In certain cases such as drink driving, speeding and driving without insurance, the Court has no alternative but to impose points or disqualify a driver if they plead guilty or are found guilty of an offence.
The exception to this is if there are found to be ‘Special Reasons’ as to why a person should not have their licence endorsed with points or be disqualified. A Special Reasons argument is not the same as pleading not guilty: Instead it is similar to saying “I committed the offence but I had a good reason for doing so”. Only if the Court agrees that there are Special Reasons, does it have discretion to waive the penalty points or disqualification.
It is important that you understand the law before attempting to put forward an argument as you’ll only get one chance. Yes, you can appeal, but the reality is appearing in the Crown Court is a far more daunting and potentially costly experience than getting it right first time in the Magistrates’ Court.
You’ll need to give evidence on oath when presenting your case and may need to provide documentary evidence to support your case. If you think you may have a Special Reasons argument but would like representation or just some guidance, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give honest advice as to the prospects of success of your case so you can make an informed decision of whether to proceed.
Examples of Special Reasons Arguments
The Courts have accepted these arguments in the past:
- Ignorance as to consumption of alcohol
- Very short distance driven
- Ignorance of a medical condition
- Unexpected and genuine emergency which compelled the person to drive
- Genuine risk of serious harm
- The insurance company cancelled the insurance and didn’t inform the policy holder
- Being told by a parent that they were insured to drive
Bear in mind the above list contains examples and is not exhaustive.
If the court finds special reasons, will there be no penalty?
If the court finds special reasons, it gives them the discretion not to disqualify or endorse a licence. If the court doesn’t feel it is appropriate, it can choose not to exercise its discretion.
You should also note that the court usually still imposes a financial penalty and orders costs even if the argument is successful.
What happens at the hearing?
The hearing will be similar to a trial. This means you’ll have to give evidence on oath and face cross-examination by a prosecutor as well as questions from the Magistrates.
For these reasons, it’s important to be prepared.