Question I’m a salesman and drive around 40,000 miles a year. I have a summons for speeding at 95mph on a motorway on 15 March and am due in court on 25 April. I already have nine points on my licence and the first three of those points were ordered by the court three years ago on 4 May, but the speeding offence at that time was actually committed on 10 March. My boss tells me that I will be banned from driving for six months unless I can persuade the court that I will lose my job, which might very well be the case. Has he got this right?
Answer So far as totting up your penalty points is concerned, no, your boss is wrong. You would face a disqualification if you accumulate 12 points within a three year period, but your boss seems to have used the wrong dates to work this out. The court must, with very few exceptions, endorse your licence with between three and six penalty points for speeding, so even the minimum points would bring your total points on your licence to 12. Points are, however, only counted if the dates of all the offences fall within the three years. Your boss seems to have based his sums on dates of conviction because the first conviction was on 4 May three years ago and potentially the upcoming conviction would be on 25 April, making 12 points within three years. When you look at the dates of the offences, your first was on 10 March, three years ago, while the latest happened on 15 March, so only points going back from 15th March count. The first three points on your licence are therefore disregarded and any points fewer than six this time around will still keep you below 12 points. Driving at 95mph on a motorway (assuming the usual 70mph limit was in force) puts you at risk of four to six points and this could be at the top end (thereby potentially totting up the crucial 12 points) if there were aggravating factors such as poor road or weather conditions, towing a caravan or trailer, carrying passengers or a heavy load, driving for ‘hire or reward’ (basically being a taxi driver), or particularly bad driving apart from speed. Your boss is right about disqualification being for a minimum of six months for totting up 12 points in three years, but this would be increased where previous disqualifications are taken into account. It is not quite right to say that you would not be disqualified if the court knew that would cause you to lose your job. The court would have to be persuaded that you would suffer exceptional hardship and then they have a discretion to say whether or not that should result in no disqualification or a reduced disqualification. Despite current hard economic times, losing your job is not automatically regarded as exceptional hardship. You would be well advised to be represented by a solicitor or barrister at your court hearing.
Designed by solicitors, tested by barristers and available around the clock, Road Traffic Representation is an online legal system that allows people accused of a motoring offence to get free advice on how the law will be applied in their case, and referral to a telephone helpline and representation by a barrister in court if required. Practising solicitor Martin Langan spent two years designing the system and creating the data repository which allows the software to analyse road traffic offences with the same authority as a solicitor.