12 Penalty Points (or More)

If you get 12 penalty points (or more) in 3 years then you can expect a court appearance and a driving ban for at lest 6 months. Not everyone with 12 points is disqualified. You can avoid a ban you can prove that losing you licence will you, or someone else, to suffer exceptional hardship

If you at risk of a ban for 12 penalty points or more then I can help.

12 Penalty Points - A1 in Northumbria
A1 in Northumbria by Highways Agency

Definition of Exceptional Hardship

This is the meaning of an exceptional hardship case.

  1. A driver is convicted at court of an offence involving endorsement of penalty points on their licence.
  2. The total number of points to be taken into account numbers 12 or more.
  3. The number of points to be taken into account are the points for the new offence and any other points that are endorsed on the licence. (Points for offences committed more than three years before the new offence are disrearded.)
  4. The court must normally impose a minimum disqualification from driving for six months.
  5. The driver proves to the court that the disqualiifcation will cause exceptional hardship to them or to another person.
  6. The court has a discretion not to disqualify at all or to disqualify for a shorter period.

What Kind of Things Can Be Exceptional Hardship?

I have dealt with cases where magistrates have accepted all of these things as exceptional hardship.

  • Losing a job
  • Not being able to support a family
  • Losing a house though financial difficulty
  • Being unable to find employment without a car
  • Having to made employees redundant because a business will suffer
  • A business failing because a key person can not drive
  • Not being able to take friends/relatives to hospital
  • Not being able to drive for a relative who can’t drive because of their health
  • Not being available to go to a relative who is ill in an emergency
  • Not being able to take children to sporting events

A word of warning. Courts will quite often say that losing your job alone is not enough to find exceptional hardship. You will usually need to prove more than that.

The Rules about Totting – 12 penalty points

Lawyers call the penalty points system the “totting rules” or “totting up system”. Here are the basics. Individual cases are sometimes more complicated.

  • Penalty points stay active for 3 years from the date that the driver committed the traffic offence.
  • A totting disqualification is calculated from the day that the driver committed the last traffic offence.
  • If there are 12 penalty points or more the driver must be banned for a minimum of 6 months. (Sometimes longer if the driver has been banned before.)
  • If the driver proves that they (or someone else) will suffer exceptional hardship they do not have to be banned.
  • Drivers cannot use the same reasons for exceptional hardship again for 3 years.
  • A court appearance always takes place. The driver usually has to give evidence.

No Exceptional Hardship for Drink Driving

A driver cannot claim exceptional hardship for drink driving or any other offence that involves obligatory disqualification from driving. Exceptional hardship is only available in cases where the driver reaches 12 penalty points.

There are a few very rare occasions when penalty points can be imposed for drink driving. Exceptional hardship could be relevant in those cases.

Do You Need a Solicitor

I can help with a totting up case by:

  • Deciding what issues will help you to persuade the magistrates to find exceptional hardship
  • Helping you to collect the right evidence to support your case
  • Advising you about character references
  • Helping you negotiate your way through the court process
  • Explaining about giving evidence in court
  • Representing you in the court room

No Substitute for Experience

I specialise in representing drivers accused of motoring offences. I have many years of experience representing clients in the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court. All solicitors are authorised to appear in the Magistrates’ Court but I have two extra qualifications:

  • Member of the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme – an award that is only given to solicitors who have reached a required standard and level of experience in the Magistrates’ Court.
  • Higher Rights of Audience – means that I am authorised to appear in the Crown Court. Most solicitors are not allowed to appear in Crown Court trials. Traditionally that is a job that only barristers are allowed to do.


Find Out More

Unsure If You Need Legal Representation When You Have 12 Points or More?

Before you decide if you need a solicitor, call me or send a message under no obligation.