Penalty points and disqualification under totting-up can be avoided if you can establish that there are Special Reasons for non-endorsement or that loss of your licence and the ability to drive will cause Exceptional Hardship. It may also be possible to persuade the court to impose a short term period of disqualification rather than the minimum period of 6 months under totting-up.
In some circumstances it may be possible to establish that there are Special Reasons why your licence should not be endorsed with penalty points. Special Reasons must be connected with the offence and explain why the offence was committed. Examples might include:
Driving in an emergencyDriving to escape dangerDriving a very short distanceDriving with an unknown defect
An application for Exceptional Hardship is an opportunity to establish that the loss of your licence and ability to drive will cause Exceptional Hardship. Unlike Special Reasons, Exceptional Hardship takes into account the impact that disqualification is likely to have on you and those around you. Circumstances amounting to Exceptional Hardship may include:
Loss of employmentLoss of businessLoss of homeImpact on family membersImpact on other persons
Short Term Disqualification
In some circumstances it may be possible to persuade the court to consider dealing with an offence by imposing a short term period of disqualification. A short term period of disqualification is one which is less than 56 days. Accordingly, an offence that would ordinarily attract penalty points can instead be dealt with by way of a short term ban. Unlike disqualification under totting-up any live points would remain on the licence until their third anniversary. A short term ban may be attractive to someone who is facing disqualification for a minimum period of 6 months under totting-up.
Discretionary disqualification can be imposed for any offence where the court considers that penalty points are inadequate to reflect the gravity of the offence. There is no minimum or maximum period of disqualification and the court can impose any period it considers to be appropriate. In practice it is not uncommon for discretionary disqualification to range between 1 and 5 months. Discretionary disqualification may be attractive to someone who is facing a ban under totting-up for a minimum period of 6 months. Where a driver is subject to a discretionary disqualification he will not receive penalty points and any existing points will remain on the licence until their third anniversary.