Disqualification & “Totting Up”

Expert team of Barristers and Solicitors with years of experience in providing advice and representation in Road Transport Law.

Disqualification & “Totting Up”

At SBC Motoring Law we know how important your driving licence is. A disqualification from driving may result in loss of employment or impact on caring responsibilities. Our team of experts can advise you in respect of your motoring offence and if it is possible to avoid a disqualification.

Certain offences carry a minimum period of disqualification and these will usually be commenced by way of a court summons or charge from the police station. The types of offences carrying a minimum 12 month disqualification include:

Drink Driving / Drug Driving;

Dangerous Driving;

Failure to Provide a Specimen.

In other cases, where the Court has the power to impose penalty points, you could face a disqualification because of the seriousness of the offence or because of accumulating too many penalty points (totting up). These type of offences usually start with the Single Justice Procedure, where you indicate a plea in writing and will be invited to attend Court at a later date. Our team can help present your mitigation  relating to the offence or the impact of a disqualification. Where you face a totting up disqualification for reaching 12 or more penalty points, our lawyers can advise you on ‘exceptional hardship’. We have a high success rate in avoiding disqualification in these case. The type of offences which can carry a discretionary disqualification include:


Careless Driving;

Fail to Stop / Fail to Report an Accident

Red Light Offence;

Using a Mobile Phone Whilst Driving and

Driving Without Insurance.

Exceptional Hardship

For examples of successful exceptional hardship arguments, see our recent cases. The Court can take into account the impact of a disqualification on yourself or others, including your dependants and your employer. There is a high threshold as the Court will refuse to find exceptional hardship if the impact is inconvenience or loss of employment without any wider impact. We can advise which evidence the Court will want to see and help to present this at the Court hearing on your behalf.

Obligatory Disqualification

If you plead or are found guilty of an offence which carries an obligatory disqualification, the court MUST disqualify you from driving unless “Special Reasons” apply. Examples of offences carrying obligatory disqualification include:

The minimum disqualification is ordinarily 12 months. Some offences will require an extended re-test or further investigation by DVLA before your Licence is restored. In other cases, such as drink driving, we can advise on reductions available to you for attendance on accredited courses.

“Special Reasons” to Avoid Disqualification

If you plead guilty to, or have been convicted of, an offence which carries points, or an obligatory or discretionary disqualification, you may still in some circumstances avoid a disqualification if Special Reasons apply. These must relate to the circumstances of the offence itself. Examples of what might amount to special reasons include:

  • A drink driver who was unaware that his drink had been spiked with alcohol
  • A driver who committed a motoring offence which involved a genuine emergency
  • An uninsured driver who had been misled into thinking that they were covered by a policy of insurance

The burden is on you to demonstrate, with evidence, that Special Reasons apply. You may call witnesses and documentary evidence to support your case. This can be a complex area of law and it is always wise to be represented in a Special Reasons hearing by an experienced motoring lawyer.

If you are facing a disqualification from driving, call our team today and speak directly to one of our lawyers.  We offer a free initial consultation by telephoning 01332 987420 or email info@smithbowyerclarke.co.uk

Our fixed fee service gives you peace of mind regarding costs if you choose SBC Motoring Law to represent you.

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