Should Wealth Affect Your Defence?


Recently a high-profile international rugby star was caught speeding – driving at 36mph in a 30mph zone. Maybe not the greatest motoring offence, but one that is certainly against the law.

The wealthy can't get away with speeding

Speeding Adds To A 'Totting Up'

However, this story unfolds further - the Welsh star already had 9 points on his licence, meaning that this latest offence could lead to him with a driving ban due to 'totting-up' (having 12 points in total). He had appealed not to have his licence taken away as this would place great strain on his wife and parents who would have to pick up the slack.

He was allegedly told by magistrates that due to his large professional rugby salary, private transport should not be a problem.

"You Can Afford It"

This case demonstrates the difficulties, and prejudice, that a wealthy motorist can face when they come before the Court for totting up and when they wish to argue against the imposition of a driving disqualification. The totting up legislation is designed to only allow those with exceptional hardship to avoid a disqualification and therefore if the Court believes that mere inconvenience will be caused by a driving ban any exceptional hardship application will be thwarted.

Often, Courts will assume that a person with means to pay a driver will not be caused exceptional hardship if they are banned, as they can continue to honour their employment and personal commitments due to having the services of a driver at their disposal.

This almost always overlooks the practicalities and legalities of hiring a driver where extensive travel, lengthy driving hours and overnight stays are required by the hired driver and the motorist facing the ban. In these cases, it is therefore essential that the hired-driver assumption is tackled appropriately at Court.

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