If you accumulate 12 penalty points on your driving licence within three years, the court can enforce a totting up procedure, which carries a driving disqualification of at least six months.
However, even though court guidelines state that a totting up disqualification is mandatory, the penalty is still at the discretion of the court, and with legal help there are a number of ways in which you can strengthen your defence and increase your chances of avoiding a driving ban.
If you’re facing a totting up disqualification and you need legal representation, or you simply want some advice, the advisors at First4lawyers can help.
What are totting up disqualifications?
A court can disqualify you from driving if you have accumulated 12 penalty points over the course of a three-year period.
For example, if you already have nine penalty points on your licence, and you commit an offence that would add a further three or more points, then rather than that offence being dealt with in the normal way, you will be sent a summons in the post telling you that you need to go to court. Totting up bans can only be imposed at a court hearing.
Alternatively, you might find yourself facing a totting up disqualification if you are charged with a number of offences that occurred at the same time.
Meanwhile, a driver who is within two years of passing their test will have their licence taken away if they accumulate six or more penalty points in that time period.
In any of the above circumstances, it is important to seek assistance from knowledgeable solicitors, who can provide you with an appropriate defence.
What are the penalties for totting up disqualifications?
While there are clear guidelines for the length of totting up disqualifications, every case is different, and the court takes each case on its merits.
The guidelines state that if you acquire 12 points on your licence within a three-year period, you could be banned from driving for six months. If you receive a second disqualification within three years of the first, you could get a further 12 month ban, and the court can issue a two-year disqualification if you are banned for a third time.
One of the complications of a lengthy driving ban is the need to re-apply for your driving licence if you are banned for more than 56 days. This underlines the importance of preparing a suitable defence if you are summoned to court for a totting up disqualification.
If you are within two years of passing your driving test for the first time, you will have your licence revoked if you accumulate six or more penalty points. If this happens, you will need to re-take your driving test in order to regain your licence.
What are the defences to totting up disqualifications?
You need to persuade the court that a driving ban would place either you or other people in a situation of exceptional hardship.
The court recognises that a driving ban can make life difficult for the person affected, and if it is convinced that the hardship you will suffer as a result of disqualification is exceptional, your penalty might be reduced.
Exceptional hardship tends to mean more than just losing your job, and would impact on people other than yourself. For example, if the loss of your driving licence would leave you unable to properly care for your family, then the court might accept that a disqualification would amount to exceptional hardship.
A well-argued defence of exceptional hardship can lead to totting up disqualifications being reduced in length, or even withdrawn. Representation by a solicitor experienced in motoring cases will give you a greatly improved chance of proving exceptional hardship successfully.
I think I might get a totting up disqualification – what should I do?
It is important to find an expert solicitor as soon as you receive your court summons. At First4lawyers, our advisors can talk you through the process and begin to gather the information needed to know which solicitor could be best for your case.
Regardless of whether this is the first disqualification you have faced or if you have been banned from driving before, we can match you to a specialist lawyer who will work to get the outcome you want.