Stanley, a ‘totter’ on 9 points at the time of his most recent speeding offence, faced an immediate 6 month disqualification if the court did not find that hardship of an exceptional nature would be caused – to him and/or those closest to him – as a result of such a disqualification.
However, Stanley had instructed Steve, of Forrest Williams Legal Ltd, to represent him at his hearing as he knew how hard a 6 month disqualification from driving would hit not just him but also his elderly parents, who both have complex health issues. Stanley told motoring lawyer Steve that he wanted to try to avoid the disqualification as he felt his parents would be badly affected by his inability to drive for an extended period of time.
Stanley, who works as a teacher in a local school, actually asked Steve to stress to the court that he was not worried for himself but for his parents. His father, who is suffering from dementia and resides in a nursing home, has other serious health problems which mean Stanley is often called out to the home, or the hospital, at very short notice.
Stanley told Steve that he is the only person his father now recognises, and that his presence is the only thing that can calm his father down when he is admitted to hospital. Given the nature of his father’s medical problems, Stanley explained, this happens often, and can be any time of the day or night.
In addition, Stanley explained, his mother (who now lives alone) suffers with mental health problems and needs a high level of support, both from psychiatric professionals and himself.
In the cases of both elderly and ill parents, the fact that Stanley is known, trusted and recognised means he is the one who receives the emergency call outs. He also deals with day to day support of a practical and emotional nature.
Although Stanley has one sibling, his sister lives many miles away and is simply not able to respond as quickly or easily to requests for help. This means that, for the most part, the care of their elderly parents falls to Stanley.
Stanley, who had accrued 9 points from other speeding offences during the last few years, had worked closely with Steve in preparing supporting documents for court. He said he had not realised that the court may not take at face value the claims he would make, and that letters and other paperwork could be reviewed by the magistrates or district judge before a decision would be made about whether or not to find Exceptional Hardship had been proved.
Taking on board what Stanley had told him, when Steve addressed the court he stressed the fact that it was the exceptional hardship which would be caused to the elderly parents which our client was most concerned about.
Contrary to popular opinion, the court can consider an application on this basis – it does not necessarily have to be conducted based only on the circumstances of the driver who faces disqualification. In fact, the court can be more sympathetic to those in the driver’s close circle who would be adversely affected by a disqualification, as they are innocent parties in the case.
After hearing full evidence, the court’s decision was that Stanley should not be disqualified from driving.
This means that he can continue to drive, as usual, but that he will ‘carry’ all penalty points (the original 9, plus 3 from the most recent speeding offence), until the older points come off his licence.
Steve made Stanley aware that he could not conduct a further Exceptional Hardship application within a 3 year period, using the same grounds.
Stanley thanked Steve for his assistance and said he would be more mindful of speed limits in future, regardless of the purpose of his journeys.
If you need representation for an Exceptional Hardship application, call our office today on 01623 397200 for free, initial advice.