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Driving Disqualifications: What is ‘Exceptional Hardship’?

We know how frustrating and daunting it can be to arrive home after a hard day’s work to pick up your post and receive a court summons for a motoring matter, especially if you already have penalty points on your licence. If you face the prospect of having 12 or more penalty points, also known as “totting up”, you may be banned from driving for up to 6 months. You will have to go to court for this offence.

What if my job depends on having a driving license?

For many people, a ban isn’t just inconvenient, disrupting personal affairs, it can also cause financial hardship, and this is especially the case if your job depends on having a driving license. So what can you do in this situation?

If the Courts can be persuaded that a ban would cause “Exceptional Hardship” they have the discretion not to impose the 6-month driving ban, but this needs to be a well-prepared and evidenced legal argument. There is no clear cut legal definition to what amounts as ‘Exceptional Hardship’, however, hardship must be more than that is normally suffered, yet it doesn’t have to be hardship that is purely caused to the excused. For example, a Court may accept evidence as Exceptional Hardship if it affects the public, the offender’s employer, employees or family. These are several examples:

  • Loss of employment – You require a car or van as part of your job and have financial dependents whose standard of living will be drastically reduced if a 6-month ban was ordered.
  • Impact of employment on others – The defendant is a manager of a company and being banned would impact the livelihoods of other employees.
  • Caring for relatives – Your driving licence is essential to caring for elderly or disabled relatives, and without access to a car, their quality of life would be affected.

It is important to understand that an argument of Exceptional Hardship cannot be utilised as a means of avoiding automatic disqualification following a conviction for an offence such as drink driving or dangerous driving.

Can you run the risk of not being able to drive for 6 months?

Making the case of Exceptional Hardship in Court requires a great deal of skill, knowledge and experience, and that’s where Noble Solicitors can help. Our motoring expert, Andrew Brumhill will be glad to speak to you about your situation. We have presented Exceptional Hardship arguments that have resulted in no disqualification being imposed or reduced bans. We respond to enquiries about motoring offences 7 days a week, 365 days a year, whilst we can schedule meetings or calls around your existing work schedule to ensure you get the best possible legal advice without these matters disrupting your home life.

To learn more about our experience or to speak to us about your summons, please email:

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