What Happens If You Get 12 Points on Your Licence?
You can accumulate penalty points or ‘endorsements’ for a range of driving offences. These include;
A common misconception is that if you accumulate 12 penalty points on your licence, you’re automatically given a driving ban. But sometimes there are ways to save your licence. Here we give a summary of the various scenarios you could expect after getting 12 points on your license…
What is a “totting up” ban?
Our clients often ask us how many points are required before they receive a driving ban. The short answer is, if you amount 12 penalty points or more on your driving licence within a three year period, you will be known as a “totter” and banned from driving for a minimum period of six months.
12 points added to your licence but without a ban
It is possible to avoid such a ban if the magistrates come to the conclusion that you, or others you are responsible for, would suffer from ‘exceptional hardship’ if such a ban was put in place. In this case, there would be a hearing at the Magistrates' Court to establish whether this was the case, and you would need to present sworn evidence.
What qualifies as ‘exceptional hardship’?
‘Exceptional hardship’ is not exactly defined by the law. While the hardship of not being able to drive may affect you, hardship to others affected by your ban will often carry more weight within the courts. Exceptional hardship arguments must go above and beyond the obvious stresses that losing your driving licence may result in. Examples of such arguments include, but are not limited to:
- If you suffer from health issues and will have your mobility restricted if you can’t drive
- If you are the carer for somebody with severe health issues and they are heavily dependent on you
- The loss of a career for you or anyone who relies on your business
- Potential homelessness which results in you not being able to pay for your mortgage if you’re forced to leave your job
These days, we’re finding that magistrates are becoming less sympathetic to ‘exceptional hardship’ arguments, unless presented with indisputable evidence. It’s therefore crucial that your argument for hardship is backed up with as many relevant letters and documents as possible. For example, if it’s being argued that a disqualification will result in you losing your job, then we would advise you to obtain a letter from your employer stating that this is the case. If you’re arguing that you’re required to drive to continue to visit someone who is seriously unwell, then medical documentation confirming their condition would also be helpful. The more evidence you present, the better the chances are of you avoiding a full driving ban.
The outcomes of your ‘exceptional hardship’ case
If you lose your ‘exceptional hardship’ argument, then unfortunately the court is obliged to ban you from driving for at least 6 months. However, any points that you had on your driving licence will also be removed once the period of ban has ended.
If you win your ‘exceptional hardship’ argument, then the courts will probably not disqualify you. Instead, this might result in the peculiar situation where you have 12 or more points on your driving licence, but are still legally able to drive. If you find yourself in this situation, you should also bear in mind that you won’t be able to use the same ‘exceptional hardship’ argument again for 3 years. If in this time you gain any further points on your licence, then a disqualification will likely be unavoidable.
Note: You can run exceptional hardship more than once in a three year period, but you cannot run the argument for the same reasons.
Appealing a “totting up” ban
If an ‘exceptional hardship’ argument fails and you are disqualified, then your next step is to appeal to the Crown Court, with the hope that they will overrule the Magistrates and find ‘exceptional hardship’ applies. A ‘Notice of Appeal’ will need to be lodged with the Magistrates Court within 21 days, who will inform the Crown Court. You will then be given a date as to when your appeal hearing will be scheduled for. In the meantime, you can request to the Magistrates Court that you have our driving ban lifted while waiting for your appeal hearing to take place.
Can a solicitor help me?
Absolutely. Here at M.A.J Law, we understand that losing your driving licence can have long term consequences affecting you, your family and your future earning potential. That’s why our team of experts are on hand to support you throughout the entire process, explaining the likely outcomes and fighting hard on your behalf. Our team has many years of experience in successfully defending individual’s driving licenses in court, and our expertise in this area of law is vast.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about our services and speak to a member of our friendly team, who are here to help you first and foremost.