In this “Quick Guide” we will take you through Special Reasons Applications. We discuss what they are, when they can be used and how they are used.
In very limited circumstances, it is possible to avoid a compulsory driving disqualification or penalty points from being imposed onto your driving licence via a ‘Special Reasons Application’.
The legislation which gives the Court this discretion is contained within Section 34 of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 which states the following:
“Where a person is convicted of an offence involving obligatory disqualification, the court must order him to be disqualified for such period not less than twelve months as the court thinks fit unless the court for special reasons thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period or not to order him to be disqualified”
How does a Special Reasons Application work?
Special Reasons can be used for all motoring offences and arise when a person accepts, they are guilty of the offence however, there were extenuating circumstances which relate to the commission of the offence.
A person would enter a guilty plea to the offence because they accept, they have committed the offence and would then explain that they are relying on Special Reasons, the Court would usually then adjourn the case to a later date where the application would be heard in full.
Definition: Special Reasons
For ‘Special Reasons’ to be accepted by the Court, the circumstances relied upon need to satisfy the criteria below:
- Must be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance and,
- Must not amount in law to a defence to the allegation and,
- Must be directly connected with the commission of the offence and,
- Must be something which the Court ought to properly take into consideration when imposing sentence.
An Example of Special Reasons Application
Whether a set of circumstances amount to special reasons will depend entirely upon the individual circumstances of each case.
As an example, a motorist is stationary at a set of traffic lights and an emergency vehicle drives up behind the motorist and illuminates their lights and siren to get past, this motorist then drives through a red light (resulting in an offence) to let the emergency vehicle past. This example may amount to a successful Special Reasons Application.
If there were alternative options available to the motorist other than driving through a red traffic signal, the application is unlikely to be successful. This will depend upon the layout of the road and the specific circumstances of exactly what happened.
Things our solicitors look out for in Special Reasons cases
- The offence our client has been charged with
- The reason for the offence being committed
- The explanation from the client
- Assessing what other options the motorist had
- Assessing whether the explanation is a viable Special Reason
- Assessing whether the explanation amounts to a defence, if it does Special Reasons cannot be raised
Do you require a solicitor for a Special Reasons Application?
If you have just read our quick guide to Special Reasons Applications then you should have an idea by now whether you require legal assistance. If you feel you do require legal advice and representation please not hesitate to contact us by calling 0345 222 9955 or by filling out our contact form.
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