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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS


option to argue that such a ban would cause hardship and try to persuade the Court not to disqualify.


The new guidance gives the Court information on what should be considered. It is now clear that loss of a job and hardship to both that individual and others around them should be consid- ered, but also issues guidance as to what is considered excep- tional and how the court should approach these arguments.


Below is an example of a question that we received on exactly this basis.


DRIVING LICENCES AND BREXIT


On the 31st January the UK left the EU and entered into a transition period, during which rules on driving licences re- mained the same as they always have done. That is that a driver with a UK licence can drive anywhere in the EU and vice versa without having to exchange licences.


However, when the UK leaves the EU at the end of this year things are still very unclear. And the in the event of a no deal direct Brexit things will change quite dramatically.


Without a deal in place it means that a driver with a UK li- cence may not be able to automatically rely on their UK li- cence to drive in the EU, and may need an International driving permit to do so. The driver will have to check with that individual country and their particular laws before driv- ing there.


For EU drivers relying on their EU licence in the UK, in the event of no deal there would no longer be an automatic right to drive in the UK.


Drivers from abroad can currently drive in the UK for 12 months from the date they become resident, after which they either have to exchange the licence for a UK or have to take a UK test, depending on where they come from. It is more than likely that this will happen to EU drivers – there will be a 12 month grace period, after which they would need to take a UK test.


However, until the UK leaves, an EU licence can be exchanged for a UK one, and so we urge people who are planning on re- maining in the UK to exchange their licences before the end of the year to prevent any confusion.


EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP ARGUMENTS


And finally, not necessarily a change in the law, but recently the government have issued guidance and reminders to all Courts in the UK about Exceptional Hardship arguments. An Exceptional Hardship argument is where a driver accumu- lates 12 or more penalty points during a 3-year period and is at risk of a 6-month disqualification. Here the driver has the


NOVEMBER 2020


If you need any advice on motoring matters please email: e.patterson@pattersonlaw.co.uk or call 01626 359 800 for FREE LEGAL ADVICE. For regular updates on road traffic law follow us on: facebook.com/PattersonLawMotoringSolici- tors or twitter.com/Patterson_law_


93


Q A


I have 9 points on my licence already and I’ve just re-


ceived another fixed penalty. If I accept the 3 points is it an automatic ban? I’m a taxi driver and if I lose my licence my husband’s income doesn’t even cover the rent. Is there anything I can do to save my licence?


No, it is not an automatic disqualification. You will have a chance of saving your licence. You won’t be able to accept the fixed penalty. You can only accept a fixed penalty of 3 points and £100 fine if you have less than 9 points on your licence. Even if you tried to accept


it and paid the fine, the police would simply refund you the money.


The matter will proceed to court. In a few months you will be sent a Single Justice Procedure Notice asking you to plead guilty or not guilty. You can either plead not guilty and challenge the evidence (which should be enclosed with the Court papers) or you can plead guilty. The matter will then be listed at Court.


If you have entered a guilty plea the Court will list the matter to consider disqualifying you from driving for “totting” 12 points during three years. You must attend that hearing.


However the Court has the discretion not to disqualify if they consider that a disqualification would cause you exceptional hardship.


If you instruct us we will get to work right away. We will begin preparing your argument early. The court are less likely to dis- qualify you if they believe that a 6-month ban would cause hardship not just to you but those around you as well. So the argument would be based around the fact that if you lost your licence you would lose your job, and that your husband’s in- come would not be enough to subsidise the family. We would start preparing supporting documents, such as a signed letter from your husband, bank statements and copies of your rental agreements. They are not easy arguments to present and it’s important that we are thoroughly prepared.


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