Guide to Exceptional Hardship

‘Exceptional Hardship’ is a specific legal term to take into account the fact that the punishment may not fit the crime. It therefore allows the Court to consider your overall circumstances and the effect the punishment may have on others when considering the appropriate punishment.

The exceptional hardship provisions only apply where you are facing disqualification as a totter (i.e you accumulate 12 or more ‘relevant’ penalty points on your licence). Where totting applies the Court must impose a minimum mandatory period of six months disqualification, unless it can be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that exceptional hardship would follow. If exceptional hardship is shown then the Court can disregard it, reduce any disqualification or choose not to disqualify at all.

Where exceptional hardship is to be argued it is important that proper evidence is put before the Court and we recommend you seek legal advice as soon as possible. It can be very easy to have the information sufficient to argue exceptional hardship but not know how to put it to the Court to get the desired result.

The hardship can generally be broken down into financial and emotional hardship. The Court can consider the hardship that will apply to both you and others (such as employees, your family or relatives you help care for). Where exceptional hardship is found the same reasons cannot be used again within 3 years, so it can be just as important to have a record of why it was found that exceptional hardship applied as the fact that the Court decided to reduce sentence as a result of this.

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