Totting up (reaching 12 points)

Totting up means reaching 12 points on your licence.

Any offence for which points may be imposed that would take the licence holder to 12 or more points in total, results in a driving ban unless "exceptional hardship" can be shown to apply.

When the penalty points for an offence take the total points on your licence to 12 or more, the court MUST disqualify you from driving for a period of at least six months.

That is unless it finds that there are grounds to reduce the period of disqualification or not impose one at all. Such grounds are usually referred to as "exceptional hardship."

Take a look at this video of me explaining this in more detail.



When the court is aware that you are facing the possibility of disqualification as a result of the "totting up" of points, it will require you to appear in person, as disqualification should not be imposed in your absence. An offence that puts you in this position - even if it is otherwise a trivial matter - can not, unlike many, be dealt with by post: you will have to attend the court.


If you are facing a number of convictions relating to different occasions, the court is obliged to impose points for each offence: for example, a person who was detected driving a car without insurance on two consecutive days would be facing six penalty points for each offence.


Even if the court exercises its discretion to disqualify for a particular offence, it must still impose points for any other offences it is aware of. Any resulting "totting up" disqualification runs at the same time as the discretionary disqualification.


Which points count? 

The court takes into account all points imposed in the three years preceding the offence for which it is imposing the points that will take the total to or beyond twelve. Therefore, delaying your court hearing until points have "expired" will not help: it is the date of the offence, not the date of the new penalty points, that counts.


How long is the disqualification?

If you have not been disqualified for more than 55 days for any offence in the three years preceding the offence for which you are before the court, then the minimum period of disqualification upon reaching twelve points is six months.

However, if you have been disqualified for 56 days or more in the three years before the relevant offence, the minimum disqualification is twelve months.

Two years' disqualification awaits a driver who has been disqualified for 56 days or more, twice or more in the preceding three years.


"Exceptional Hardship" 

Disqualification can be avoided if the court is persuaded that "exceptional hardship" would result from the imposition of that penalty. The court is not usually concerned with hardship to the driver before it: the view appears to be that hardship for the driver is to be expected as part of the penalty. But the court may listen to argument about the effects on a driver's family; on his own or his employer's business; or to any others who rely on the driver's having a licence.


Every case is different and if you are facing the possibility of twelve or more points on your licence, it is important that you have the best advice and the best representation in court, to give you the best possible chance of keeping your licence. Preparing your case is key to success: just telling the Court how you and your family would be affected by a ban will rarely be enough: they will want to see proof of your circumstances either from witnesses or in the form of documentary evidence.