As a rule of thumb, the magistrates will not consider disqualification unless you are found to have been driving at a speed more than thirty miles over the legal limit.
This is a very general rule and disqualification may still be considered at a lower speed if there are aggravating features such as poor weather conditions, travelling in a built up area – especially near a school or old people’s home or if there are children in the car.
If the magistrates consider disqualification in your case, they will order you to attend court so that you can advance mitigation as to why you should not be disqualified from driving. At this stage, you should seriously consider seeking legal representation from an experienced solicitor, especially if your driving licence is important to you.
In deciding whether to disqualify you from driving, the speed at which you were travelling is not the only factor to be taken into consideration.
The magistrates will take into consideration any aggravating features that may be present but will also take into account mitigating features such as a previously good driving record or expressions of remorse.
The magistrates will also take into account the extent to which you would be punished by a disqualification and may be reluctant to disqualify you if a disqualification would result in the loss of your job or in hardship to an elderly or disabled child or parent who depends upon your licence.
Often, the decision whether or not to disqualify you from driving is a finely balanced dilemma and the representations made to the court on your behalf can often be the deciding factor. You should not underestimate how difficult it can be to make effective representations on your own behalf, especially if you are nervous or unused to speaking in court. Even experienced advocates enlist the services of a solicitor when they find themselves facing disqualification.
The magistrates may not disqualify you and endorse penalty points upon your licence, but unless there are special reasons, they are obliged to do one or the other.
The magistrates may decide to impose three to six penalty points rather than disqualify you from driving.
Automatic Ban For Twelve Or More Penalty Points
If your latest speeding offence will result in the imposition of penalty points that would take you up to or over a total of twelve penalty points, you will be ordered to attend court to face disqualification under the totting up procedure. Drivers ordered to attend court this way are called “Totters”.
A totter must be disqualified for a minimum period of six months unless he/she can establish, to the satisfaction of the magistrates, that he/she would suffer exceptional hardship if he/she were disqualified from driving.
Exceptional hardship is most commonly based upon the potential loss of employment and the effect that would have upon a family but a whole range of circumstances, including the potential effect upon elderly relatives, disabled children or the totter’s own health or mobility could be argued.
If you become a totter, you should seriously consider seeking professional legal advice, especially if your licence is important to you. To argue that you would suffer exceptional hardship, you will need to give evidence on oath and to face cross examination by an experienced Crown Prosecutor - this can be a difficult task if you are unused to giving evidence in court and we can help you prepare for this.
If you need advice regarding a speeding offence, please do not hesitate to contact any of our specialist Criminal Defence lawyers to arrange an appointment at either our Peterborough or Stamford office.