What Are The Special Reasons To Avoid
Special reasons are relevant if you are convicted of a road traffic
offence which has a penalty of obligatory disqualification, or obligatory
endorsement. Although special reasons are not technically a defence, they can
significantly reduce the sentence you receive.
- Imposed for serious
offences such as dangerous driving or drink driving.
- The court must
disqualify for a period of at least 12 months (more if you have a similar
previous conviction, or if the offence is particularly serious
- The court may shorten
the period of disqualification or remove it altogether if it considers that
there are “special reasons” to do so.
- Imposed for a range
of offences, including speeding, using a mobile phone, not having insurance, as
well as more serious offences where disqualification can also be
- The court may impose
anything up to 11 penalty points.
- If the court thinks
that there are “special reasons” for doing so, they will decide not to endorse
your licence (it cannot reduce the number of points it imposes).
Special reasons can only relate to the facts and circumstances of the
offence itself, such as the reason why it was committed. Your personal
circumstances, for example the effect that the disqualification/endorsement will
have on you or others, or the fact that the offence was “trivial” (for example
if you only slightly exceeded the speed limit) do not count as special
Examples of special reasons
you can show that you committed the offence only because of a medical emergency,
then this will amount to a special reason. However, the emergency must be
genuine and unforeseen. You must also show that you drove only as a last resort:
you must have exhausted all other possibilities of dealing with the emergency,
including contacting the emergency services. For example, if a driver who lived
in a rural area drove (whilst over the legal limit) to take his seriously sick
child to hospital because no ambulance was available, then this would probably
amount to a special reason for not disqualifying.
Whether the fact that you only drove for a short distance amounts to a
special reason depends on the whole circumstances of the incident. The law is
complex in this area, but what is clear is that the distance must be very short
indeed, and the court will carefully consider any danger that you posed to the
offences involving alcohol, it will not be a special reason if you did not
realise how much you drank. But if you don’t know that you are drinking alcohol
(for example, if you are served regular beers when you asked for alcohol-free
ones), or you don’t realise how alcoholic your drink is (for example, if someone
“spiked” your pint with shots of tequila), then a special reason might be
established if it was obvious that the unadulterated drink would not have put
you over the legal limit.