Special reasons can apply to all sorts of motoring cases and can result in avoiding the standard sentence which would be expected for such an offence. In particular, a special reasons argument could help someone avoid a driving disqualification or points being endorsed on their licence after they have been convicted of an offence.
The legal definition of a Special Reason is an extenuating issue that is not a defence in law but is directly connected to the commission of the offence and is something that ought to be considered when imposing a sentence. Special Reasons do not relate to the personal circumstance of an individual or the impact that a specific sentence will have on them.
Examples of commonly heard Special Reasons for drink drive offences are things such as laced drinks, shortness of distance and driving during a genuine emergency.
A common example of Special Reasons in driving without insurance cases is when someone has been misled to believe they were insured.
In relation to speeding offences, common examples of a Special Reasons would be genuine emergency and being misled by a faulty speedometer
However, this is a non-exhaustive list and special reasons are often a very sensible way of resolving a case in the Defendant’s best interests.
Special Reasons arguments are often complex and will involve a hearing similar to a trial where evidence will be called and witnesses cross-examined. Some arguments, such as those involving laced drinks in a drink-drive case, will require expert evidence from a scientist.
Like claims for exceptional hardship, this is a two-stage test where the Court must first decide whether special reasons apply before secondly deciding whether to exercise their discretion in favour of the Defendant. Even if the court do find special reasons exist it does not mean that they will be persuaded not to impose the disqualification or penalty points that would usually be imposed.
Due to the technical nature of these arguments and the potential need to preserve evidence it is crucial that appropriate advice from a specialist motoring offence solicitor is obtained at an early stage so that the correct approach is taken and the best chances of a successful outcome.
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