What is Totting Up?

Totting up law refers to the ‘totting up’ of points on your driving license over a short period of time. You accrue points if you commit certain motoring offences, and ‘totting up’ points may result in punishment or even a driving disqualification. Read on to learn more about what totting up means and how to prevent a totting up disqualification.

What is totting up?

Totting up refers to the accruement of 12 or more points on your driving licence within a three year period, resulting in an automatic totting up ban.

So, how does totting up work? You are punished by receiving penalty points on your driving licence when you commit a motoring offence, which remain on your licence for up to four years after the offence was committed. Therefore, if you commit multiple motoring offences, the penalty points on your licence start to accumulate, hence the term ‘totting up’.

Different motoring offences will carry a different number of penalty points. For example, dangerous driving can earn you up to 11 penalty points, whereas a minor speeding offence will likely only be punished with 3 points. Speeding is one of the most common driving offences in the UK, and you only have to tot up speeding points four times over three years to face a totting up disqualification.

How long will my totting up ban last?

It is typical for the disqualification period for a totting up ban to last six months, however this could be longer if you’ve already served a driving ban within the last three years.

If you’ve been disqualified from driving within the last three years, your driving ban could be up to two years long, depending on how many times you’ve been banned. If you’ve served one ban, you will receive a totting up disqualification of 12 months. The totting up disqualification will be two years for those who’ve served two previous bans.

Totting up law for new drivers

The regulations surrounding totting up law are slightly different for new drivers. The sanctions are more severe for those who have passed their driving test within the previous two years. New drivers risk having their licence revoked if they accrue 6 or more penalty points within the first two years of passing their test. To put this into context, new drivers only need to tot up two speeding offences to be automatically disqualified.

The totting up ban will last for six months, and you will be issued a provisional licence once the ban has ended. Following your ban, you will be required to complete both your theory and practical driving tests to regain your full licence and drive on the roads again. Once you have re-passed, your points will remain valid on your new licence for up to four years. If you receive a further 6 points, another totting up ban will be issued.

How you can prevent a totting up disqualification

In some cases, you may be able to avoid a totting up ban or disqualification. There are three ways in which this may be possible:

  1. Successfully defend the motoring offence allegations

You can defend a motoring offence allegation if you have sufficient reasoning against the claim. Just because you have received a Fixed Penalty Notice or a charge doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct. Your lawyer will help you iron out your defence claims, which could range from technical, physical or even geographical defences. If you can prove your innocence, then the points will be revoked, therefore avoiding a totting up ban.

  1. Argue ‘special reasons’

To avoid a totting up ban, you may argue special reasons. This involves admitting that you committed the motoring offence, but only because of the given circumstances and context presented at the time. Many people argue that they were speeding due to a medical emergency, or they ran a red light because a family member was in time-urgent danger. If you can present a rounded case with evidence for your mitigating or extenuating circumstances, you may avoid a totting up disqualification or ban.

  1. Plead exceptional hardship

Pleading exceptional hardship involves more nuance than the two options listed above. It requires you to prove that a driving ban would have exceptionally negative consequences and cause others to suffer. The Court will require evidence of such emotional or physical hardship to conclude your exceptional hardship plea.

What happens after a totting up disqualification?

If you have received a totting up disqualification, the disqualification charge will begin the day the Court disqualifies you. This charge can last six months or more, meaning you cannot drive within this period. However, unlike new drivers, you won’t have to re-pass your driving tests after your ban period has ended. In fact, your driving licence will be wiped clean, and you can begin driving again with 0 points on your licence.

Totting up law barristers

Instructing a specialist totting up barrister will greatly improve your chances of success if you are defending a driving disqualification, especially if you are pleading exceptional hardship. Here at St Pauls Chambers, we’re experts in motoring law, covering everything from motoring fraud to traffic commissioner public inquiries. To instruct one of our skilled barristers, please contact us today.

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