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Totting Up/Exceptional Hardship, Dumfries, 4 January 2017, licence saved

Any driver who accumulates 12 or more points in a 3-year period faces the possibility of a minimum 6-month disqualification under totting-up. The only way to avoid such a disqualification is to argue that it would cause exceptional hardship in terms of section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. This usually means hardship to people other than the accused.

In this case, our client was an international rally driver with his own company and a number of employees. While any actual rallying obviously would take place on closed roads, he still required a driving licence to be able to participate. Large sponsorship deals would have fallen through and therefore his whole business was at stake. People faced losing their jobs and this is a significant factor in arguing that totting-up should be avoided.

The case was slightly unusual because two questions the court usually ask are “can another employee do the task required of the accused” and “can the accused hire someone else to carry out his role”. Clearly in this case the accused’s role was completely unique and it was not viable to suggest someone else could step in! Using photographic and documentary evidence we were able to satisfy the court that this was a case where exceptional hardship arose. Result – licence saved!

This case was prepared and defended by Steven Farmer and was heard at Dumfries Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court on 4 January 2017