A driver who had been disqualified for 6 months in the magistrates’ court after a second ‘totting up’ offence instructed us to help with an appeal to the Crown Court. He had already successfully argued exceptional hardship around 18 months ago but had since committed a further driving offence.
Mr X had been stopped for driving with a defective tyre. He had been unaware of the defect and, knowing his licence was at risk if he received any further penalty points, had been driving extremely carefully. He accepted that he had not checked his tyres for defects and if he had done, he should have noticed the problem. On this basis, the offence itself was not challenged.
He approached us having unsuccessfully put forward a second exceptional hardship argument himself in the Magistrates Court. The court decided that there was no good reason why he should not be disqualified for 6 months.
Exceptional hardship can only be argued successfully once every three years on any particular grounds. He had previously told the court about the impact a ban would have on his business which meant he could not put this forward a second time.
Lucy Whitaker represented him in the Crown Court arguing that there were new grounds for the court to find exceptional hardship. Only if the court found that there were new circumstances could it consider an exceptional hardship argument.
The prosecutor opposed the argument that the grounds put forward were new. He stated that they had already been considered by the court on the last occasion and could not be taken into account by the court. The court disagreed with the prosecutor and accepted our new argument.
After a lengthy hearing, the Judge and two magistrates agreed that exceptional hardship would be caused to the defendant’s grandmother. They, therefore, allowed the appeal and did not disqualify our client.
It is usually a difficult task getting a court to accept a second exceptional hardship argument within 3 years. It can be even more tricky in the crown court where the setting is very formal and rules are more strictly adhered to. Needless to say, our client was delighted that Lucy managed to save his driving licence.