Penalty points are given by courts for some of the traffic offences which fall under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 and the Road Traffic Act 1988. A minimum of 2 points are given for some lesser offences and a maximum of 11 points for more serious offences. Some incidents can result in points being given for multiple occurrences of the same offence, for example for having more than one defective tyre. The majority of offences will land you with 3 or more penalty points.
These points (along with all endorsable offences and disqualifications) will be recorded on your driving licence for 'totting up' purposes for three years, however a longer period must pass before you can apply to the DVLA to have them removed from the licence. The DVLA charge a fee for this process.
You can apply for endorsements to be removed four years from the date of the offence, and for disqualifications four years from the date of conviction. The main exception to this rule is for certain drink-driving offences where the period is 11 years from the date of conviction.
If you receive 12 or more points in a three-year period the court guidelines state that you will be liable to automatic disqualification of at least 6 months. The disqualification period will be at least 12 months if there has been a previous 'totting up' disqualification within three years of the last offence.
Courts have the discretion not to disqualify, or to reduce the period of disqualification, when they consider that mitigating circumstances exist, but the law restricts what they are able to take into account.
They are unable to take into account:
• any circumstance where an individual who has committed the offence try’s to insinuate that the offence was less serious than it actually was
• any circumstance where an individual has already had a conviction resulting in court within the last three years, and the court either did not disqualify or reduced the disqualification period which would otherwise have been imposed at the time
• the Court will not recognise hardship as a mitigating circumstance unless it is exceptional hardship. An exceptional hardship argument must be put forward and it is up to the court to reach a conclusion. The potential loss of a job does not necessarily amount to exceptional hardship. It is strongly advisable to seek expert legal advice before preparing any submission of exceptional hardship.
Find a solicitor specialising in Motoring Offences in the Solicitors Directory