What exactly is a Totting Up Ban, and what options do I have to challenge it?
Any driving-related penalty points you obtain will stay on your licence for three years, but they won’t be removed until four years have passed after the violation was committed.
The penalty points you receive for each offence are added up if you are caught driving while intoxicated more than once in a three-year period. The Court will revoke your licence to drive if you receive 12 penalty points on your licence within this time period; but, if you have previously lost your licence for driving, the court may extend this amount of time. ‘Totting Up’ is the term used to describe the accumulation of 12 or more penalty points.
Are you in danger of losing your licence to drive due to Totting Up rules?
- In the last three years, have you received 12 or more penalty points?
- Do you now have 9 points and will receive 3 more for a new offence?
- Do you have an offence that will probably result in you reaching the 12-point threshold after the points are assessed?
How can someone prevent Totting Up Ban?
- Verify that all points were accrued within the three-year time frame. Points remain on a driver’s record for four years, but only three years contribute towards the Totting Up.
- Verify the date of the violation. The date of the offence will be taken into consideration by the court. It makes no difference if the offence was committed while the driver had nine points and some of those points no longer count by the time the case reaches justice. The offence’s date is crucial information.
- You cannot accept a fixed penalty offer (often three points and a £60 fine) if your licence already has nine points on it and you commit another endorsable crime. It’s still possible that the Police gave you this in error. It will be noted that you are susceptible to Totting Up after you make an attempt to pay the imposed penalty, and the case will then be brought before the court.
Timeframes: Are totting up bans subject to a certain amount of time?
The Procurator Fiscal has six months from the offending date to file your case in court with regard to any traffic violation. In the absence of this, the lawsuit may be dismissed since it may be too late. A time-barred case may be legally challenged.
What should I do if the police issue a fixed penalty or a notice of intended prosecution?
- You cannot formally accept the Fixed Penalty if you are facing a Totting Up ban. You’ll have to go before the court. This is due to the possibility of your disqualification and the need for a court to review your case.
- You need to mention who was the car’s driver. Failure to identify the driver is a different offence that you can commit if you don’t do this (S.172 Road Traffic Act 1988).
What exactly are Fixed Penalty Notices?
The fixed penalty system is covered in Part 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act of 1988. You will often receive a Fixed Penalty Notice if you have committed an endorsable driving violation, are stopped by a police officer, and provide your driving licence and counterpart at the time. Typically, this means 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. Certain violations are non-endorsable, and if it’s a small traffic violation (such as driving without a seatbelt), there won’t be any penalty points assessed.
You won’t be able to publicly accept the Fixed Penalty offer if you are facing Totting Up.You must appear before the court. This is due to the possibility of your disqualification and the need for a Court to review your case. Instead, the Procurator Fiscal will send you a Notice of Intended Prosecution. A citation with a court appearance date will come a few months later.
Will ‘Totting Up’ result in my disqualification?
You risk losing your licence if the penalty points from a driving violation push you onto or above the 12-point threshold. This disqualification will typically begin the day the court suspends you and last for six months. All penalty points on your licence will be deleted after the ban expires, so you won’t need to retake the exam; instead, you’ll just get your licence back and be able to drive again.
What other choices do I have?
The two choices you typically have when dealing with a potential “Totting Up” disqualification are “Exceptional Hardship” and “Short-term Disqualification.” The Court may take into account either of these choices, but only after a guilty plea has been offered.
What does a short-term ban mean?
For instance, let’s say the police pull you up for speeding while you already have 9 points on your driver’s licence. A 30 mph zone is violated by your 42 mph speed. Since you now risk disqualification and three more points will push you over the “totting up” maximum of 12, the police are unable to issue the standard fixed penalty citation (£100 and three points).
The police will notify you that they won’t write you a ticket but instead will submit the incident to the Procurator Fiscal. A few months later, you receive a citation in the mail with a court date, at which point you must decide what to do. In this case, let’s assume that losing your licence will result in your losing your employment.
Another choice is to request a short-term disqualification rather than the standard six-month suspension from the court. This is a suspension of at most 56 days. The biggest advantage is that the prohibition is significantly shorter and is a time frame people can live within or work around.
The nine points remain on your driving record, which is a disadvantage. Unlike a “totting up” ban, since your points are reset to zero once the suspension expires, this ban does not last long. In Scotland, courts are occasionally slow to accept short-term restrictions, but this has changed significantly in recent years.
What does exceptional Hardship mean?
By making an exceptional hardship case, our Solicitor might be able to assist you in keeping your licence. In order for this to work, more hardship than normally occurs must be experienced as a result of disqualification. It must be extraordinary. Loss of employment alone is usually insufficient to prove extreme hardship because you will need to show the Court that being disqualified will have an impact on more than just you personally.
If this ban will have an impact on your family members, you will need to show that it will have a very significant, not simply inconvenient, impact. The Court won’t consider using a bus or train to get around to things as an “exceptional” burden.
You can try to make the “Exceptional Hardship” argument if the ban will have an adverse effect on the operation of your own business or the business you work for, if other workers would lose jobs if you can’t drive, or if your job is so specialised that only a small number of individuals in the country can perform it. But it’s important to keep in mind that there is a tough legal standard you must pass in order to successfully demonstrate Exceptional Hardship.
You will typically need documentation proof to support your case, and you often have to present oral testimony in court together with the testimony of witnesses who can attest to the facts you are arguing for.
