Motoring law. Avoiding offences – Exceptional Hardship

Ever since some extreme hardship cases have been brought to the public’s attention such as cases surrounding Manchester United star Ashley Young who saw his ban for speeding at 100mph dismissed by the jury , exceptional hardship has been at the centre of much controversy, but for many it is their last chance to keep their licence.

Over 250,000 court cases relating to motoring offences took place in West Yorkshire over the past year (and you can click for personal injury Yorkshire legal related issues). Alongside this has come with large increase in mobile phone related offences being recorded whilst driving. Not all necessarily result in a ban but for the more serious cases such as drink driving or death by dangerous driving, a driving ban must be set into place and on many of circumstances imprisonment. For lesser offences though, disqualification is discretionary and it is therefore possible to avoid a driving ban if suitable mitigating circumstances are presented to the Court, or if exceptional hardship could be shown as a result of the action.

For exceptional hardship, you must persuade the court that the loss of your license would cause particular difficulties or suffering that would be out of proportion to the offence. For example, you may have recently lost your home, lost your business or you may use your motor vehicle to care for an elderly or disabled person, all matters which could persuade the court that the effect of a ban might adversely affect others or the effect would go far beyond that which would normally be anticipated.

For example a case in 2011 had shown a motorist who had totalled up 30 points on his licence and claimed exceptional hardship. The claim was successful after the defendant had presented a case that he would not be able to travel effectively reducing his chances of finding employment. This is just one case of many added to the long list of motorists escaping penalties.

To put forward a case built on mitigating circumstances or extreme hardship is not straightforward. It is therefore recommended that you seek professional, legal advice from solicitors before putting your case forward. If the court is persuaded that exceptional hardship would be a consequence of your disqualification, they may not disqualify you or may reduce the period of disqualification. Although there is no reason why you cannot represent yourself at Court, this is the only opportunity the you as an Defendant will get a chance to plea to keep your license and in those circumstances anyone that does not feel confident in addressing the Court or feel that they may not put a strong enough case forward, it would be wise to have a trained member present to pitch it correctly and help you with the process.

It is obvious that losing your licence is likely to cause some form of hardship so the argument to keep your licence must be strong enough. An experienced solicitor can make all the difference to your argument.

DFR are a highly specialist firm of solicitors dealing with Personal Injury Law and Private Motoring Offences

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