As a general rule, the Courts will punish high excess speeding offences with instant disqualifications. Also, any driver reaching 12 penalty points within 3 years would face a 6 month disqualification under the “totting up” procedure. The mandatory guideline is that under the “totting up” procedure, a 6 month disqualification should be imposed but when the licence is returned, the slate is wiped clean and the points removed.
Other offences, such as drink driving, dangerous driving etc also carry mandatory disqualification periods.
Driving Law are experienced at arguing that special circumstances exist in the particular case of the motorist so that the Court’s discretion, where it applies, should be exercised to allow even totters with 12 points or more to keep their licence. The Court is required to disqualify totters unless “exceptional hardship” circumstances apply.
The exclusion of “, other than exceptional hardship” as an argument against disqualification is contained in section 35(4)(b) of the 1988 Road Traffic Offend hardshipers Act. Almost every order of disqualification entails hardship for the person disqualified and it is for the Courts to interpret this phrase. Exceptional hardship is a matter of fact and degree in each particular case and has been held by the Courts to be something “out of the ordinary”. The Court is allowed to take into consideration exceptional hardship to the driver and also other people affected by the disqualification such as children and spouses. Other factors include loss of employment (but this often not enough without further evidence of exceptional hardship), finances, prospects, family circumstances. The list is exhausted only by the facts of a particular case. Because the discretion of the Court is so wide and inevitably a little unpredictable, it is important that your arguments are presented properly to persuade the Court of its merits.
Case preparation to ensure that you are demonstrating that you have met the legal criteria for exceptional hardship is all important in these types of cases.