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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' are established.

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

Special reasons must be established by the defence using evidence and may be subject to cross examination and evidence in rebuttal.

Even when special reasons 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 established 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 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)


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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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.

 

Reference

[1] The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988




Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:11:26 GMT
Drink-driver begs court not to ban him from the road - Frome Standard


Drink-driver begs court not to ban him from the road
Frome Standard
A FROME man who admitted drink driving has asked the courts to consider special reasons not to ban him from driving. Paul Rodney Dredge was caught on CCTV by an operator who alerted the police to a suspected drink driver. When he was breathalysed ...



Tue, 08 Apr 2014 06:10:01 GMT
The 22-year-old Muslim man claimed that his drinks had been spiked, Kirklees ... - Huddersfield Examiner (blog)


Huddersfield Examiner (blog)

The 22-year-old Muslim man claimed that his drinks had been spiked, Kirklees ...
Huddersfield Examiner (blog)
A Muslim man banned from the road after drink-driving claimed that his drinks had been spiked. Mohammed Roheel, of Holly ... his drink was spiked. However he later decided against taking part in a special reasons hearing in a bid to keep his driving ...



Thu, 03 Apr 2014 14:35:18 GMT
Barrow woman, 70, rolled car into road while drunk - NW Evening Mail


Barrow woman, 70, rolled car into road while drunk
NW Evening Mail
Doran pleaded guilty to the charge of drink-driving, but argued for special reasons to be considered by the court. She said: ?It was my husband's birthday and he died three years ago. ?I didn't have anything to eat all day. I had taken extra ...



Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:48:39 GMT
Drink-drive case adjourned - Wigan Today


Wigan Today

Drink-drive case adjourned
Wigan Today
A DRIVER who admitted being behind the wheel while over the limit has had his case adjourned for a special reasons hearing. Steven Eden, from Ince, pleaded guilty at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court after he was pulled over by police on Moss Lane in ...