Speeding offenders could be banned from driving in legal crackdown to stop this excuse
Motorists can currently avoid a driving ban for some major speeding crimes if they argue losing a licence would cost them their job. The new guidelines for magistrates proposed by the Sentencing Council state losing employment will no longer be deemed an exceptional hardship.
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The change in policy could see several motorists forced to accept driving bans instead of being handed alternative punishments to keep their positions.
The Sentencing Council says courts should now be cautious to accept claims of exceptional hardship for speeding offences.
They say the test should not be about whether the ban will inconvenience offenders.
Instead, they should determine whether the case is genuinely exceptional hardship and evidence must be analysed by a court.
Sentencing Council chairman Lord Justice Holroyde said: “Sentencing guidelines are used in magistrates’ courts throughout England and Wales on a daily basis and it is important that they provide clear guidance to court users.
“This consultation is in response to requests from magistrates for changes to provide more information and bring greater clarity to these guidelines.
“We are keen to hear views on the proposals from magistrates, others working in the criminal justice system and anyone else with an interest in sentencing.”
Motorists are usually handed a short driving ban if they pick up at least 12 penalty points within three years.
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The proposed change relates to offenders who have totted up several offences to reach the driving ban threshold.
Bans are usually in place for six months which could have a drastic effect on a road users ability to see family members, friends and travel to employment opportunities.
In some cases, motorists may escape the ban and instead face heavy fines and penalty points to act as a harsh deterrent to avoid losing employment rights.
Actor Steve Coogan was handed a two-month driving ban in August 2019 after arguing a full disqualification meant he could not film the new series of Alan Partridge.
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According to Motor Lawyers, a court is currently obliged to ban a driver unless there are considered to be exceptional reasons not to do so.
The experts say inconvenience to your life will not be considered an exceptional reason and in many cases, this could backfire.
They say motorists who attempt to raise the issue of exceptional circumstances could even end up with more severe penalties.
However, experts say courts can currently take into account how your driving ban could affect others before applying the ban.
Law firm Duncan Lewis says exceptional hardship should only be used as a last resort as the argument can only be used once every three years.
This means motorists who may end up back in court for a similar offence just years later will find it hard to escape the penalties.
These totting up offences differ from a discretionary driving ban which will only relate to one particulate speeding charge.
Motorists could be banned from the road for omitting one office with the length of time off the road determined by the nature of the crime.
Instant bans can usually last anywhere from a week to around 56 days although judges have the discretion to increase this if they feel necessary.
Motorists are urged to drive with caution on the roads to avoid making simple errors which can lead to penalty points being applied.
Careless driving offices can see motorist hit with up to nine penalty points while using a mobile phone or speeding can see six points added to your licence.
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