What Happens When I reach 12 Penalty Points?
If you have or are soon due to accumulate 12 penalty points onto your driving licence, understandably you will have questions and concerns regarding how this may impact upon your driving licence and whether you will receive a disqualification. In this short article, we will briefly explain and answer some of the commonly asked questions.
The starting position is that a motorist can accumulate points on their driving licence for several motoring offences such as speeding, careless driving, failing to provide driver information and using a mobile phone whilst driving. Each offence attracts a different number of points depending upon the specific offence and the specific circumstances. As an example, speeding attracts 3 to 6 penalty points and careless driving attracts 3 to 9 points.
If you have committed previous motoring offences, and you received points for those offences, they will remain active on your licence for a period of 3 years from the date of the offence and will show on your licence for a period of 4 years.
If you would like to check how many you have on your licence, you can do so by visiting Gov.uk.
Penalty Points Driving Ban
If you have active points on your licence, and the offence you are now facing prosecution for would take you up to, or in excess of 12, you will face a ‘Totting-Up Driving Ban’ which is also known as a ‘Penalty Points Disqualification’. The driving ban will be for at least 6 months and the code used for a penalty points disqualification is TT99.
The court can decide to issue a short ban instead of the 6-month ban, however that power is very rarely used.
Once the Court recognises that you will reach, or exceed 12 points, the Court will list your case for a Disqualification Hearing. When the Court imposes a driving disqualification, it will do so in person so that there is no ambiguity on whether you have been banned and so that you have an opportunity to put forward an Exceptional Hardship Application in an attempt to avoid a driving ban.
If you reach 12 penalty points, when you attend Court for your Disqualification Hearing, the Court will impose a driving ban of at least 6 months. The ban can potentially be avoided if you put forward an Exceptional Hardship Application.
Therefore, the options are:
Option 1: Accumulate 12 points, decide not to put forward exceptional hardship and the Court must then impose a ban of at least 6 months;
Option 2: Accumulate 12 points, put forward an argument of Exceptional Hardship and there is a possibility that the application is successful, and the Court will then have the discretion not to impose any ban.
What is Exceptional Hardship?
Exceptional Hardship is an application made to the Court which attempts to avoid the 6-month driving ban.
The application must be fully prepared and must demonstrate that you have explored every possible option and there’s no feasible alternative to you keeping your licence.
There are no circumstances that guarantee an Exceptional Hardship’s success. Applications will be stronger if you can demonstrate financial hardship, or if other people will suffer hardship as a result of your disqualification.
In order to advance Exceptional Hardship, you must attend Court and make a verbal application to the bench, explaining the hardship you and others will face if you were to be disqualified for 6 months.
After your application is made, the Magistrates will retire and decide as to whether or not your application is successful. If the Court agrees your case amounts to Exceptional Hardship, then you can avoid a ban. You will never be penalised for making an application
If you have reached 12 points on your licence and would like to appoint a specialist to put forward the application on your behalf at Court, contact us on 0345 222 9955 or complete our Contact Form.