Exceptional Hardship Applications

Although many road traffic offences are strict liability and therefore have no defence, there are methods which can be employed to avoid incurring points or losing a licence. The two key concepts to grasp are ‘special reasons’ and ‘exceptional hardship’.

For hardship to be ‘exceptional’ it must be more than normal. Therefore it will be a matter of fact and degree in each case. The circumstances should be considered to be ‘out of the ordinary’ in order for the magistrates to exercise their discretion and either disqualify the defendant for a shorter period than the minimum required or not disqualify them at all, although they must then impose more penalty points.

Hardship to family, employer, or employees may be more readily taken as exceptional hardship as the parties affected are innocent, for example, the impact on a dependent or family member who has a disability or serious health problem and who relies on the driver or who has difficulties with public transport because of their geographical location. Other circumstances which have also been found to be exceptional are losing the family home and losing the business. Also, others whose jobs could be put at risk by the disqualification of the driver, for example, a business owner or key employee whose disqualification could severely impact on the running of the business.

Contact Us immediately if you wish to plead this mitigation. It is highly important that you are represented by our specialist advocates who are experts in this matter.