The penalty points system is designed to incentivise good driving, and discourage bad and unsafe driving. Almost all road traffic offences – from the most serious offences handled in court to relatively minor offences – attract penalty points, with the number of points issued depending on the severity of the offence.
Examples of offences and penalty points
The following is a non-exhaustive list of the kinds of motoring offences which attract penalty points - and the likely penalty. Bear in mind that in some cases these events would result in a ban in themselves.
Dangerous driving: 3-11 points
Careless driving 3-9 points
Failing to provide a breath sample when suspected of driving over the alcohol limit: 3-11 points
Being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the alcohol limit:10 points
Failing to stop after an accident 5-10 points
Speeding: 3-6 points
Totting up and the courts
If a driver reaches 12 penalty points in a three year period, a ‘totting up’ procedure is enforced, and Courts are able to impose a disqualification of 6 months or more. These ‘totting up’ bans can only be imposed at court hearings.
If you already have 9 penalty points on your licence, and within a three year period are convicted of an offence which would ordinarily attract 3 penalty points, you would receive a Summons to court. This is because you would have reached the limit of 12 penalty points within a three years period and be eligible for a totting up ban, which requires a court hearing.
The ‘Hardship’ defence
If you can prove that receiving a ban would result in exceptional hardship for you and your family, the courts may decline to impose the ban.
However, it is important to be aware that it is increasingly difficult to prove a case for hardship: for example, simply being in danger of losing employment because of a driving ban is unlikely to be enough: you would potentially need to prove that you would then become in danger of losing your home through failure to maintain rent or mortgage repayments.
If you can prove that other people besides yourself would suffer if you were to receive a totting-up ban (such as employees, family members or voluntary organisations) then you may find the Courts are more lenient.
How can we help?
If you have received a summons to a Court hearing for a totting-up ban, you need urgent legal advice as soon as possible. By consulting the expert criminal defence lawyers at Qamar Solicitors you give yourself the best opportunity to avoid a ban which can have a devastating impact on you, your family and your career.
We will examine all the conditions under which each of your penalty points was issued, in order to establish whether there has been a breach of the regulations at any stage. In some cases, we may be able to help you mount a ‘hardship’ defence. It is imperative to contact us as soon as possible so that we can begin working on your behalf.