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Exceptional Hardship Driving Ban – What You Need To Know

Motorists facing a driving ban either as a direct penalty or a ‘totting up’ disqualification can make an application to the courts for them not to be banned from driving on the grounds of ‘exceptional hardship’.

Grounds for exceptional hardship can be considered if a include genuine loss of employment, loss of living accommodation, disability, inability to care for others or risk of redundancy would arise as a direct result of a driving ban.

Applications of exceptional hardship will be fully investigated before being granted so it’s imperative that drivers that find themselves in the position of needing to take this route, should take proper legal advice. Legal representation from specialist motoring offence solicitors will ensure that any claim is fully prepared and supported in a way that will pass the scrutiny of the Courts.


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today
Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


Motor Defence Lawyers Can Help

At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we have a team of specialist motor defence lawyers that specialise in preparing 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 provide advice and representation for individuals facing driving bans as a result of the totting up of existing penalty points and can support them in preparing and submitting applications for exceptional hardship if the resulting driving ban would severely impact their life, or the life of others that are dependent on their ability to drive.

A specialist motoring offence solicitor will be able to assess your case, advise on your options, and put a strong exceptional hardship application together in order to give you the best chance of avoiding a total driving ban or reducing the length of the ban enforced.

In some cases, professional legal support may also be able to help you to overturn previous driving convictions that have led to a high number of points on your licence which have resulted in you exceeding the total number of points needed before a totting up driving ban is enforced.

From the simplest, to the most complex of cases, we are here to help. We start every enquiry with an informal discussion to get a clear understanding of your circumstances and are here to answer any questions that you may have in confidence.

What Does Exceptional Hardship Mean?

What does exceptional hardship mean?

Exceptional hardship does not have a singular definitive meaning, as any number of circumstances can lead to an individual facing real hardship in their lives. Instead, within the scope of driving offences, exceptional hardship is a legal argument that can be submitted to a Court by a driver or the solicitor representing them. The intended outcome is that the Court will find grounds for exceptional hardship and this will result in the driver avoiding a driving ban, or significantly reduce the duration of the disqualification.

What does exceptional hardship look like? Hardship is very much specific to each individual case and will be based on that person’s professional and personal circumstances. It’s fair to say that anyone being banned from driving will suffer some kind of inconvenience as a result of losing their licence, but this alone isn’t a valid reason to submit an application for exceptional hardship.

Whilst a driving ban may be a mere inconvenience or annoyance to one person, it could be an exceptionally challenging situation for another to deal with. An application for exceptional hardship should therefore only be used when the punishment of losing a driving licence will lead to extraordinary and real hardship being faced by the driver themselves, or those that they are responsible for caring for.

Examples of cases of exceptional hardship include but are not limited to;

  • Loss of employment due to the inability to drive
  • Redundancy or business loss due to inability to drive
  • Severe reduction in income due to inability to drive
  • Loss of accommodation due to inability to drive and make money
  • A disability that requires you to be able to drive
  • Inability to care for a dependent family member or close contact such as taking children to school or taking relatives to medical appointments for example.

If you are faced with the prospect of losing your driving licence, you may feel hard done by, but it is down to the discretion of the Magistrates to determine if the facts submitted in your claim of exceptional hardship are enough to overturn or reduce the driving ban penalty that you are facing.

If you have accumulated 12 penalty points and are facing a driving ban that would cause you exceptional hardship, please contact our friendly team for an informal discussion and advice and how we can help.


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today
Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


Hardship Considerations

Hardship Considerations

If you have dependents such as children or relatives that rely on you for support that requires you to have access to a car, then the Court is more likely to be sympathetic to these needs when considering your application of exceptional hardship.

Making any kind of claim in your application for exceptional hardship must be done truthfully, fairly and will require proper preparation and supporting evidence. In the case of claiming that you need a car to support dependents that rely on you, the Court will fully examine if others might reasonably be able to complete your duties on your behalf for the duration of any forthcoming driving ban.

If using dependents in your application for exceptional hardship to avoid a driving ban, it is up to you and your Solicitor to prove that a driving disqualification will cause ‘exceptional hardship’ to those who are dependent on you with supporting evidence.

When Are You Likely To Receive A Driving Ban?

In the UK, you can be banned, also referred to as ‘disqualified’, from driving if you are convicted of a driving offence that attracts a driving ban penalty, or if you accumulate 12 or more penalty points from multiple offences within three years. If either of these scenarios are triggered, you will get a summons through the post that tells you to go to Court.

New drivers should be aware that the threshold for being banned from driving is lower for them. New drivers will have their licence revoked if they get six or more points within two years of passing their test. If this happens, then drivers will have to take their driving test again, including the theory element, as well as pay for a new provisional licence to be issued.

How Long Can I Be Banned From Driving For?

How long can I be banned from driving for?

If you are considering submitting an exceptional hardship application, it’s likely that you are facing a driving ban due to totting up 12 or more penalty points within a three year period.

The length of the impending ban is up to the Court to determine but is based on your driving record to date, how recently you have faced previous disqualifications, and is subject to a minimum period of disqualification under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

The minimum period is:

  • six months if no previous disqualification is to be taken into account
  • one year if one previous disqualification is to be taken into account
  • two years if more than one previous disqualification is to be taken into account.

A previous disqualification is to be taken into account if it is:

  • not less than 56 days; and
  • imposed within the three years immediately preceding the date on which the current offence (or most recent of the current offences) was committed.

