A “totting up ban” is an automatic driving ban that happens when a driver accumulates twelve or more driving licence penalty points within a three-year period. This will result in a minimum of a six-month driving ban.
Different types of motoring offences will have a different number of penalty points. For example, a minor speeding offence is usually three penalty points whilst a dangerous driving offence can give a driver eleven penalty points.
If a driver commits a number of different driving offences, the penalty points will start to add up. If a driver reaches twelve or more penalty points within a three-year period, the driver will automatically be disqualified from driving. This is called a totting up ban.
What happens when you collect 12 or more points?
Your case will be referred to the court, after which you will receive a court summons via the post. During the court hearing, the court will decide whether to impose a totting up ban and how long your ban should last for. If you wish to defend the charge, you will have to attend court in person with your legal representation. However, you can also ask one of our solicitors to attend court on your behalf.
If I wish to defend my totting ban, how do I do this?
If you wish to defend the charge to avoid the totting up ban, you can put forward one of three arguments:
- Argue special reasons,
- Successfully defend the allegations,
- Plead exceptional hardship.
The first option is to argue a case of special reasons. This is where a driver admits that they have committed a driving offence, but this was only because of mitigating circumstances. For example, the driver will admit to running a red light, but this was due to a medical emergency. If a driver can successfully argue this that the penalty points should not be imposed, then it is possible that the driver will prevent being issued a totting up ban.
The second option is to successfully defend against the allegations. There are lots of ways to defend a motoring offence which can be further discussed with one of our solicitors. There are times when a driver has received a Fixed Penalty Notice or was charged by the police when the allegations have been incorrect. A driver might have a technical defence, or a driver might have another defence. For example, the driver may be the registered keeper of the vehicle involved in the offence but was not driving at the time of the alleged offence. If a driver can establish their innocence, or undermine the prosecution’s case, the points cannot be awarded. Again, this would allow a driver to prevent having a totting up ban issued to them.
Lastly, you can plead exceptional hardship.
What is exceptional hardship?
Exceptional hardship is when a driving ban on a driver would cause hardship for others. There is no set definition of exceptional hardship in law, but it has to be more than a measly annoyance or inconvenience. Exceptional hardship is the most common way to avoid a totting up ban. However, the burden is on the driver to prove that a driving ban would cause others to suffer.
For example, if an individual loses their driving licence, they might not be able to travel to work and will therefore fall behind in rent or mortgage payments. Or losing their driving licence might mean that they will not be able to visit and care for an elderly relative. You might take a family member to all of their medical appointments which requires a driving licence.
If the court accepts that a driving ban would cause exceptional hardship, the totting up ban may be waived, or reduced in length.
If I do receive the ban, how long does will stay on my driving licence?
A totting up ban will stay on your licence for four years from the date of conviction. The three-year period is measured from the date of the offences, not the date of conviction or sentencing. If you accumulate twelve points on your driving licence, you are liable for a six-month driving licence disqualification.
What happens if some of my penalty points are due to expire? Will this mean I can avoid the totting up ban?
Unfortunately, no. Despite the possibility that some of your penalty points expired by the time you received a court summons, this will have no bearing on the court’s decision. The court will consider the number of penalty points that were on your licence on the date of the offence, so points that have since expired will have no effect.
There are guidelines for sentencing but the courts are able to exercise discretion when making decisions. This means that the court could decide to issue a shorter driving ban. For example, the fact that a driver has no previous driving convictions might be given a three-month driving disqualification if the courts believe that is the appropriate sentence. However, this also means that the courts can give a lengthier disqualification too.
What happens if I am a new driver? Is the limit still 12 penalty points?
For new drivers who passed their driving test in the previous two years, the rules are different. New drivers will have their licence revoked if they collect six or more penalty points on their licence. So, for example if a new driver is caught doing two minor speeding offences, it could mean that the driver gets six penalty points and therefore receives an automatic disqualification.
Once the totting up ban has ended, a provisional driving licence will be issued to the new driver. The new driver will need to re-take both the theory and practical driving tests to then receive a full driving licence again.
What happens to the penalty points when I regain my full driving licence again after being banned?
When you receive your new full driving licence, it will not be wiped clean of the penalty points that you received to lose your licence in the first place. Instead, the penalty points will remain valid on there until the required amount of time has run out which is usually four years.
Will I get reminded of when the driving ban ends?
Yes, the DVLA will send you a reminder form fifty-six days before your driving ban is due to end.
How can we help?
If you have been charged with driving whilst uninsured, we are here to help. We can provide you with our expert defence team to represent your case in court and help you avoid a potentially damaging criminal record.
We will look at all the facts of the accusation and decide what defence against the driving offence is best for your case. This will also include everything from the facts of the case all the way to whether your actions amounted to a criminal act.
Our team of litigators and advocates have many years of experience analysing complex factual scenarios and applying them to often novel areas of law. This ensures that we get the best possible results for our clients. Please do not hesitate to call us on 0208 059 0010 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to get expert legal advice for you and your case.