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Current laws dictate that if you amass 12 penalty points on your licence over a period of three years, then you should be subjected to an automatic disqualification. This disqualification can last for a period of six months up to several years, depending on whether you have been disqualified before and, if so, how long ago it occurred. Despite the fact that penalty points only accumulate for three years, and can be removed from your licence after four years, insurance companies can ask for details of offences committed over the past five years.
Points On Your Licence
This means that getting any number of points on your licence can lead to an increase in your insurance premiums, and if you have previously been disqualified then you may find it very difficult to get insurance at all. However, there are some cases where it may be possible to keep your licence and not endure a disqualification, if it can be proven to the courts that you, or somebody close to you, would endure exceptional hardship as a result of that disqualification.
Totting Up Disqualification
Disqualification under the totting up procedure is meant as a means of punishment and, as such, the courts do expect that you will suffer some degree of hardship. Even if you can legitimately say that you will lose your job if you lose your licence, the courts may not consider this to be an exceptional hardship. With that said, if you can show that you would lose your job, and that this would lead to you losing your home, then the courts may consider this enough.
Even if exceptional hardship can be proven, and you are able to keep your licence after amassing 12 points, those points will still remain on your licence. This means that you will have to declare them to insurers. Some insurance companies simply will not take a risk on drivers that have accumulated this many points over a relatively short space of time, and they may be unable to quote. Those that do quote will quote a higher rate than they would for fewer or no points, because their underwriters recognise that you are a higher risk.
The ideal position, then, is to contest or defend the original offence, if that is possible. If the original case is acquitted then this means that you will not suffer the addition of penalty points on your licence in the first place, so you will not reach the 12 points. While you may still have some points that insurance companies consider, this should be preferable and you should find it easier to get insurance than if you had more points.
Proving Exceptional Hardship
Proving exceptional hardship can be difficult, and what you believe to be excessive, the courts may not. As such, you should enlist the help of a professional and experienced motoring offence lawyer, who will be able to assist by initially defending your case, and by putting together an exceptional hardship or special reasons argument, if one exists. It could save you from disqualification.