Totting up disqualifications, unlike other disqualifications, erase all penalty points.

What Happens If My Application Is Successful?

If the Court finds grounds for exceptional hardship, you will not lose your driving licence, but the penalty points that you have been issued, will remain on it.

This means that if you are caught committing any kind of motoring offence within the next three years, and are issued with new points as a result, you could still face the prospect of a driving ban again.

If any new points acquired within three years of your successful exceptional hardship claim take you over the 12 penalty point threshold, you will not be able to argue exceptional hardship on the same grounds that you were successful with previously.

This means that unless you can provide new grounds of hardship, you will be likely to face a driving ban second time around.

How To Apply For Exceptional Hardship?

To apply for exceptional hardship in relation to a driving ban, you should instruct the services of a solicitor experienced in motoring offences as early as possible when you have received your Court summons. They will be able to assist you in submitting an application for exceptional hardship to the Court.

Submitting a strong exceptional hardship application takes skill, knowledge of the Courts system, and an ability to highlight key details that the Magistrate is most likely to view in favour of you keeping your driving licence. The process must demonstrate that on a ‘balance of probabilities’ a driving disqualification will cause ‘exceptional hardship’ for the driver or those they are responsible for.

When your case is heard in Court, it is ultimately up to the Magistrate to decide if, based on the strength of the evidence provided and review of the application, whether or not you will face a driving ban.

How Can A Solicitor Help?

How can a solicitor 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.

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

  • We assess the facts of your case and your individual circumstances
  • We can help you put together a strong application for exceptional hardship
  • We provide an experienced defence for you in Court
  • We assist you in compiling evidence and supporting documents that strengthens your application
  • We can support you with and prepare you for an appearance in Court to give evidence that supports your claim.

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

Related Questions

What Is Totting Up?

The phrase totting up refers to the situation where a driver has accumulated 12 or more penalty points on their licence within a period of three years.

12 or more penalty points usually results in a driving ban for a minimum period of six months being issued to the driver. When the 12 penalty point threshold has been breached, a Court hearing is arranged to decide on the outcome of the totting up.

Magistrates have the option of issuing further penalty points and driving bans. If a case for exceptional hardship is being submitted to the Court for consideration, the driver and in some cases additional witnesses will usually need to attend Court to submit evidence that supports their application.

If a driving ban is issued, once the duration of the ban has passed, the driver will get their driving licence back with no points on it.

Do I Need To Attend Court Myself For Exceptional Hardship Claims?

If you are submitting an application of exceptional hardship, or you have instructed your solicitor to do this on your behalf because you are open to a driving ban as a result of accumulating 12 points or more, then yes – you will need to attend Court.

You will appear in Court under oath to provide evidence that supports the claims made to the Court as reasons to consider for not disqualifying you from driving. You will also be open to questioning and cross examination by the CPS, Police, and magistrates.

Can You Make A Claim For Exceptional Hardship More Than Once?

You may be able to make a claim for exceptional hardship on more than one occasion, but only if certain criteria apply. For example, drivers cannot use the same grounds for exceptional hardship more than once in a three year period.

This means that if you are facing a driving ban as a result of totting up 12 points or more and you are able to keep your licence on the grounds of a successful exceptional hardship application, if you then commit further motoring offences that take you over the 12 penalty point threshold within three years, then you will be unable to use the same grounds for exception hardship that you used to keep your licence the first time around.

If you are facing a ‘totting up’ driving ban for a second time within three years of your first, and cannot submit a strong enough case to the Magistrate that uses different examples of hardship than you used previously, then you will be disqualified from driving.

It’s worth noting that an experienced Solicitor may also be able to argue that the grounds presented are indeed ‘new grounds’, even if submitted previously depending on how the evidence was heard in Court in the original case. It therefore always pays to seek professional advice from a motor offence lawyer if you are facing a driving ban due to totting up in a quick succession of your last one.

Exceptional Hardship Vs Early Removal Of Driving Disqualification

If you are unsuccessful in applying for exceptional hardship, you may be able to apply for an early removal of driving disqualification. However, you will have to wait for at least 2 years (depending on the length of your disqualification period) before you can apply for early removal of your driving disqualification.


This article has given you an overview of how an application of exceptional hardship can prevent a driving ban if you have totted up 12 penalty points or more on your driving licence.

In short, if you find yourself facing a driving ban and believe that not being able to drive will have a genuine detrimental affect on your life or others, then you should instruct the services of a motoring defence solicitor who can support you in making a claim of exceptional hardship to the Courts.

A solicitor can:

  • assess your case and advise on the likelihood of a successful hardship claim outcome
  • help you to put together the strongest application for exceptional hardship possible
  • review the option of being able to overturn any previous motoring convictions that have contributed to you exceeding the 12 point threshold and facing a driving ban in the case you have been sentenced too harshly or were not guilty of.
  • provide experienced defence counsel in Court
  • give advice and a no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and explore the ways you can be helped
  • support you in compiling evidence and supporting documents that strengthens your application
  • prepare you for appearing in Court and giving evidence that supports your claim

Caddick Davies has 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

Our leading team of motoring offence solicitors at Caddick Davies have a reputation for success when it comes to defending motorists charged with driving offences. We work with clients all over the UK and are rated in the top 20 law firms on TrustPilot. For efficient and effective legal advice for motoring offences, please get in touch to discuss your case with our friendly team today. 

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies
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