When you commit a motoring offence you are risking punishments anywhere from a fine and penalty points to an outright driving ban. But what if you truly believe that there was no other option open to you than to get in your car at the time that the offence was committed?
If you are facing a driving ban you may be able to persuade the Court that there were special reasons behind why you got in your car. These often apply to drink driving offences but can also be used if prosecuted for other reasons such as no insurance, but we’ll explain more about that later.
There are four strict criteria for something to amount to a special reason. These are:
- The reason must be a mitigating or extenuating circumstances
- It must not amount to a defence
- It must have direct connection to the offence
- It must be something that the Court should consider when importing punishment.
If the criteria are covered in the special reasons argument then the Court can be asked to exercise discretion when deciding on punishment. They can either opt for no penalty or a reduced penalty.
The most common arguments for special reasons are:
Emergency situations – this can be considered but if there was a chance to call emergency services before getting in the car whilst over the drink-drive limit then the Court probably wouldn’t admit this as a Special Reason.
Distance – if the distance driven whilst over the prescribed limit was very short this may be taken into consideration by the Court. The Court would also want to know in what manner the vehicle was driven, the state of the vehicle, whether there was intention to drive further, road and traffic conditions, any risk to any other road users, and the overall reason for driving.
Spiked or laced drinks – if you can argue that you did not know that you were over the drink drive limit due to unwillingly consuming alcohol you may be able to argue that it wasn’t your fault. This can be tricky as proving that you didn’t know is very difficult. You would have to have the person who put the alcohol in your drink to admit to doing so.
Insurance cases – being misled – this is usually an issue between parent and older child, or employer and employee. If a person was misled in some way into thinking that they were insured to drive a vehicle but then were facing prosecution because they weren’t, the Court may take this into consideration. Insurance companies can also cause issues but a driving offence solicitor would be able to advise further.
The Courts take a very strict view on special reasons argument to avoid everyone trying to use them. They have to ensure that a genuine special reason actually exists. They will scrutinise every aspect of the argument and look for any possible alternative that you may have had before committing the offence.
To submit a special reasons argument you will have had to discuss your case with a Driving Offence Solicitor who can help guide you through the process and advise on the likelihood of your penalty either being reduced or overturned.
Slater and Gordon have an expert team of Driving Offence Solicitors who have a 93% positive result rate defending traffic offences. Call us on freephone 0808 175 7998 or contact us online and we will call you.