You’ve committed a driving offence and you’re about to be prosecuted. It’s possible that you could lose your driving licence and while you’re obviously remorseful and know you must face some consequences, you’re still very worried.
If you’re disqualified from driving for a significant period of time, then the impact on your family could be very serious indeed. When you’re dealing with a driving offence you should get legal help as soon as possible so that you’re treated fairly in court. If you’ve pleaded guilty to the offence then your best hope is to try to reduce the punishment, maybe by pleading exceptional hardship. Here are some helpful pointers to pleading exceptional hardship.
Avoid online templates
Letter templates don’t work because they don’t take you and your unique circumstances into account. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with visiting a website or two to find out how to structure such a letter, but don’t be tempted to copy it to the word.
The prosecution will want to examine your exceptional hardship case
You should expect the prosecution to ask if you can’t use public transport, or a cab, or even get a lift from a friend or relative to get to work or to appointments.
You’ll need to provide written proof rather than verbal testimony. Stick to plain facts, not maybes and what-ifs and certainly not emotive language. You can use bullet-points if you like, as this helps you to focus on facts.
Use sensible examples of the hardship you’ll suffer
Strong examples of exceptional hardship include job loss and therefore the potential loss of your home. You can also include the fact that you can’t drive vulnerable relatives to medical appointments or the fact that you can’t do your usual community or charity work. You need, in a nutshell, to show that others will suffer as much as, if not more than, you.
Is losing your job serious enough?
If you’re in an unusual or niche field and you’re well-qualified and fairly young, then losing your job could be seen as a temporary setback. If you’re older and in a saturated sector, then you may find it harder to replace your livelihood.
Leave out the trivia
Losing your driving licence will make shopping and going on holiday more difficult – you’re being punished, after all. No-one will care about these problems, so focus on the bigger issues like keeping your job and paying your mortgage.
Don’t embellish or lie
You’re dealing with lawyers…
Gather all your evidence in advance
Documents are the way forward here, so talk with your lawyer about the evidence you can collect and how you can best present it. This sort of evidence can make or break your case.
You mustn’t make yourself the star of the show (as it were). If you talk about how much you do for your local OAP group and the village Under 14’s football team, you’ll come over as smug. What you need is letters from the OAP group and the team coach explaining how they’ll find things harder without you. Letters are especially useful because they don’t get nervous in court and forget things.