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Using a Special Reasons Argument

A Special Reasons argument can be used to try to persuade the Magistrates, after giving evidence on oath, that it would not be appropriate in the circumstances to impose the penalty points.

Special Reasons arguments are normally used in relation to avoiding bans in drink driving cases but, they can be used to avoid penalty points in relation to any of the endorsable offences.

When you argue Special Reasons, you have to give evidence on oath in order to persuade the Magistrates that in the circumstances, it would not be fair to put any points on your licence.

The most common ground put forward is that the offence was committed in the context of an emergency, for example if you were rushing somebody to casualty and you went through a red traffic light or exceeded the speed limit.

If the Magistrates find that there were Special Reasons in relation to your case, then they will not put any points on your licence.

There is no set list as to what amounts to a Special Reason but, in order to fulfil the criteria, the Special Reasons you put forward must be: -

1. A mitigating or extenuating circumstance

2. It must not amount in law to a defence to the allegation

3. It must be directly connected to the commission of the offence

4. It must be something that the Court ought to take into consideration when deciding what punishment to impose.

You can argue Special Reasons if the offence was a genuine mistake. This is quite useful because most road traffic offences are what is called 'strict liability'. This means that it does not matter whether or not you meant to commit the offence, if as a matter of fact you did, then you are guilty. This can be a useful way to avoid penalty points if you did not mean to commit the offence in question but again, it is a difficult argument and it is best to take expert advice before making the application to the Court.

The opportunity to argue Special Reasons is contained within Section 34 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

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