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Special Reasons - Defence Solicitors
Section 34(1) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act states:
“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.”
A Special Reason is one which is special to the facts of a particular offence.
It is a mitigating or extenuating circumstance which is directly connected with the commission of the offence and which can be properly taken into account by the sentencing court.
It is not a defence and does not apply to specifics regarding the offender.
If a defendant can prove that he or she had an unusual circumstance leading to the offence being committed, the Court could be persuaded not to disqualify that person from driving.
Special Reasons can be applied to a number of offences:
- Insurance offences
- Alcohol related driving offences;
- Speeding offences
Examples of Special Reasons include:
- driving in emergencies or
- inadvertent consumption of drink or drugs.
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The court will consider a range of questions such as:
- The reason for driving;
- The distance driven;
- The manner of driving;
- The condition of the vehicle driven;
- Whether or not it was the driver’s intention to drive any further;
- The road and traffic conditions at the relevant time; and
- The possibility of danger to other road users.
The defendant bears the burden of proving Special Reasons on the balance of probabilities.
There must be a genuine exceptional situation which cannot be solved by any other means.
For example, if someone else could have driven legally in the circumstances then the Special Reasons defence is likely to fail.
It is usual that the defendant will have to give evidence under oath which may lead to cross-examination by the Court and the prosecution.
How We Can Help with Special Reasons Applications
Kangs Solicitors can advise you whether there are any Special Reasons arguments to submit to the Court.
If we advise that Special Reasons should be submitted we can prepare you for giving evidence and represent you expertly during the hearing making submissions to the Court as necessary.
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