I face a totting up ban and I have been given the option of pleading guilty by post so the case can be heard in my absence. I would prefer this option, especially as I’m likely to be banned and therefore do not want the expense of taking time off work, travel, hotel bills etc. Are the Magistrates likely to be any more severe in terms of the punishment imposed if I take this option rather than if I attended court in person?
In theory, you can plead guilty by post. However, most Courts will then adjourn the case to provide you with a further opportunity to attend in person so that you can put forward a submission of exceptional hardship and explain why you should not be banned.
If you are resigned to the fact that a totting up ban is inevitable, and you are prepared to accept this, you should make this clear to the Court, stating that you do not wish to put forward an exceptional hardship plea. There is every prospect that they would then resolve the matter in your absence and there is no reason for the punishment to be any more severe. That said, if the case is still adjourned, and you are told that you must attend, failure to do so could result in a Warrant being issued for your arrest.
I have just received a Court Summons, which means I face reaching 12 points for the second time in 2 years. Can I plead exceptional hardship again in order to retain my licence? Do I now face a 12 month ban or is it still 6 months?
There is nothing to prevent you pleading exceptional hardship again but you are not allowed to use the same reasons twice in any three year period. If you can show new reasons your submission may well be successful. If you fail, it does not follow that the ban should be more than 6 months, it would only reach a minimum of 12 months if you have already received a totting up ban in the previous 3 years.
Totting Up: Will a delaying tactic prevent a driving ban?
I currently have 9 penalty points on my driving licence and I’ve just received a Fixed Penalty Notice which will bring me to 12 penalty points. If I contest or appeal the Fixed Penalty, by the time the matter goes to Court, the first 3 points on my licence will no longer be valid. Is this a tactic I can use to prevent a totting up ban?
No. If you had 9 points at the time of the offence, the Court is still entitled to impose a totting up ban. The reason that penalty points remain on your driving licence for 4 years but remain only valid for 3 years is in order that the Court is fully aware of the driving history to prevent such a tactic.
Driving is a critical part of my job. I can only drive to and from work and my job requires that I travel regularly around the UK to visit customers etc. Is this a strong enough reason to avoid a totting up ban?
The criteria applied by the Court is “exceptional hardship” and it is a common comment that whilst an individual would suffer hardship through the loss of their licence, that hardship is not so exceptional that it justifies avoiding a totting up ban. Loss of job alone does not always amount to exceptional hardship and any attempt to avoid totting up purely on that basis could fail. It can however be used to develop other reasons which combined, do meet the criteria set by the Court.