Special Reasons - Motoring Offences

Under certain circumstances it may be possible to avoid a compulsory driving disqualification or penalty points on your licence. There may be special reasons as to why the court should make an exception in your case. Without the right legal representation, the chances of success using special reasons can be greatly reduced.

The law and special reasons

Under this law, a legal procedure known as a special reasons hearing will take place. Here you can present your circumstances in an attempt to avoid penalty points or a disqualification.

Special reasons can be argued for any motoring offence, if applicable. Even in cases where you have been accused of drink driving or failing to provide a specimen (where the conviction is a mandatory qualification), you can still put forward special reasons to mitigate your case.

In cases such as these, the court would be able to use their discretion to impose either 3-11 penalty points or a shorter disqualification than is normally imposed.

A special reason is different to exceptional hardship. Special reasons are specific to your case and can be argued after a conviction or a guilty plea. The special reason does not relate to you but the unique circumstances of your alleged offence.

The court has in the past decided what DOES NOT constitute a special reason such as:

  • Loss of employment or your home
  • Financial hardship
  • A clean driving history and good character

Seeking legal advice when you're charged or summonsed with an offence is the best way to ascertain if there are special reasons in the law that apply to your circumstances. If the court then decides that special reasons have played a part, then they can choose to not disqualify you in cases that carry a mandatory disqualification or impose no penalty points in circumstances where the offence carried points.

What are special reasons?

Recognised special reasons include:

  • Shortness of distance
  • Being misled by an insurance company
  • An emergency
  • Laced drinks

Although this is not an exhaustive list, the court will follow strict criteria to ascertain if special reasons are involved in a case. The special reason must:

  • Be a mitigating to extenuating circumstance
  • Not amount in law to a defence to the offence for which you have been charged or summonsed to Court
  • Be directly connected with the offence you have been accused of
  • Be something the court can properly consider when it decides which punishment is the most appropriate for your case

What we can do for you

Successfully arguing special reasons can be difficult, especially when those special reasons need to be proven by facts and reference to the relevant case law. Knowing the intricacies of the law relating to special reasons is something your solicitor can explain to you whilst determining what special reasons apply to you.

Don't just accept a disqualification or penalty points when special reasons may apply to your case. Speak to a specialist motoring solicitor to find out the ways we can help you so protect your licence.


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Julie Robertson - Motoring Offences and Criminal Defence Solicitor - Manchester

Julie Robertson
Partner, Head of Motoring & Criminal Defences

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