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Speeding Offences law and possible defences.

This article appeared in the Mercury newspaper on 25th August 2010.

Solicitor Simon Gwynne of Norrie Waite & Slater Solicitors talks about the laws around speeding offences.


If I am banned from driving for speeding offences (as opposed to a ban for drink driving) I would lose my job. Can I ask for leniency from the Courts?

In limited circumstances it may be possible for the courts not to impose a ban if this would cause ‘exceptional hardship’.

The courts accept that in most cases thespeeding fine imposition of a driving ban will cause hardship. To attempt to avoid disqualification you will need to convince them that in your case this level of hardship would be exceptional.

Exceptional hardship has no statutory definition in case law and it will be at the discretion of the courts to decide if your circumstances warrant leniency. In effect it can mean a level of hardship that will also impact on innocent parties. For example, if the ban would have a serious impact on a dependent who has a disability or serious health problem and who relies on the driver for mobility.

Loss of a job will not normally in itself qualify as exceptional hardship unless a convincing case can be put that the impact would be so exceptional as to warrant leniency.

It is essential to have an experienced solicitor working on your case. Showing exceptional hardship is involved and complex and requires a great deal of skill.

I’ve been told that I can get off a speeding conviction if I have a good enough reason for exceeding the limit. Is this true?

In some cases it may be possible to argue that you had a special reason for committing the offence. Special reasons is effectively a plea of mitigation which, if successful, may lead to a lesser penalty, or disqualification not being imposed. A special reason means that although you have committed the offence you are asking for mitigating circumstances to be taken into account to reduce the penalty imposed by the courts.

Effectively arguing this type of defence is difficult and requires an experienced lawyer. The Courts will not accept just any reason for committing the offence. The defending lawyer will have to show that the driver had no suitable alternative to committing the offence and that the reason warranted such actions, for example speeding to rescue someone from danger.

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