In the UK, motorists have 12 penalty points available to offset against road traffic offences they commit. For each offence, magistrates and courts (or the fixed penalty process) issues points depending on the offence committed.
Many offences including low speed speeding, bald tyres, mobile phone, no seatbelt, etc. attract 3 points, whereas no insurance offences, or failing to name the driver earn you 6 points.
Other more serious offences such as leaving the scene of an accident, failing to stop, dangerous driving etc. have a range of points from 3 – 9 per offence and even a discretionary ban if your offence merits it.
Once you reach 12 points you will be given a 6 month totting up driving ban, however, there are defences that you can use to avoid being banned from driving at this point.
If you are facing totting bans and you accept the accusations then you will be banned from driving, however, there is an option to submit an exceptional hardship defence whereby you inform the court of the hardship that a licence ban will cause to you, your family or dependents.
If you have people that rely upon you for transport then you can be given an exemption from your ban. You can only use one exceptional hardship argument in any 36 month period, and any offences committed after a successful exceptional hardship defence will result in you being banned.
It is also possible for you to plead special reasons and avoid the imposition of points on your licence.
Special reasons can be used if you didn’t mean to commit the offence, for instance if you drove through a red light to get out of the way of emergency vehicles.
Special reasons is commonly used for drink driving defences where your drinks were spiked, or you drove in an emergency, or a very short distance.