When you get 12 points on your driving licence then the court has to disqualify you for 6 months unless it would cause exceptional hardship.
But what counts as exceptional hardship?
As a motoring solicitor this is one of the most common enquires I get.
With all of the speed cameras around these days it is a surprise anyone has a licence. Get caught 4 times within 3 years and you are on a minimum of 12 points. With Government proposals to increase the fixed penalty for some speeding to 6 points you could be on 12 points by breaking the speed limit twice.
The effect of losing your licence can be devastating, you could lose your job, your livelihood and all that goes with it. It’s hard enough to get a job these days but without a licence it can be almost impossible.
So how do you go about avoiding a disqualification?
You will need to show the court that you will suffer exceptional hardship. This is not just your run of the mill hardship it has to be exceptional! Basically the court expects people to suffer hardship when they lose their licence. That’s part of the punishment. You will have to show that you have suffered over and above what is normally expected.
Losing your job isn’t necessarily enough, you need to show the court that this will have a dramatic effect on your, or your families finances. If you work part time and your partner’s income is enough to cover all of the bills etc then you will probably not establish exceptional hardship. If you live at home with your parents it will be difficult.
There are no hard and fast rules as to what is exceptional hardship, there are no definitions or case law to follow. Each case is dealt with on its own merits. I have seen lots of people presenting their own case and completely missing the point and losing, even though they have a very good case.
You need to be prepared, you will probably only get one shot at this, the court will not adjourn it just because you are missing some information. Get it wrong first time and you are catching the bus home from court.
It’s not enough to say you will lose your job, where is your evidence that you will?
The court won’t just accept that you can’t get to work on the bus, have you looked into it? Have you worked out the cost of taxis? Have you checked the bus timetables?
The courts are generally reluctant to allow people to keep their licence unless there is a real good reason.
An experienced motoring solicitor will know what documents you need to present your case, he or she will know what points the court will accept and what points they consider irrelevant (and what points will simply wind them up)
Losing your job isn’t the only exceptional hardship the court will take into account, they may look at other instances. They might take into account what effect this will have on other people, so think – who relies upon your driving? It’s not enough to say you need the car to get to Asda once a week but there are some things that the court will be prepared to consider.
The list of things that might amount to exceptional hardship is never closed and a good motoring solicitor will be able to explore all possible avenues to see if there is anything that will convince the court to let you keep your licence.
How do you go about it? You will need to give evidence on oath. Check with the court beforehand that there is time to to hear an exceptional hardship application, they may not have set aside enough time on the first hearing and you will have had a wasted trip. Ring up, ask to speak to listings and tell them what you want to do and ask if they can do it on the day. Worst case scenario it gets adjourned and you get to keep your licence for a few days longer.
After you have pleaded guilty you need to tell the legal advisor that you want to make an exceptional hardship application, you will then be asked to go into the witness box and take the oath. After you have given evidence the prosecutor will cross examine you and pull your case apart so make sure it is water tight and you can back it up. Once you have been cross examined you will then need to make the application to the court.
Should I get a motoring lawyer to represent me? Consider what you have to lose and decide whether a lawyer is a good investment. I have seen so many people get it wrong. It is an area where you would benefit from the experience of a motoring solicitor. I offer 2 services, either prepare the case for you. Get all the documentation and advise you how to present the case or do all of that and attend court on your behalf.Tags: exceptional hardship