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  • Special reasons

    Why should I care about special reasons?

    Put quite simply, special reasons are your ticket to saving your driving licence in situations where you have no defence to drink driving!

    If accepted by the court, special reasons can be the difference between an immediate driving ban, or penalty points that take you over the12 point limit, and escaping the driving ban.

    Definition of special reasons

    What does special reasons do?

    If your solicitor convinces the court that you have special reasons the court has a choice not to issue a driving ban when it would normally be required to ban you from driving by law.

    If the court is obliged by law to impose penalty points, which may take you over the 12 point limit and thus lead to a driving ban, special reasons prevent the court from imposing those points.

    Special reasons - the law bit

    The High Court of Northern Ireland defined special reasons in 1939 and Lord Goddard approved the definition for use in the English courts in 1946. So, a special reason is defined as being:

    "a mitigating or extenuating circumstance, not amounting in law to a defence to the charge, yet directly connected with the commission of the offence."
    The Court of Appeal in 1958 added a final point that the special reason needs to be something that the court should properly take into consideration when imposing sentence. This is helpful because it tells us what extenuating circumstances will not be acceptable, e.g. I was drink driving because it was a friends birthday party. The fact of the birthday part is not a defence but is directly connected with the commission of the offence. However, it fails as a special reason because it is not something that the court should properly consider when passing sentence.

    The fact that a driver was only just over the drink driving limit will not amount to a special reason. This was made clear by Lord Parker in a 1969 case and in 1974, Lord Widgery, said:

    "I would not accept the proposition that [a drink driver] can be excused endorsement of his licence on the basis of special reasons merely because it was not a bad case"
    Numerous courts have agreed with Lords Parker and Widgery in the years since those cases were decided.

    Examples of special reasons

    There are some general special reasons that will always work - provided the court believes you!

    General special reasons

    You only drove a short distance - this means a very short distance, not as one man tried to claim the distance from Manchester to south-west London!

    Offence committed unintentionally - where drink driving is concerned we are really talking about the spiking of drinks or medication or medical conditions that exacerbate the effects of alcohol. These can be tricky special reasons because the court will enquire why you failed to notice that you were becoming intoxicated. Nonetheless, it is a special reason that can be very effective.

    Emergency - where you drove while drunk because of a genuine emergency then you will have a special reason.

    Special reasons unique to drink driving

    Broadly speaking, there are three potential groups of special reasons:

    1. Those explaining how you because unfit to drive (or had excess alcohol in your system);
    2. Those explaining why you drove while unfit or over the drink driving limit; and
    3. Miscellaneous circumstances that relate to the offence.

    The special reasons you chose to rely upon will be unique to you. If you would like to discuss your situation with an expert drink driving solicitor call us on 020 8242 4440 or visit our contact us page.

    What should I do now?

    Being accused of a criminal offence is a stressful time and you may think that it's impossible to defend yourself or save your driving licence. We can review the case against you and give you our expert opinion on the strength of the evidence against, errors made by the prosecution, possible tactics to have prosecution evidence excluded, defences available and whether you can avoid penalty points if convicted. In 99.99% of cases we can provide this review quickly and cheaply so you can decide what to do once you have the full facts and not just the police's version.

    You are also welcome to call us and speak with an experienced solicitor about your case for some preliminary advice. Although your solicitor can only give basic advice on the telephone based on what you say you will get an idea of what can be done. There's nothing to pay until you decide to instruct us, so if you decide not to instruct as after speaking on the telephone then it won't cost you a penny.

    Feel free to give us a call now on 020 8242 4440 To discuss your options. Or you can send an email via our contact us page.