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 admits drink-driving after spiking claims - Sunderland Echo


Sunderland Echo

Man admits drink-driving after spiking claims
Sunderland Echo
John Davison drove his Vauxhall Corsa on Durham Road while over the drink-drive limit on March 6, Sunderland magistrates heard. Davison, of Thorndale Road, ... he poured alcohol into his drink. A special reasons argument will take place in September.

Wed, 24 Jun 2015 08:05:00 GMT




South Shields man caught two times over drink-drive limit at hospital after ... - Shields Gazette


South Shields man caught two times over drink-drive limit at hospital after ...
Shields Gazette
He was arrested after failing a roadside breath test on a one-way street in the grounds of the hospital, with police inquiries also revealing he did not have insurance cover to drive the vehicle. He recorded a reading of 75mcg of alcohol in 100ml of ...

Wed, 03 Jun 2015 09:45:51 GMT




Colin Hendry banned for 17 months for drink-driving - The Guardian


The Courier

Colin Hendry banned for 17 months for drink-driving
The Guardian
The former Scotland captain Colin Hendry has been banned from the road for 17 months after he dropped his fight against a drink-driving charge. Lawyers for Hendry, 49, had called for a ?special reasons? hearing after arguing that the amount of alcohol ...
Former Scotland captain Colin Hendry banned for drink-drivingThe Courier
Ex-soccer star hendry gets road banDaily Mail
Former Scotland football captain Colin Hendry banned from road after drink drivingExpress.co.uk
Scottish Daily Record
all 91 news articles »
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:40:28 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

all 14 news articles »
Sat, 09 May 2015 12:50:27 GMT




'Special reasons' for drink -driving - Marlborough Express


'Special reasons' for drink -driving
Marlborough Express
A Palmerston North man caught drink-driving for the second time is trying to avoid being disqualified from driving, with his lawyer arguing there were special reasons why the man had an alcohol level two times the legal limit. In the Palmerston North ...

Tue, 24 Jun 2014 19:35:30 GMT




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