To help you understand what it means to get 12 points on your driving licence, often known as totting, or totting up. If you reach 12 points or more with a three-year period, the court is obliged to ban you from driving for a minimum period of six months. But there is a discretion within the court not to ban you, if you can show exceptional hardship. Exceptional hardship doesn’t just mean that is going to be inconvenient for you to get around, to get your job, or even to take your children to school. This would not be deemed exceptional hardship by a court. It would be deemed inconvenient. But that is sort of the point. The court would be punishing you because you reach 12 points on your licence and that’s the point of the punishment. Exceptional hardship means that one or multiple people will suffer greatly as a result of you losing your driving licence. Examples of this could be that you have a relative who needs to make hospital appointments on a regular basis, and their only means of travel to get there is by riding the car with you. If you lose your driving licence, and they cannot make it to their medical appointments, they are obviously going to suffer greatly as a result of you losing your licence. And by default, they are innocent, because they’ve done nothing wrong in the eyes of the court. This has to be put across very persuasively and not just as an excuse, because court won’t take excuses or great inconvenience to you. They will only consider it, if it really is exceptional hardship, possibly to you, but usually to someone else or other persons.
The most common case coming to us is when you’ve already got nine points on your licence. You might think that just because the last offence perhaps speeding a 34 in a 30, you might think this is a relatively minor offence, but by adding another three points to your existing nine, the court is going to consider banning you for the minimum period of six months. In any case such as this, it is essential to prepare properly. The barrister might advise you as to several letters to get from your employer to show that you potentially could lose your job if you lose your licence; potentially, you might lose your house if your job is the only means of income for the household; if you have children, then naturally they are going to suffer as a result of you losing your house.
All of these things need to be considered, planned and, prepared carefully. And then your barrister can present the case persuasively to a court, as to why you should retain your driving licence.
by Daniel ShenSmith
Barrister & Mediator