Disqualification & ‘Exceptional Hardship”
There are a number of Road Traffic Offences which can result in penalty points being imposed upon your licence. If you accumulate 12 or more penalty points, the Court must disqualify you from driving for a minimum period of 6 months unless you can demonstrate to the Court that you will suffer ‘exceptional hardship’ as a result of any period of disqualification. Here at Oxley & Coward we have a strong record of defending people who are at risk of losing their driving licence. It is important that you contact us as soon as you are aware that you are at risk of being disqualified, so that we can discuss the options with you, guide you through the process, and gather any appropriate evidence to present to the court.
‘Exceptional hardship’ is not defined in law, but must be hardship which is over and above the hardship which will inevitably be caused to any person who is disqualified from driving for a period of time.
Drink & Drug Impaired Driving
A conviction for drink driving will result in a mandatory minimum 12 month disqualification and a significant financial penalty. This alone can have disastrous consequences if you rely upon your driving licence for work. However it is important to note that the period of disqualification can be considerably higher if your breath, blood or urine sample shows that you have a high level of alcohol in your system, and the courts can impose a community penalty or even a prison sentence in very serious cases.
In some cases you may wish to challenge a prosecution, if for example you were not driving the vehicle at the material time, or if there is some discrepancy in the alcohol testing procedure. We can advise you on all aspects of the case and can mitigate on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.
Recent changes in legislation, coupled with advanced blood screening techniques mean that prosecutions for drug impaired driving are likely to become much more commonplace in the near future. We can assist you by providing advice about any potential defences, and if necessary by obtaining independent forensic reports to challenge police evidence. It is essential that you contact us at the earliest stage of any investigation so that we can provide the appropriate advice and guidance throughout the investigation and any subsequent court proceedings.
Causing death by Careless or Dangerous Driving
Few of us think about the potential consequences we could face if we were involved in a car accident which led to the death of another person, but the reality is that this could happen to anybody who drives a motor vehicle. If a person dies in a road traffic accident a police investigation will take place and the police will likely try to apportion responsibility. If you find yourself the subject of a police investigation it is essential that you seek expert advice at the earliest opportunity. The penalties which you would face if you were convicted of either of these offences are severe and can include lengthy prison sentences. We can advise you in relation to possible defences, and we can instruct expert witnesses to assist you in putting forward your defence
Careless driving is any driving which falls below the standard which can be expected of a competent driver, and dangerous driving is any driving which falls far below that standard.
If you are a driver who has passed your test within the last 2 years then you are subject to different rules to those who have held their driving licence for longer periods. The DVLA will revoke your licence if you accumulate 6 or more penalty points within your probationary period, and you will not be able to argue that you will suffer ‘exceptional hardship’. If you are in this position and you are worried about having your licence revoked then contact us for expert advice.
Removal of Disqualification
The law allows any person who has been disqualified for an extended period of time to apply to court for early removal of that disqualification. The rules around such an application can be complicated, but you can only apply for early removal of disqualification if you were disqualified for a period of 2 years or more.
In considering whether to remove your disqualification the court will take into account your recent behaviour and any other factors which it considers relevant. We can help advise you on your prospects of success and the types of evidence which should be presented to the court to assist in the application.