PLEADING GUILTY & AVOIDING A DRIVING BAN
It is possible to plead guilty to a motoring offence and avoid a ban or points.
Most people know that if you successfully defend a motoring offence, you:
- Will avoid a penalty ie. you will not receive penalty points, disqualification or a financial penalty.
- May be able to apply for reimbursement of some of your legal fees.
However, few people are aware of the other ways which you can legitimately use to avoid a ban or penalty points.
Some motoring offences such as drink driving carry mandatory driving bans or penalty points upon conviction. These offences require the court to impose penalty points for a period of disqualification, even if they are sympathetic with your position.
EXAMPLES OF ARGUMENTS WHICH CAN AVOID A BAN OR PENALTY POINTS
Exceptional Hardship – used by those accumulating 12 or more points on their licence within three years to prevent the usual mandatory disqualification. You cannot use exceptional hardship to avoid a ban for offences which carry a mandatory disqualification themselves, such as drink driving, dangerous driving or drug driving.
Special Reasons – can be used with most motoring offences to avoid penalty points or a ban. There is no exhaustive list of special reasons, but examples can be found in previous court decisions. The likely success of a special reasons argument will depend on the facts of the case and the nature of the offence.
Discretionary Ban – often used by new drivers facing the revocation of their licence as a result of reaching six or more points within the first two years of passing their test. Can sometimes be used by those wishing to avoid totting up ban which is usually longer than a discretionary ban.
If you are considering any of the above, get advice from us today.
PENALTY POINTS – AN OVERVIEW
For many drivers facing a driving offence or motoring allegation, the threat of receiving penalty points is far worse than any financial penalty they will face. It means:
- they’re a step closer to disqualification,
- an increase in their insurance premiums.
Whether you’re likely to receive penalty points will depend on the driving offence and of course whether or not you have a good defence or special reasons argument.
The minimum and maximum penalties for a given driving offence are set out in legislation.
The Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines assist courts in deciding what penalty to impose.
The Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines deal with the most common road traffic offences. These Guidelines are only for use in the Magistrates’ Court, not the Crown Court.
The court must have regard to these guidelines when sentencing, but are also bound to follow decisions of the higher courts, e.g. the Court of Appeal & the Supreme Court.
WHAT IS A DISCRETIONARY BAN?
Most low-level motoring offences carry penalty points. However, the court also has the discretion to impose a period of disqualification if it sees fit. This disqualification is an alternative to penalty points, rather than in addition to it.
Ordinarily, a disqualification is seen a more severe punishment than penalty points. However, there are occasions when a short period of disqualification is preferable to points. For example, if you are a new driver who is facing 6 points for driving without insurance, you may prefer a ban to avoid DVLA revoking your licence.
The decision to impose a ban rather than points is entirely at the court’s discretion; it is not your choice. You must put forward an argument to convince the court that it should exercise its discretion. You are effectively asking the court to go against the new driver legislation, so you must prepare your argument carefully.
12 POINT TOTTING BANS
A discretionary disqualification may be used is to avoid a ‘totting up’ ban. The courts may be more reluctant to impose a discretionary ban in these circumstances, but we have been able to persuade them on multiple occasions.
DRIVING BAN & PENALTY POINTS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS