The Nations Leading Drink Driving Solicitors

With two decades of motoring offences experience and hundreds of happy clients, we believe Parnell & Peel are ideally placed to obtain the best result for you.

Exceptional Hardship Driving Ban

Exceptional Hardship Driving Ban

What Is An Exceptional Hardship (Driving Ban)?

What is an exceptional hardship ?

Under normal circumstances and under the totting up system, if you were to accumulate 12 or more penalty points within a 3-year period, you would be subject to a 3-year mandatory driving disqualification under Section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

Under Section 35, the minimum period of disqualification is:

  • six months if no previous disqualification is to be taken into account.
  • one year if one previous disqualification is to be taken into account.
  • two years if more than one previous disqualification is to be taken into account.

A previous disqualification will not be taken into account if it was imposed within the three years immediately preceding the date on which the current offence was committed.

In certain circumstances, an application for exceptional hardship can be put forward, where the motorist will give reasons for why the disqualification would bring suffering beyond what an average person would experience in the same circumstances. Once the application has been put forward, the magistrate will determine whether the disqualification is too severe considering the circumstances of the individual. If the magistrate deems that the punishment is too harsh, then the length of the disqualification could be reduced or not enforced.


Examples of exceptional hardship

Loss of employment

Losing one’s job due to not having a driving licence is a common reason we put forward for exceptional hardship. If you work as a truck driver or are required to travel frequently for work, facing a driving disqualification may lead to loss of employment, leading to further consequences such as losing your house and income, causing further suffering to your family and those dependent on you.

Hardship on individuals who rely on your support or care

Many of our clients may be carers to family members or have others who rely on them, and loss of one’s driving licence may cause loss of that support and result in suffering for those who are reliant on the motorist.

Inability to assist with childcare if disqualified

Parents, if disqualified, may not be able to drive their children to extracurricular activities or to school if there is not sufficient public transport, causing excess adversity. For single parents, it may be difficult for them to see their children if they live a long distance away, resulting in negative impacts for the children.

There are many reasons why a driving disqualification would cause hardship and suffering to an individual, but the judge or magistrate will be more accepting in circumstances where suffering is caused to others reliant on the motorist. If you feel as though you have grounds for exceptional hardship, contact us now at 0330 3411690 .


How do we put forward an exceptional hardship application?

Prior to your court hearing, we will thoroughly prepare you and build the foundations of your application by gathering witnesses and relevant evidence showing excess hardship on you or others.

Examples of these could be financial records detailing how loss of employment could result in financial detriment; medical papers for people who you care for; statements from employers confirming your position and why your driving licence would be essential, etc.

Frequently, we find that motorists will put forward exceptional hardship on grounds of termination of employment, but you can imagine how often magistrates are presented with the same argument for exceptional hardship. That’s why we believe it is necessary to present further information detailing the consequences of a driving disqualification, such as negative implications for third parties.

The loss of one’s driving licence may mean loss of occupation but can consequently result in a household losing their main source of income and suffering for those dependent on the motorist, such as his or her children.

Now you can clearly see how the above is more compelling than “But I’ll Lose My Job..


Exceptional hardship outcomes

Once an application for exceptional hardship has been put forward, one of three outcomes will occur:

  • The court recognises your application and does not impose a disqualification.
  • The court recognises the application, but a ban is still imposed, usually for less than the minimum period of six months.
  • The court rejects your application as compelling, and the minimum disqualification of 6 months is imposed.

Within a 3-year period, you are unable to put forward the same grounds for exceptional hardship but can put forward a different reason. Although if argued once, it is important to note that the magistrate will likely be less tolerant in regards to your situation.


Can exceptional hardship be used to avoid a drink-driving disqualification?

The short answer to this would be no. Unlike a totting-up disqualification under Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, drink driving incurs a mandatory 12-month disqualification. If pleading guilty, the only way to avoid a disqualification is to put forward “special” reasons. Special reasons would be extenuating or mitigating circumstances revolving around the offence that, if the magistrate deems them applicable, could result in a reduced disqualification or none at all. Common examples of this would be:

  • Short-distance driving
  • Spike Drinks
  • Emergency situations


Speak to a specialist

If you find yourself dealing with a totting-up disqualification, look no further. For over 16 years, our team at Parnell and Peel has specialised solely in defending motoring offences, with an extensive track record and thousands of licences saved. We believe in providing the most exemplary legal representation to our clients. Click here and see for yourself.

Speak with one of our specialist lawyers in complete confidence and privacy by reaching out to us on  0330 3411690 or complete a Free Online Enquiry. Let’s see if we can build the rapport you need to feel safe and supported at this difficult time.

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What Our Clients Say

“Hi Abdul, I would like to thank you and your team for looking after me after been charged with Drink Driving, from the initial contact with Nancy to speaking to you and especially Keiran who represented me in court, who I can’t thank enough. When I thought there was no hope you and Kieran sorted what I thought was a hopeless case. I would strongly recommend you to anyone in the same position. Again thank you to you and your team.”

Nigel Murray

“My family and friends were sceptical about using Solicitors after I was stopped for drink driving. Parnell & Peel Solicitors were willing take a case on that others told was hopeless. I am astounded by Abdul and his teams brilliance in helping me to avoid conviction. If you have been stopped for drink driving do not hesitate to use Parnell & Peel Solicitors.”

Thomas Mcdonagh

“Stopped for drink driving, I started a dream job, and I could have lost everything, Kieran was brilliant at putting forward detailed legal arguments, which resulted in the prosecution offering no evidence in my case. Unbelievable, Thank you to Parnell & Peel Solicitors.”

Oliver Reith

Pricey but when you have your livelihood at stake definitely worth it. No jargon Abdul was just great at explaining away difficult concepts very easily. The barrister used was also fantastic. They are a great firm.”

Mizlain Walton

Parnell and Peel what can you say. Abdul was amazing meticulous and professional throughout. Great customer care and friendly team. Everything was outstanding. Fantastic team, fantastic result.”

Alina Arten

“It was the worse time of my life. My nephew had made allegation against me. I contacted Parnell and Peel, and from the very first conversation with Abdul, I knew he was the one to help me. Parnell used many experts including psychological ones to show that my nephew was not telling the truth, old phone records were also used to provide me with a defence. I was relieved when the Prosecution dropped by Case. I will forever be grateful to the team at Parnell.”


“Thank You, Thank you. I believed my life had ended. I was falsely accused of Rape and I didn’t know where to turn to. I contacted many solicitors, until deciding upon Parnell. It’s the best decision I ever made. The Prosecution offered no evidence, during the Crown Court hearing.”


“Parnell and Peel are magnificent, not only are they excellent at their jobs, but they are humans. Abdul was truly amazing, as was the whole team. The thought of prison for something I did not do was truly terrifying. Abduls amazing eye for detail saved the day. The prosecution had noty followed the correct procedure, and the witnesses had lied on oath. I was found not guilty”


“Brilliant, absolutely amazing firm. I contacted Abdul, having spoken to other firms, although more expensive, you simply get what you pay for. Attentive, inquisitive, and fantastic in Court, both Abdul and John wo represented me during my trial were excellent. Found not guilty of historic allegations.”