Motoring Offences – Special Reasons or Exceptional Hardship – Which One Applies to Me?
When are Special Reasons or Exceptional Hardship relevant?
If you have committed an offence carrying penalty points you may be able to use one or both of these arguments before the Court.
You must plead Guilty to the offence for either of these arguments to be relevant.
What is a Special Reasons Argument?
Special Reasons goes to the offence. Simply: ‘I did commit this offence, but it was because…..’
The reason given must be sufficiently special, this can be a difficult bar to reach, so make sure you seek specialist legal assistance.
The most common special reasons are:
- Spiked drink
- Medical Emergency
- Fear for life
- Mechanical Failure
What are the outcomes from a Special Reasons argument?
If special reasons are found, the Court has the discretion to impose no penalty points, or where there is a mandatory disqualification, the Court can impose penalty points to avoid imposing the disqualification.
What is an Exceptional Hardship Application?
Exceptional Hardship goes to the offender; ‘I shouldn’t be disqualified because….’. Exceptional hardship can be argued if a motorist has accrued 12 or more penalty points in 3 years.
It is important to seek legal advice as the threshold must be ‘exceptional’ rather than merely hardship.
Without an exceptional hardship application, if you receive 12 or more points you will receive a mandatory disqualification of 6 months for the first disqualification. If you have previously been disqualified, the disqualification is for 12 months.
What are the outcomes from an Exceptional Hardship application?
There are two outcomes to a successful exceptional hardship application:
- No disqualification. This means that the penalty points remain on your licence until they come off. You will be able to continue driving with 12 or more penalty points on your licence.
- A short period of disqualification. A short period of disqualification can be as little as 1 day. Once the period of disqualification is complete, your licence is ‘wiped clean’ and you begin again with no penalty points from the date the disqualification ends.
SBC Motoring Law have successfully argued Special Reasons and Exceptional Hardship on numerous occasions – see https://www.sbcmotoringlaw.co.uk/recent-cases/ If you think that this might apply to your case then call our specialist lawyers for a free initial consultation.