If you’re on 9 penalty points and get another Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) through the post (one bright Saturday morning); then it may not just be your weekend which has just been ruined! If you clock up 12 or more points then the court is obliged to disqualify you for a minimum of 6 months. For many this will mean loss of job, consequent loss of home and all the other disastrous financial and social consequences which flow from the loss of a driving licence.
I have lost count of the hundreds if not thousands of people I have seen in courts throughout the country who have lost their licences in this way. What I have always found to be staggering is that the majority of these people turn up at court without legal representation and without even having considered obtaining some form of legal advice or representation!
If they had then they might have been surprised to discover that courts enjoy a discretion and, in appropriate cases, can be persuaded not to disqualify. The court may take such a merciful approach if it can be persuaded that “exceptional hardship” may be caused by a “totting” disqualification. If the magistrates’ do so decide then the disqualification can be reduced in severity or not imposed at all. The secret in putting forward a successful “exceptional hardship” argument is preparation – getting the references; the bank statements; mortgage statements; utility bills; letters from employers and work colleagues; etc., This is not something which you will be able to put together on the day of sentence, when the Chairman of the Magistrates turns to you and asks if there is any reason why you shouldn’t be disqualified and what sort of hardship you will suffer as a consequence!
The decision must be yours but, if you find yourself in this nightmare situation, might it not be wise to take legal advice? A well argued and carefully compiled “exceptional hardship” argument, put forward in an attractive manner, by an experienced advocate, may just save your licence – and you – from social and financial meltdown!