Why 62 Penalty Points Does Not Always Mean A Ban
The Law Of… pleading exceptional hardship
It has emerged that a driver who has racked up 62 penalty points through speeding is still driving. Patrick Campbell, a Motoring Offences Solicitor with Simpson Millar, explains why the driver's actions are completely legal.
It's generally thought that if you admit to speeding, accept penalty points, and clock up 12 or more of these endorsements in the space of 3 years, you will get disqualified. But that isn't always the case, as the story regarding the driver with 62 points on his licence goes to show.
Although little is known of the details behind this particular case, beyond the eye-catching 62 penalty points headline, the reason the driver remains legally entitled to sit at the wheel without fear of arrest will be down to something called an exceptional hardship plea.
What Is An Exceptional Hardship Plea?
Exceptional hardship is a defence that can prevent you losing your licence if you fall foul of the totting up rules. This is needed when your accrued (totted up) penalty points for alleged motoring offences hits the 12 or above mark within a 3 year timeframe, resulting in what would usually be an automatic disqualification. The ban can be avoided though, if you have an expert motoring offences solicitor on hand to plead exceptional hardship on your behalf.
The plea will spell out to the court why disqualification will result in a level of hardship for you or affected third parties that goes beyond the realms of what is reasonable. It is a call for leniency in sentencing and, if successfully argued, can ensure you remain on the road.
An exceptional hardship plea can be applied more than once in mitigation within the space of 3 years so long as the same argument is not reused. It is not permissible for offences related to drink or drugs, death by dangerous driving, or any other offence which carries an obligatory ban.
"The driver in this case would almost certainly have had an exceptional hardship plea accepted to allow him or her to remain driving, which would have been different to any previously used argument. It is an important part of mitigation, ensuring drivers who are to receive the mandatory endorsement aren't punished disproportionately for what might be a moment's mistake."
"It is important to prove that the consequences will have a seriously adverse effect on the driver and, where relevant, third parties such as their families (e.g. elderly relatives or children), as no court desires to penalise the innocent where avoidable. That said, an exceptional hardship plea has to be something more than simply losing a job, as this would be regarded as an effective deterrent against repeating the offences once the ban had run its course."
"This underlines the need for effective legal representation in instances where a ban is otherwise inevitable and a case for exceptional hardship needs to be made. A motoring offence expert will know which arguments find favour with the Magistrates and where to focus the mitigation and evidence, increasing the chance of avoiding a ban."
If you are facing disqualification as a result of totting up 12 or more penalty points, seek legal representation from a specialist motoring defence solicitor with experience in handling similar cases. A successful plea could see your penalty reduced to additional points or a shorter ban.