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What to do if you're at risk of being disqualified from driving

View profile for Laura Leech
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At risk of disqualification from driving? Let Laura Leech explain:

The courts have various powers to impose disqualifications of varying lengths on drivers following their involvement in a criminal offence. Not many people know that in some circumstances a disqualification could be avoided altogether or reduced in length by making legal arguments to the magistrates’ court. 

Depending on the circumstances of your case, Fieldings Porter may be able to assist in avoiding a disqualification on your behalf.

There are two distinct types of applications that can be made to the court and which application to pursue will depend on your personal circumstances.   

The first application is a “special reasons” application.  The special reason to avoid/reduce a period of disqualification must be directly connected with the commission of the offence.  It must be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance; it should not amount in law to a defence to the charge and be a reason which the court ought properly to take into consideration when imposing sentence.   For example, driving over the limit in an emergency situation or driving whilst unknowingly uninsured at no fault of your own.

The second argument is “exceptional hardship” and this application can be made on behalf of people who would exceed the maximum 12 points on their driving licence within a 3 year period under the “totting up” provisions and where exceptional hardship would be suffered as a result of the disqualification. The key to this argument succeeding is whether the hardship is exceptional and a common example of this is where a loss of employment would follow and this would have adversarial consequences on third parties such spouses and children.

No two cases are the same and there is no blanket approach to advising whether there are grounds and merits on pursuing an application. It is therefore important that legal advice is obtained at the outset of any court proceedings. 

The criminal team at Fieldings Porter can investigate the circumstances of your case, advise you what, if any, application should be made to the court on your behalf and conduct those applications.

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