Too many penalty points

In an age of speed cameras and ever tighter regulation there are few drivers who can boast that they have never had penalty points on their driving licence.

Anybody who drives thousands of miles each year is almost bound to collect the occasional fixed penalty. It’s surprising how many people find that traffic offences are like the London buses – none for ages and then two or three come along at about the same time.

Penalty points cause two distinct types of problem:

  • Have you held a full licence for less than two years? If you get 6 points or more DVLA will write to you to say that your licence is revoked. You will have to retake your driving test.
  • If you get 12 points or more from offences committed during a 3 year period then you will have to go to court. The court must disqualify you for at least 6 months (and longer than that in some circumstances). This is sometimes called a disqualification under the “totting up” provisions.

It is, sometimes, possible to avoid these consequences. In particular, a Magistrates’ Court has the power to reduce or waive a “totting up” disqualification if it believes that the driving ban would cause the defendant “exceptional hardship”.

Our advocates have represented numerous defendants caught by these provisions and on many occasions have been able to persuade the court not to impose a disqualification.

It is vital, especially if your job and your driving licence go hand in hand, to make proper preparation for the court hearing and to make sure that your case is presented to the court in a way likely to find favour with the magistrates.


What is “exceptional hardship”?

It means hardship above and beyond that which would normally flow from a driving disqualification. There are precedents to suggest that simply losing one’s job is not enough on its own to amount to exceptional hardship. You will gather from this that satisfying the definition of exceptional hardship is not easy.

Can I get Legal Aid?

No. There may be some very rare cases where the court might be prepared to grant Legal Aid but in reality representation in these cases has to be funded privately.

Can’t I simply ask the Duty Solicitor to represent me?

No. The Duty Solicitor scheme is limited – much more so than people assume. The scheme does not extend to traffic cases.

How much will it cost me?

We provide quotes which are based on the particular circumstances of each case but in straightforward cases the price may be as little as £250 plus VAT. If you will lose your job if you are disqualified it might be the soundest investment you ever make.

I represented myself at the Magistrates’ Court and got banned for 6 months because I had too many points. Can I appeal?

Yes. You can ask for a rehearing of the case in the Crown Court. You must act quickly because your appeal must be lodged with the court within 21 days.