Special reasons / Exceptional hardship - Defences against motoring offences
If you are have been charged, or are likely to be charged with a motoring offence, contact us to speak to one of our specialist motoring offences solicitors who will assess your case and advise you on a possible defence.
Contrary to popular belief it is possible to mount a successful defence against motoring offence charges and it may be possible to avoid disqualification in cases where this would cause exceptional hardship, or where special reasons can be shown in mitigation.
Many motoring offences may lead to a discretionary or mandatory disqualification from driving. Even if the offence is less serious it could lead to a mandatory ban because of the totting up effect of having received a total of 12 points within a 3 year period.
In these cases the courts will order a driving ban unless either special reasons apply or exceptional hardship can be shown.
Special reasons are effectively a plea of mitigation. A special reason means that although you have committed the offence you are asking for mitigating circumstances to be taken into account to reduce the penalty imposed by the courts.
Special reasons can be used to try and reduce the penalty imposed in a number of motoring offences, including:
- Drink driving
- Driving without insurance
- Driving through a red traffic light
The type of mitigating circumstance which the courts will take into account can be almost anything as long as convincing evidence can be shown that the reason is special to the offence and not to the person involved.
Some examples of special reasons are:
- Being able to show that drink driving was a result of drinks being spiked
- Driving someone to hospital while over the alcohol limit
- Speeding to rescue someone from danger
Many of these defences will require the driver to show that there was no suitable alternative to them committing the offence. This type of defence can be complex and will require an experienced solicitor to deal with it. Contact us now to speak to one of our motoring offences solicitors.
Under the totting up rules, if you receive 12 or more penalty points within a 3 year period you will receive a mandatory driving disqualification. In limited circumstances it may be possible for the courts not to impose a ban if this would cause ‘exceptional hardship’.
The courts accept that in most cases the imposition of a driving ban will cause hardship. To mount a suitable defence you will need to convince them that in your case this level of hardship would be exceptional.
Exceptional hardship has no statutory definition in case law and it will be at the discretion of the courts to decide if your circumstances warrant leniency. In effect it can mean a level of hardship that will also impact on innocent parties. Some examples of what may constitute exceptional hardship include:
- Loss of a job will not normally in itself qualify as exceptional hardship unless a convincing case can be put that the impact would be so exceptional as to warrant leniency
- An impact on a dependent or family member who has a disability or serious health problem and who relies on the driver for mobility
- A risk to the employment of others whose jobs could be put at risk by the disqualification of the driver. For example a business owner or key employee whose disqualification could severely impact the running of a company
It is essential to have an experienced solicitor working on your case. Showing exceptional hardship is involved and complex and requires a great deal of skill. Our motoring offences solicitors have the knowledge and experience to give you the highest possible opportunity of a favourable outcome. Contact us for more advice.