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  • Writer's pictureLeah Hester

Totting Up? How to Fight the Ban.


Road Traffic Offences

Reaching or exceeding 12 points on your driving licence will land you with a court hearing and an immediate ban of at least 6 months.


For most people, the prospect of a ban is devastating and could result in the loss of their job or business, difficulties caring for children or vulnerable, elderly relatives and restricted mobility due to ill health.


However, in certain circumstances, individuals may be able to avoid disqualification by presenting a legal argument known as Exceptional Hardship. At LMP Legal Limited, our team of highly experienced motor lawyers are committed to helping our clients stay on the road.



Understanding the Totting Disqualification:


Under Section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act (RTOA) 1988, a totting disqualification arises when a driver accumulates 12 or more penalty points on their license within a three-year period.


This scenario often leads to an automatic disqualification from driving for a fixed term as mandated by the law and a minimum of 6 months. The duration of the disqualification usually depends on the number of penalty points accrued and whether the offender has any previous disqualifications in the last three years.


Instructing a qualified and specialist motor offence lawyer will increase the chances of advancing a compelling case to avoid the ban.



The Exceptional Hardship Application:


Exceptional Hardship means suffering beyond what is deemed appropriate or proportionate. It is not enough for an accused to say that losing their licence will make them suffer, even if that means losing their job and income. The law assumes that disqualification will entail hardship as that is the deterrent objective of the provisions combined with the preventative effect of the order not to drive.


The law does not specify what amounts to exceptional hardship; however, The Sentencing Council sets the following guidelines:


  • It is for the offender to prove to the civil standard of proof that such grounds exist. Other than very exceptionally, this will require evidence from the offender, and where such evidence is given, it must be sworn.

  • Where it is asserted that hardship would be caused, the court must be satisfied that it is not merely inconvenience, or hardship, but exceptional hardship for which the court must have evidence.

To present the argument, evidence must be provided such as witness statements and character references, business accounts and financial statements. Further, the accused is usually expected to testify in court and answer questions.


If you believe that you or anyone else would suffer more than could be reasonably expected if you were to be disqualified for 6 months, we can assist you by guiding you through the intricacies of the legal argument and help you gather the information you will need.


Following an exceptional hardship application, the court will consider the individual’s circumstances and the impact that disqualification would have on them, their family and others. If the court is satisfied that a ban would cause exceptional hardship, the penalty points will be imposed on your licence but you would still be able to continue to drive.


Incidentally, you cannot argue exceptional hardship for disqualifications for offences such as drink or drug driving or dangerous driving. The exceptional hardship route is only available for totting bans.



What you should do:


1. Seek Legal Assistance

As soon as you receive a Notice or Summons, you should seek immediate professional legal advice. Our road traffic lawyers specialise in handling exceptional hardship applications, providing valuable expertise and the guidance required to present a compelling case.


2. Gather Evidence

It is essential to gather compelling evidence that proves how the disqualification would lead to exceptional hardship. We can assist you in gathering the documentation you will need to explain the ramifications that losing your licence will cause.

 

3. Understand the Court's Perspective

Courts generally assess exceptional hardship based on the unique circumstances of each case. To maximise the chances of success, our experience means that we are aware of the court's perspective and can tailor our client’s applications accordingly.


4. Presenting a Strong Case

Applicants must demonstrate genuine and exceptional hardship. It is crucial to provide clear and concise evidence to support the application. This could include highlighting the loss of employment and the negative impacts on personal life, such as caring obligations or significant financial strain.

 

 

Facing a totting disqualification can be a stressful and life-altering situation. Nevertheless, those in such circumstances should not lose hope. Advancing an exceptional hardship application can provide a lifeline, allowing individuals to retain their driving privileges if successful. By seeking professional legal advice, gathering compelling evidence, and presenting a strong case, individuals may have a chance to convince the court that the exceptional hardship they face outweighs the need for disqualification.

 

If you are facing a totting ban, it is vital to obtain specialist legal advice immediately. Please contact us for an honest and free assessment of your case and to find out how LMP Legal can help you.


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