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Penalty Points / 'Totting Up' / Exceptional Hardship

If you acquire 12 or more penalty points on your licence over a three year period then you can be disqualified from driving under the 'totting up' provisions normally resulting in a driving ban of at least six months. If this is the case then the minimum periods of disqualification are as follows:

  • 6 months if no previous disqualification is to be taken into account
  • 1 year if one previous disqualification of at least 56 days has taken place within the last three years immediately preceding the date of this offence
  • 2 years if more than one previous disqualification of at least 56 days has taken place within the last three years immediately preceding the date of this offence

However, you may be able to avoid having penalty points imposed in the first place by arguing special reasons with the help of one of our solicitors.

Exceptional Hardship
"We have over a 98% case win success rate"

If you face a possible driving ban under the above "totting up" provisions then our specialist motoring solicitors may still be able to help you to keep your driving licence or persuade the court to impose a shorter disqualification period by arguing 'exceptional hardship'. Almost every order of disqualification entails hardship for the person disqualified. For hardship to be “exceptional” it must be more than is normally suffered.

Loss of employment will be an inevitable consequence of a driving ban for many people nowadays. For the purposes of “exceptional hardship” loss of a job by itself is unlikely to satisfy the “exceptional” test.

Our road traffic solicitors successfully put forward quality exceptional hardship arguments in Magistrates Court throughout the South West including Bath, Bristol, Chippenham, Swindon, Stroud, Salisbury, Taunton, Weston Super Mare, Yeovil, Cardiff, Newport, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Reading, Winchester, Basingstoke, Oxford, Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Poole and Exeter. Our specialist motoring solicitors have a very high success rate at “exceptional hardship” arguments for the following reasons:

  • We take detailed instructions from our clients so that we can decide on the best arguments to put before the court.
  • We acknowledge that “hardship” is not confined to the hardship that the disqualification will cause to the person fighting to keep their driving licence. The court is more likely to be sympathetic to hardship arguments concerning innocent parties rather than the person facing disqualification and therefore our solicitors emphasise the potential difficulties facing such people. For instance where someone will lose their job if disqualified this will often have an effect on that person’s work colleagues, or employees, partner and children.
  • Our specialist solicitors believe that it is very important to back each point that is made before the Magistrates court in an “exceptional hardship” hearing by documentation if possible. This could be, for example, a letter from the client’s employer to say that the person will lose their job if they are disqualified and the repercussions for that business. Our experienced barristers and solicitors are in the habit of passing up such documentation at the start of a hearing and then referring to the documents in question during the hearing itself. We aim for between three and five documents to be passed to the Magistrates in any one “exceptional hardship” hearing.
  • Our motoring solicitors will explain the Magistrates’ Court procedure in detail to our clients, giving quality advice, so that they are totally familiar with what will be required of them before the hearing even takes place.
  • During an “exceptional hardship” argument the person trying to keep their driving licence will have to give sworn evidence. If that person has no solicitor before the court then most of the hearing will normally be taken up with the prosecutor asking them questions. If you use our specialist solicitors then the “exceptional hardship” hearing will start with one of our skilled barristers or solicitors asking you questions in such a way as to emphasise to the Magistrates the strength of your arguments. Often we find that our barristers and solicitors are so comprehensive that they leave very little questions for the prosecutor to ask.

It should be noted that an exceptional hardship argument based on the same facts can only be used once in a three year period.

New Drivers

If you are within the first two years of passing a driving test for the first time and you accumulate six or more penalty points including any penalty points that are still active that were imposed whilst holding a provisional driving licence or before any licence has been held then you will automatically have your full driving licence revoked. You will have to pass your driving test again in order to once more obtain a full driving licence. Our specialist solicitors can help by seeing if there is a defence or special reason so that you avoid reaching the six penalty points in the first place. If there is no defence or special reason often our expert motoring solicitors can give quality help by persuading the Magistrates to exercise their discretion to disqualify and to impose a short ban rather than imposing penalty points so that the six penalty point threshold is never reached.



Representing clients throughout the South West at locations including:
Bath l Bristol l Chippenham l Swindon l Stroud l Salisbury
Taunton l Weston-Super-Mare l Yeovil l Cardiff l Newport l Gloucester l Cheltenham Reading l Winchester l Basingstoke l Oxford l Southampton l Portsmouth
Bournemouth l Poole l Exeter