If you accrue 12 points or more within any 3-year period you will be subject to the totting up provisions of the Road Traffic Offender’s Act 1988. These provisions require the court to impose a minimum 6-month disqualification from driving. However, if you are facing a totting-up disqualification it is possible to put forward a case for exceptional hardship. This involves running a proof with a view to satisfying the court that exceptional hardship will be caused to others if a totting-up disqualification is imposed. In these proceedings the word ‘exceptional’ is key. It is not enough that some form of hardship may be caused. The hardship must be ‘exceptional’ and it has long been the view of the courts that the hardship must extend to others and not just the accused.
The many grounds for arguing exceptional hardship are varied and complex. You may find yourself faced with inevitable loss of employment as a consequence of a disqualification from driving. If you are in charge of other employees who will be in danger of losing their jobs as a direct result then exceptional hardship can be established. Also if your family members are likely to face exceptional hardship due to your loss of employment then hardship can be established. Exceptional hardship can also be based on other individuals dependant on your ability to drive for their quality of life to be maintained. People with disabilities or particularly frail elderly relatives can be a basis for such a line of argument.
If the court finds exceptional hardship established your licence will still be endorsed with penalty points but the court will refrain from disqualification. You will thereafter have to drive with the utmost care, as any further points will result in disqualification. This is especially so as once exceptional hardship has been established an accused is barred from putting forward an argument on the same grounds for 3 years. Exceptional hardship proofs are one of the many ways we save our clients’ licences on a regular basis.