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Exceptional Hardship & Totting Up 12 Penalty Points

We are Specialist Exceptional Hardship Solicitors

By law if you accumulate 12 or more penalty points within a three year period you will be summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court and face disqualification for a minimum period of 6 months. This is commonly known as a “totting up” disqualification.

Motorists finding themselves in this position can make an application to the court not to disqualify on the grounds of “exceptional hardship”, which is best described as “real hardship”. Exceptional hardship will usually involve real hardship to the motorist or third parties who will be affected. Examples include:

  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of home
  • Disability
  • Inability to care for a loved one
  • Risk of redundancies

Courts are often sceptical of applications for exceptional hardship and will investigate any request not to disqualify. It is therefore important that any application is thoroughly prepared and presented, along with appropriate supporting evidence.

At Caddick Davies Solicitors we specialise in applications for exceptional hardship and understand that the prospect of losing your licence with all of the associated consequences for your employment, home and loved ones can be daunting.

We have an impressive record for successfully arguing exceptional hardship and avoiding disqualification on behalf of our clients.

If you find yourself in this position, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

Below you will find a wealth of helpful information on “Totting Up” and “Exceptional Hardship” Law, How We Can Help  and also Answers to Commonly Asked Questions.

"Totting Up" and "Exceptional Hardship" Law

Disqualification for "totting up" 12 penalty points 

If a motorist accumulates 12 or more penalty points within 3 years, then a court is required by law to impose a disqualification for a minimum of 6 months (the minimum disqualification period is a minimum of 12 months if a motorist has a prior disqualification of 56 days or more within the last 3 years and 2 years if they have 2 disqualifications of 56 days or more).

These penalty points are calculated by going 3 years back from the offence date (you ignore the date of any court appearance or conviction).

If you are unsure whether as the result of an offence you will accumulate 12 points and become a “totter” and liable to disqualification, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

Meaning of Exceptional Hardship 

The term “exceptional hardship” is not defined by legislation, however through case law it is generally accepted that it means real hardship and hardship which goes beyond the ordinary.

Whether or not the facts of a case amount to exceptional hardship will be down to the discretion of the magistrates, however common examples of exceptional hardship include:

Loss of Employment
Loss of Home
Disability (need for a licence)
Inability to care for loved ones
Redundancy or risk of business failure

If you find yourself accumulating 12 penalty points and feel that it would cause you exceptional hardship, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

Procedure for Exceptional Hardship 

In order to avoid disqualification on the grounds of exceptional hardship” the motorist must make an application to the court.

During the course of this application it will be for the motorist to prove on a “balance of probabilities” that his disqualification will cause “exceptional hardship”.

In order to prove their case the motorist is required to produce evidence of the exceptional hardship before the court which will include them giving on oath of the hardship that will result from disqualification. When giving evidence on oath the motorist will be open to questioning and cross examination by the prosecutor (Crown Prosecution Service or Police), the courts Legal Advisor and the magistrates.

In addition to the motorist giving evidence, it is open to them to produce supporting documents and evidence from other parties.

If you have “totted up” 12 penalty points and wish to make an application for “exceptional hardship”, please contact for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

Specialist Exceptional Hardship Solicitor Representation

How we can help 

At Caddick Davies Solicitors we specialise in the representation of motorists who have “totted up” 12 penalty points and face being disqualified from driving.

We have successfully represented hundreds of motorists and avoided their disqualification on the grounds of “exceptional hardship”.

We pride ourselves on the results we achieve and so if you find yourself facing up a penalty points (“totting up”) disqualification, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

Commonly Asked Questions About "Totting Up" and Exceptional Hardship

Why does Caddick Davies Solicitors have such a high success rate? 

Our success in arguing exceptional hardship and saving clients’ licences is as a result of our three cardinal rules:

1.We never take a case unless we believe we can win.

2.We represent you at court. We are not a referral agency, we are specialist solicitors and will undertake all work on your behalf.

3.We help you prepare your case and obtain supporting documentation. We do not simply take your money and then ask you to meet us at court. We will be with you every step of the way in order to ensure that by the time of your court appearance your case is thoroughly prepared and that you are comfortable with the court procedure.

If you have “totted up” 12 penalty points and wish to make an application for “exceptional hardship”, please contact for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

Do I need to attend court to ask for exceptional hardship? 

Yes.

When you are liable to disqualification from driving on the grounds of accumulating 12 points or “totting up”, the court will require your attendance and you will be required to give evidence on oath in person if you wish to ask the court not to disqualify you on the grounds of exceptional hardship.

If you have “totted up” 12 penalty points and wish to make an application for “exceptional hardship”, please contact for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

What do we mean by supporting documentation? 

Anybody is capable of telling a court on oath that they will lose their employment if they lose their job or indeed that their life will be made more difficult. This is not exceptional hardship and it is for you to prove that people will be negatively effected or more properly, that they will suffer “exceptional hardship” if you lose your employment and your income.

In order to do this we will advise you on obtaining supporting letters from those who will be effected by the loss of your licence. This might include advising you to obtain a letter from your partner, your employee, an elderly relative who you assist or anybody who may be effected by the loss of your licence.

We will advise you as to the type of information which should be provided and even the layout of the letter, as we appreciate that this could be a daunting task.

It is this preparation which sets us apart as specialists in this area and allows us to maintain our record of success.

If you have “totted up” 12 penalty points and wish to make an application for “exceptional hardship”, please contact for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

I have already argued exceptional hardship once, can I argue it again? 

Yes, but in limited circumstances.

Exceptional hardship may only be argued once every three years on the same grounds. This means that in many cases, if you have argued exceptional hardship in the prior three years you will not be allowed to argue it again and will be disqualified.

In some cases however, it can be argued and the onus is on the defence to prove this, that the grounds argued are “new grounds” and they had not been argued before the court on the earlier occasion.

If you are in this position, we can contact the court and obtain the original notes from your earlier sentencing hearing to determine what grounds were accepted by the court as exceptional hardship and will then discuss your case with you in the hope of identifying new grounds. If these new grounds are then accepted by the court as amounting to exceptional hardship, then the court will again exercise its discretion not to disqualify you.

In such cases it is always worth contacting us to discuss your case, as in motoring law there is no such thing as a lost cause.

If you have “totted up” 12 penalty points and wish to make an application for “exceptional hardship”, please contact for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help.

Case Study

Mr White (name changed for confidentiality), contacted us being concerned that he was going to lose his license because of his accumulation of penalty points. He had acquired 9 points all by way of fixed penalty notices for very minor speeding offences and now was due to appear before Bedford Magistrates Court for a further offence of using a mobile phone which would add a further 3 points and would require the court to consider disqualifying him.

He explained that he was a company director, employing 26 people in the IT industry. He was therefore a successful and wealthy may and was concerned that there was no prospect of avoiding his disqualification. He did however, explain that the loss of his license would mean that in a difficult economic climate his business may suffer and that he had already had to make redundancies. He also explained that he had relocated in order to live with and care for his elderly mother who suffered a heart condition and was immobile.

After discussing the case with Mr White in detail and obtaining supporting letters from people such as his Co-director, accountant, employees, brother and mother, we were able to present a strong case for exceptional hardship to the court.

After a period of deliberation, the magistrates returned and agreed that the loss of his license would cause exceptional hardship and therefore agreed that he would not be disqualified.

Mr White, Company Director, Walsall, West Midlands