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Can I Argue Exceptional Hardship For Drink Driving?

We are often asked whether it is possible to argue Exceptional Hardship if you are charged with drink driving.


Sadly, this is not the case.


If you are charged with drink driving, and plead guilty without any Special Reasons, the court will have to disqualify you for a minimum of 12 months.


This is the case even if such a ban means you will lose your job, lose your home, be unable to see your children, or suffer any other hardship.


The court may have great sympathy for your situation, but they do not have the power to waive the disqualification penalty or replace it with an alternative penalty.


When convicted for drink driving, you will be disqualified immediately.  You will not be able to drive home from court.


This is why it is so important to make sure that you discover any drink driving defences that may in fact protect your licence.


Do You Have A Drink Driving Defence?


Drink Driving Defences can include:


  • Incorrect procedure followed by police officers
  • Inadmissible evidence
  • Post-driving alcohol consumption
  • Medical conditions
  • Incorrect storage and treatment of your evidential sample


When Can I Argue Exceptional Hardship?


Exceptional Hardship is available to avoid a ban in cases of totting up, where you will reach or exceed 12 penalty points and are at risk of a 6 month ban.  In these cases, successfully arguing Exceptional Hardship can allow you to avoid the ban.


If you are at risk of losing your licence, call us now on 01623 600645. 


Why Did Drink Driving Rita Plead Guilty on the Day of Trial?

Why Did Rita Plead Guilty On The Day of Trial?


One of the nation’s favourite sweethearts, Barbara Knox (AKA Rita from Coronation Street) recently appeared in court charged with drink driving. She received a 12 month ban – the minimum possible! – and financial penalties approaching £5,000.


It might sound like a good result from a hot-shot lawyer, until you examine it in more detail.


Ms Knox was charged with a blood alcohol reading of 85mg. The legal limit is 80mg.


Most respectable solicitors would expect to be able to secure a minimum ban for a client with such a reading, especially an elderly woman of previous good character who had only maneuvered within a car park before being stopped by police.


What is interesting about Ms Knox’s case is that she pleaded not guilty initially, and the case has dragged on for almost a year. If she’d pleaded not guilty at the initial hearing in 2014, she would have almost finished serving her ban now.


Instead, she entered a not guilty plea, struck up an expected tens of thousands of pounds on legal fees, and then changed her plea to guilty just weeks before her trial date.


The question being asked in the Forrest Williams office as we read this news story, is why did she change her mind?


It’s a serious point that is worth discussing.


There are many reasons why a person may decide to change their mind and plead guilty.


A key witness may refuse to be involved and assist with the case. The stress of the upcoming trial may prove too much for a person to deal with.


Here at Forrest Williams we even had a client receive an offer of work abroad just before their trial date, meaning they’d rather plead guilty and have the case finalized than go through with the stress of a trial, when they didn’t really need their licence any more anyway.


There is another scenario, however, that we know happens too often.


A client is advised by his solicitor to plead not guilty. They are assured that the firm win 99% of all trials. They feel confident, happy, trusting. And then a few weeks before the trial date, they are advised that they are sadly the 1% who do not have grounds to plead not guilty. They are advised to change their plea.


They have spent thousands of pounds on a defence that does not exist, they have lost the good will of the court by forfeiting their opportunity to enter an early guilty plea, and they have delayed an inevitable ban.


We know the firm who represented Ms Knox and know that they do not operate this way, but not all firms are as honest.


Here at Forrest Williams, we always give clients an honest assessment of their case. Clients who have no grounds to plead not guilty are told this, even when it isn’t what they want to hear.


For a free initial telephone consultation about your own drink driving case, call us now on 01623 600645.

Under-age Drink Driving Solicitors

drink driving solicitors


Teenage Drink-Driving


In a recent review of Hampshire’s drink-driving statistics, it has been revealed that a rather significant and surprising number of offenders were under the age of 18.


In Hampshire, it was discovered that between 2008 and 2013, there were 276 underage drink-drivers caught, and of those, 74 of them were under the age of 16. It has been described by various children’s charities as ‘terrifying’.


The worst area in the country affected by underage drink-driving was Greater Manchester with a staggering 409 under-18s being arrested for drink-driving.


The youngest offender of this crime was, shockingly, aged only 11, from the Thames Valley area.


Marolin Watson, from the charity Hope UK, which provides drug and alcohol training and advice to children, said: “Children who drink are endangering their health and setting themselves up for early liver disease, with all its very unpleasant consequences.”


A lot of people don’t understand that you can be banned from driving even before you have passed your test. The penalties for drink driving differ for people under 18 but the disqualification remains the same. The penalties will depend on whether you have any previous offences of any nature but the threat of prison can remain in certain circumstances.


Even if you are underage and don’t have a licence you can also argue special reasons for not being disqualified, see our Special Reasons page.


For details on how we can help mitigate any penalty see our Drink Driving home page –





We are grateful to Alex Moore, who recently joined us for work experience, for this blog post.


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