If you are successful, the points will still be added to your licence but there won’t be any suspension time.
Please keep in mind that the majority of traffic violations will result in a fine. Usually, fines are between £100 and £750. The fine may be paid in full at once or in weekly instalments.
What exactly are “Special Reasons”?
You can ask the court to set up a special reasons proof hearing if you face Totting up. Following your guilty plea to the charge, this is demanded. This hearing puts off any disqualification and gives you a chance to present proof before the judge that there are “special reasons” your licence shouldn’t be endorsed with points.
The possibility of losing your job or inconvenience are not Special Reasons. Neither are your personal circumstances. The “special reasons” must be connected to the offence or its characteristics. This often involves sophisticated legal arguments. Special Reasons Proofs are challenging and require careful planning to be successful. In certain situations, the legal standard is very high.
How much time does it take to get to court?
Within six months after the offending date, the Procurator Fiscal must legitimately issue a citation on you with a court date. In the event that this does not take place, your case may be time-barred and a legal challenge may be brought on your behalf.
Can I put off the process so that I can keep my licence for a while?
Yes. You have the option of rejecting the fixed penalty offer.
You can disregard this if the police have just handed you a slip (often pink) offering you 3 points and a £60 fine. If you are cited to the court during the next six months, you can then “Wait and See”. You should be warned that if the Court determines you contributed to the delay by postponing the matter, the Court may ultimately treat you slightly harsher. This additional punishment is unlikely to be overly severe and typically takes the form of a higher monetary fine rather than more points, etc.
A “Wait and See” policy is frequently something to think about. Many times, cases are not summoned to court within the allotted six months. This policy obviously carries risk, thus it needs to be carefully studied. There is no assurance that the case won’t just be summoned to court right now. Each case must be assessed individually, but it should be taken into account when facing the possibility of a prohibition, a loss of work, etc.
Can I postpone the possibility of a ban once my case is heard in court?
Yes. The case can go on for around two months without a plea. After that, you may declare your innocence. This will add another three to four months to the case’s postponement. By doing this, you’ll keep your job and be able to organise your affairs.
Now what do I need to do?
Although more petitions for Exceptional hardship are denied than approved, contacting a lawyer with expertise in the field will give you a real possibility of success. Every day, SGT Law Firm representatives appear in court to address traffic violations. It is advised that you get in touch with us right away to hire a lawyer. Within 24 hours, we can typically offer you a free initial consultation.
Is ‘Totting Up’ eligible for Legal Aid?
We are registered to provide legal aid by the Scottish Legal Aid Board and are members of The Law Society of Scotland. In certain situations, legal aid might be accessible. You should be aware that legal aid is rarely offered in many circumstances involving either exceptional hardship or requests for short-term disqualification. Between £500 and $1000 in fees should be planned for. Fees may be paid in instalments over a predetermined time period, and we have set payment alternatives.
The five latest cases that SGT Law Firm has handled are listed below. These are all great examples of how the courts view “exceptional hardship” and “short-term bans.”
- A physician was in danger of being totted up. She is an expert in her industry and one of just 18 medical professionals in Scotland who specialises in a specific branch of radiology. She was on call once every 11 days and lived 25 miles from the hospital. She might be called out at all hours of the night to check on accident victims. She participated in pre-cancer screening programmes as well. She had to respond quickly to calls for help. The court ruled that there was no disqualification because Exceptional Hardship was obvious.
- a single mother who lived in a remote area outside of Glasgow. Her home was 20 minutes’ walk from the train station, which ran every hour. There were no close-by bus stops. She had no family nearby who could assist her. Her oldest child was in the middle of her secondary school’s Higher exams. Her younger child was an avid rugby player who trained twice a week after school and competed at a high youth level. The application was submitted under the assumption that the eldest child’s Higher exams might be impacted since they would have to use public transit to travel to school and to the exam locations on their own. They might arrive late for their tests. The court ruled that a temporary prohibition should not be applied because this was not a particularly Exceptional Hardship. She was barred for six months. The nature of the violations on the clients’ prior driving record was taken into consideration by the court.
- an English businessman who travels and works around Scotland. He travels more than 40,000 miles for work each year. He was in his mid-50s and resided in a rural village in the south of England, 25 miles from the closest large town. Given his old age, there was a genuine possibility that the client might have difficulty finding employment. Moreover, it would have an effect on the contracts he supervised around the country. He has a stellar job history and logs a lot of miles each year. His employer provided references to substantiate that he would be fired if given a six-month suspension. He was not disqualified because the court found that Exceptional Hardship was present.
- A cab driver was hired specifically to transport students with learning disabilities to and from school. Due to specific issues, the kids did not respond well to change. For the kids, a change in the driver would be highly important and have an impact. The contract with the local authority was verified by documents that were obtained and filed with the court. A coworker provided data regarding the particulars of the job being done and the potential effects on children should our client’s ability to drive prevent him from completing the contract. The judge ruled that there was no disqualification and that Exceptional Hardship was clearly present.
Should I handle the driving offence issue myself or how much would a lawyer cost?
Many traffic-related issues are pretty simple, and in some cases, they can be resolved without the need for legal representation. However, any accused individual will greatly benefit from having a lawyer by their side when facing Totting Up. Contact SGT Law Firm, we offer a free initial consultation.