Totting Up

Totting Up

In the UK, the penalty point system is aimed at punishing drivers who repeatedly commit road traffic offences. Once a driver cumulates 12 or more points, the ‘totting up’ procedure is triggered, which means they become liable to disqualification. Driving bans range between six months and two years, which can have very severe consequences, particularly for the vast majority of us who depend on driving in our everyday lives.

Fortunately, bans aren’t automatic for ‘totters’ – whether a ban is imposed, and if it is, how long disqualification will last, is left to the discretion of the court. It’s therefore possible for drivers to either reduce the length of any potential ban or avoid disqualification altogether.

If you’re facing the totting up procedure, and want to protect your licence and right to drive, our specialist totting up solicitors can help. The Road Traffic and Driving Offences Department has considerable experience and knowledge in providing legal advice and representation in ‘totting up’ cases. Here we provide a brief overview of totting up and how we can help. For more information, please contact our expert road traffic and driving offences lawyers on 0808 169 5980 or email – we’re available 24 hours a day, ready to provide immediate expert advice, representation and assistance.

 Totting Up – An Overview

If a motoring offence is committed, the driver won’t only face a fine (and, in severe cases, a prison sentence), they will also be issued with points that are then endorsed onto their licence. Penalty points are obligatory for most road traffic crimes, ranging between two and eleven depending on the severity of the offence. For example:

  • Careless driving can attract between 3 and 9 points
  • Dangerous driving can attract between 3 and 11 points
  • Driving or in charge of a vehicle under the influence of drink or drugs can attract between 3 and eleven points
  • Failure to provide a specimen can attract between 4 and 10 points
  • Driving an uninsured vehicle can attract between 6 and 8 points
  • Speeding can attract between 3 and 6 points

Penalty points stay on a driver’s record for between four and eleven years. If you have accumulated 12 penalty points within a 3 year period, the totting up procedure is enforced. These penalty points can have been obtained as a result of separate and unrelated motoring offences or if the courts deemed your driving offence so serious, they issued you with 12 or more penalty points.

Guidelines states that if you incur 12 penalty points within a 3 year period this consequently results in a 6 month minimum disqualification. During this disqualification period, you are not permitted to drive any motor vehicle anywhere in the UK. However, disqualification is at the discretion of the court. To avoid a driving ban you must persuade and convince the court that the driving ban would cause you or others ‘exceptional hardship’.

Avoiding Disqualification: Totting Up Defence & Exceptional Hardship

Successfully convincing a court that disqualification shouldn’t be imposed on the basis of exceptional hardship is a matter of timing and nuance. Not only does it require a deep understanding of complex road traffic legislation, but also the ability to tailor convincing arguments that are specific to the facts that triggered the totting up procedure.

When defending against disqualification in totting up cases, only exceptional hardship can be taken into account. This threshold has been interpreted to mean ‘something out of the ordinary’, which is purposively vague so as to encompass many different circumstances, although it also includes the implications disqualification would have on effectively innocent people, such as the driver’s children, other family members or employees.

If the exceptional hardship defence is successful, the court will either impose a shorter period of mandatory disqualification or order that no disqualification be imposed. Our lawyers can advise and assist you on ‘exceptional hardship’ and other mitigating circumstances, which can provide you with a defence. They’ll assess your position, gather evidence (including witness statements) and draw together the threads in order to convince the court that a totting-up ban isn’t appropriate in your particular circumstances.

Specialist Totting Up Defence Solicitors in Manchester, Birmingham, London

Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day, providing immediate advice, representation and assistance during legal proceedings, ensuring the best interests of our clients. Please contact our Road Traffic and Driving Offences Department on 0808 169 5980 or email

Totting Up