Exceptional Hardship Arguments

Exceptional Hardship Arguments

If you have penalty points on your driving licence and have been found guilty, or you are being prosecuted for a further motoring offence, the consequences can be life changing.

For many of us, day to day activities and employment rely on our ability to be able to drive and the prospect of losing your driving licence can be distressing.

Exceptional Hardship

When you receive additional penalty points that bring the total points on your licence to 12 or more within three years, the Court must impose a minimum mandatory disqualification period of six months, unless it can be proven that ‘exceptional hardship’ would be caused by the loss of your licence.

Our team of specialist defence solicitors are experts in establishing if there are grounds to argue that ‘exceptional hardship’ would be caused to you, or those around you, by the loss of your driving licence.

Parliament has not defined the term of ‘exceptional hardship’. The Court acknowledge that a certain level of hardship is caused by a disqualification, such as inconvenience, longer commutes and making ordinary tasks a logistical minefield. However, “Exceptional hardship” has to be above and beyond this. 

The Court can consider the hardship that will apply to both you and others.

Examples of Exceptional Hardship include:

• Loss of livelihood. Where a disqualification from driving would result in you losing your job which would in turn mean you were unable to pay your household bills and provide for your family
• A child or elderly relative depends on you having your driving licence to regularly take them to hospital appointments. There would be nobody else to do this and public transport is not an option. Exceptional hardship would therefore be suffered by another person
• You are disabled and need your driving licence to get about.

The above examples are not an exhaustive list. Exceptional hardship cases arise in many different circumstances and with the right legal guidance, you can ensure that your case is expertly presented to the Court.

In most criminal cases the prosecution must prove something beyond reasonable doubt, however with ‘exceptional hardship’ arguments there is a reverse burden of proof. This means that it is for the defence to prove that ‘exceptional hardship’ would be caused, rather than for the prosecution to disprove it.

The defence must prove that ‘exceptional hardship’ would be caused on the balance of probabilities. In practical terms the defence must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that ‘exceptional hardship’ would be caused.

We have years of experience in successfully presenting this argument to Courts throughout the UK

What happens next?

The key element is to substantiate the ‘exceptional hardship’ argument with either supporting documentation or witness evidence. The prosecution will have the opportunity to question you on oath on the arguments we present before the Court.

To be successful we have to demonstrate that there are no measures that could be put in place that would mitigate that hardship.

Our vast experience in such cases has taught us that the Courts are impressed if the argument is supported by evidence of items such as mpas, diaries or schedules. This can demonstrate the frequency and location of the journeys that you maintain require you to have a driving licence. In addition, supporting letters from other parties involved who can corroborate what you say can be effective.

It is essential to present a clear and evidentiary based argument to the Court. Careful preparation is vital.

Remember, by seeking legal advice from the outset you can help to ensure that any complexities and potential implications are effectively managed.

Mander Cruickshank will present the legal argument on your behalf in Court and you will simply be asked to confirm on oath what we have stated is true. The prosecuting advocate then has the opportunity to cross examine you. In most of our cases we present an argument that is so compelling, that the prosecutor will have no questions to put to you.

With Mander Cruickshank Solicitors you can ensure any issues or complexities are expertly handled, providing you with peace of mind when you need it most.