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Special Reasons in Driving Offence Cases

Pragma Law
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Special Reasons – The Basics

Special Reasons Driving OffencesSome more serious driving offences carry a mandatory driving ban unless special reasons exist. Examples include drink driving, dangerous driving and drug driving.

Most other driving offences carry penalty points. If you are convicted, the court must impose a minimum number of points.

Special reasons do not automatically enable you to escape disqualification or endorsement.

Where special reasons are found it means that the court has the discretion to:

  • not impose penalty points,
  • disqualify you for a shorter period,
  • not disqualify you at all.

Special Reasons are not a defence

A special reason is not the same as a defence. For this reason, if you were intending to put forward special reasons, you would normally be accepting that the offence was committed.

You would enter a guilty plea but inform the court of your intention to put forward special reasons.

There are exceptions to this where for example you intend to put forward an argument which could constitute both a defence or a special reason such as emergency (necessity or duress of circumstance).

What are Special Reasons?

It is important to remember that special reasons must relate to the commission of the offence itself and not the individual’s own circumstances. This means that financial hardship or previous good character cannot be used as a special reason.

It is important that you understand the law before attempting to put forward an argument as you’ll only get one chance. Yes, you can appeal, but the reality is appearing in the Crown Court is a far more daunting and potentially costly experience than getting it the right first time in the Magistrates’ Court.

You’ll need to give evidence on oath when presenting your case and may need to provide documentary evidence to support your case.

Examples of special reasons

  • Driving a short distance
  • Being misled into committing the offence
  • Having your drinks spiked
  • Driving in an emergency (may also be a defence)
  • Obscured road signage

You should not rely on these examples without ensuring you understand the law in full.

See also our FAQs on special reasons in driving cases below.

Special Reasons Summary

Legal Definition

To amount to a “special reason” a matter must:

  1. a mitigating or extenuating circumstance;
  2. not amount in law to a defence to the charge;
  3. be directly connected with the commission of the offence; and
  4. be one which the court ought properly to take into consideration when imposing sentence.
Lucy Whitaker

Lucy Whitaker


Give me a call to discuss your driving case. I have many years’ experience dealing with all sorts of driving offences. You can read more about me here.

What we do


If you think you may have a special reasons argument and need advice, we can help. Speak to us if you think there are special circumstances that the court should take into account. We can advise you on how to prepare for court and give yourself the best chance of success.

Magistrates' Court Hearings

We can represent you at a special reasons hearing. The hearing itself is similar to a trial and you will have to give evidence.

Our solicitors only deal with motoring offences so you will get the best advice. If you have an upcoming Magistrates’ Court hearing and need representation or advice on preparation, let us help.


Pragma Law
Based on 38 reviews
powered by Google
Asad Ahmed
Asad Ahmed
15:41 21 May 21
5* have dealt with lucy twice now! Very professional. Knows what shes doing! Would definitely recommend!
Bobby Charles
Bobby Charles
19:05 07 Feb 21
I have had an extremely positive experience with Lucy Whittaker. She is very knowledgeable, very proactive and always... explains things in a clear and precise.She was able to convince the court to drop a driving without due care charge despite the police and the CPS disareeing.I would hesitate to recommend Lucy and Pragma Law anyone who needs more
harry bedder
harry bedder
15:53 16 Dec 20
Fantastic Service provided by Lucy, very profesional and quick at getting you answers and providing the help you might... need! I will definitly be recomening Pragma Law to anyone I know that has a motoring proplem please do the more
Jobin Mathew Joseph
Jobin Mathew Joseph
18:11 25 Nov 20
Absolutely brilliant! 100 percent reliable! The case was related to driving matter and I had initially approached few... other solicitors for help with my case. They all denied saying we would not win the case. But Lucy happily took the case and help me win the case with the best possible outcome.She puts you at ease and confidence. Very responsive in your queries. She genuinely care for case and very pleasant to deal with. Always well prepared and wins you the best possible outcome. Very Very Strongly recommend. Thanks much more
Lewis Cobley
Lewis Cobley
11:12 05 Nov 20
I highly recommend Pragma Law for any motoring problem. They were very efficient and professional even with little time... to more
A Google User
A Google User
14:30 04 Jul 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last... October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much more
hannah vanessa
hannah vanessa
15:45 15 Jun 20
I suffer with anxiety (as many) and this incident completely took over my life for months until I met Lucy. I was super... comfortable and confident in her work as she was very professional and was always available to help. Really helped take the stress away - thanks Lucy and thanks Pragma!read more
Wayne Davies
Wayne Davies
14:51 08 Jun 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last... October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much more
Rukhsar Latif
Rukhsar Latif
13:59 19 May 20
Lucy genuinly cares about her clients she took on my case dealt with everything herself and won my case I couldn't be... happier with the results and the service. I will definitely be using Pragma Law again if needs more
Vicky Clarke
Vicky Clarke
20:16 03 Mar 20
I couldn't have hoped for a better solicitor. Lucy did everything she could to get the best possible outcome for me,... and I can't thank her enoughread more
Paul Mercer
Paul Mercer
17:19 31 Jan 20
Lucy Whitaker provided an impressive, cost effective service. She was objective, responded quickly to questions and, I... believe, offered the best advice before efficiently dealing with a case as it came to court.I would have no hesitation either in using Lucy again, should the need arise, or recommending her more
Rebecca Hodkinson
Rebecca Hodkinson
16:33 19 Nov 19
Lucy represented me in a driving case and I couldn't be happier. She was friendly, professional and pragmatic without... giving me false hope. The outcome was a more positive one than I expected and that's down to her advice and detailed preparations. Would highly recommend! Thank you Lucy!read more
Gary Sykes
Gary Sykes
22:12 04 Oct 19
We were so impressed with Lucy Whitaker. She represented our son in an unusual driving case which thanks to her... knowledge, care & understanding, ended in a much better than expected outcome. Clear, concise & professional, we highly recommend her... can't thank her enough!!read more
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Driving Offence Special Reasons FAQs

Will I have to go to court?

Yes. The burden is on you to establish special reasons. 

You will need to give evidence to explain to the court why special reasons exist and why the court should exercise its discretion.

What happens at a special reasons hearing?

The hearing will be similar to a trial. This means you’ll have to give evidence on oath and face cross-examination by a prosecutor as well as questions from the Magistrates.

For these reasons, it’s important to be prepared

How do I argue Special Reasons?

You will need to put the court on notice that you intend to argue special reasons. The court will usually want to know the basis of your special reasons argument. It is also important to consider whether you will need any prosecution or defence witnesses to give evidence in support of your case. Usually, the court will require you to state which facts are and are not in dispute. This is often done at a Case Management hearing and the matter will then be listed for a full hearing some weeks thereafter.

Do I need to take witnesses to court?

It depends what the basis of your argument is. Witnesses can be helpful, but they can also harm your case if they say something unexpected in the witness box. 

Your solicitor should take a detailed statement from them beforehand so they know roughly what the witness’s evidence will be. 

If the court finds special reasons, will there be no penalty?

If the court finds special reasons, it gives them the discretion not to disqualify or endorse a licence. If the court doesn’t feel it is appropriate, it can choose not to exercise its discretion.

Note that the court may still impose a financial penalty and prosecution costs even if the argument is successful.

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Centrally Based

I'm based in Nottingham and offer a nationwide service. Below is a list of the locations I cover most frequently. If yours isn't on the list, I would still be delighted to help you wherever you are in England or Wales.