Special Reasons not to endorse or Disqualify

Drink Driving - Special Reasons

The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, s. 34(1) [1] provides legislation relating to special reasons not to disqualify or to disqualify for shorter period, it states:
(1) Where a person is convicted of an offence involving obligatory disqualification, the court must order him to be disqualified for such period not less than twelve months as the court thinks fit unless the court for special reasons thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period or not to order him to be disqualified.

In certain circumstances defendants convicted of drink driving offences may be able to have any mandatory period of driving disqualification significantly reduced or totally avoided if 'special reasons' not to endorse or disqualify are successfully established.

Driving licence endorsements & penalty points can also be avoided if special reasons are successfully established.

Special reasons must be put forward by the defence using evidence and may be subject to cross examination and evidence in rebuttal from the prosecution.

When special reasons not to disqualify are successfully established, it is no guarantee that disqualification or endorsement will be avoided. It remains at the sentencing courts discretion whether or not the special reasons put forward make it proper not to disqualify or endorse.

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Arguing that any period of disqualification imposed will cause extreme hardship to an offender or their family WILL NOT amount to a special reason.


What are special reasons?

Special reasons must relate to the commission of the drink driving offence in question and in order to constitute a special reason the Court of Appeal has established that any matter put forward as a special reason not to endorse or disqualify must:

  • be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance;
  • not amount in law to a defence to the drink driving charge;
  • be directly connected to the commission of the drink driving offence;
  • be one which a court of law ought to properly take into consideration when considering what sentence to impose.

What must the court consider?

When special reasons are put forward in drink driving cases the sentencing court must consider the following factors:

  • the reason for driving the motor vehicle;
  • the distance the motor vehicle was driven;
  • the manner in which the motor vehicle was driven;
  • the condition of the motor vehicle which was driven;
  • whether or not it was the drivers intention to drive the motor vehicle further;
  • the road and traffic conditions at the time the offence took place; and
  • the possibility of danger to other road users at the time (most important factor)

Possible Special Reasons

  • Very short distance driven (moving car a few yards to safety)
  • Driving due to an emergency (medical or otherwise)
  • A drivers drink being laced or spiked without their knowledge

The onus of establishing special reasons is on the defence/defendant.


Establishing special reasons is a complicated and technical area of law where there is a great deal of case law available as to what amounts to special reasons. It is advisable to take advice and counsel from a solicitor advocate who specialises in drink driving and motoring law in order to establish if arguing special reasons is plausible.

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Reference:

[1] The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988




Special Reason Cases - In the News


Man pleads guilty to drink driving - Tivyside Advertiser


Man pleads guilty to drink driving
Tivyside Advertiser
A SOUTH Ceredigion man claims there were 'special reasons' for driving while over the drink drive limit. Roy Thomas, aged 56, of Heol y Felin, Penparc, Cardigan, pleaded guilty to driving while double the legal alcohol limit, when he appeared before ...

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Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:21:26 GMT




PHOTO: First picture of drink-driver who killed popular Crawley pensioner - Crawley News


Crawley News

PHOTO: First picture of drink-driver who killed popular Crawley pensioner
Crawley News
He suggested there could be a case for special reasons to have the length of a driving ban, which would be a mandatory two-year disqualification, reduced based on the fact Wilsdon has already completed a one-year ban imposed when he was previously ...

Mon, 13 Jul 2015 18:03:15 GMT




Latest Chesterfield magistrates' court results - Matlock Today


Matlock Today

Latest Chesterfield magistrates' court results
Matlock Today
Driving record endorsed with ten points. No obligatory driving disqualification due to special reasons. Richard Anthony Debell, 27, of Hereford Drive, Brimington, Chesterfield. Pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol drink-drive limit. Fined 300 and ...

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Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:25:19 GMT




Judge takes lenient view of nap in car - Wanganui Chronicle


Judge takes lenient view of nap in car
Wanganui Chronicle
The then 38-year-old had been disqualified from driving since February, but decided to rest in the car instead of walking to his house down the road. "I had taken some party pills while drinking and wasn't feeling too well," Lines told Judge Allan ...

Sun, 05 Jul 2015 19:05:40 GMT




Gillian Taylforth given two-year ban for drink driving - Closer


Closer

Gillian Taylforth given two-year ban for drink driving
Closer
"Taking into account the local knowledge we are satisfied there would have been a real danger to pedestrians and other road users for you driving your vehicle when you were significantly over the limit. "We do not therefore find any special reasons."
Gillian Taylforth handed two-year ban after being arrested for drinking drivingOK! Magazine
Gillian Taylforth slapped with driving ban after being pulled over drunk on ...Irish Mirror

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Sat, 09 May 2015 12:50:27 GMT




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