What happens if I get 9 points on my driving licence?

Where a motorist’s driving licence is endorsed with 9 active penalty points, if they are then accused of further offences it will normally result in a Court prosecution. The prosecution is normally started by the issue of a Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN) and charge. After an SJPN has been issued the options are as follows:-

  • Plead guilty in which case the Court will fix the case for a disqualification hearing
  • Plead not guilty with a view to challenging the prosecution

Can I reduce the number of points on my licence?

A minimum of 3 points must be imposed for every endorsable offence unless a discretionary disqualification is imposed instead. The imposition of 12 points or more within a 3 year period (taken from offence date to offence date) will result in a driver being eligible for disqualification under totting up therefore being on 9 points represents a significant cliff edge for anyone on this position..

However, penalty points may be avoided where the police are able to offer a half day Speed Awareness Course in exchange for penalty points. The police will not consider the motorist to be eligible for this option where the offence occurred within 3 years of the last one in relation to which a course has been taken previously. In this scenario, alternative options to avoid a ban must be sought.

Avoiding a disqualification after having reached 12 points may be possible if the Court finds exceptional hardship.

If an exceptional hardship argument is put forward, the Court will be required to decide whether this would apply to the circumstances of the person who is eligible for disqualification. Normally, a Court will only decide not to disqualify if it can be shown that those who are dependent on the Defendant would suffer exceptional hardship for example children or elderly relatives. If no disqualification is imposed then the points will remain on the licence in the usual way. If the Court finds this it may also reduce the period of disqualification to below the normal period of 6 months. Any disqualification imposed under totting up “wipes the slate clean” of penalty points meaning that the points will cease to apply by the disqualification itself will be endorsed on the driving licence.

How long will 9 points stay on my record?

Penalty points stay on a driving licence for a period of 3 years from the date of the offence for totting up purposes, they are no longer visible on a driver record for 4 years and are declarable to insurance companies for 5 years.

Following a conviction for driving offences, the number of penalty points imposed will reflect the type and severity of the offence. For example, speeding offences will typically incur a 3 – 6 point licence endorsement, careless driving may incur anywhere between 3 – 9 penalty points, and driving without insurance could result in between 6 – 8 penalty points.

How does 9 penalty points on my driving licence affect insurance?

A driver with 9 penalty points can expect to be classified as a high risk potential client by insurance providers. This means that motorists with unspent convictions for driving offences will likely experience difficulty in securing similar car insurance premiums as would typically be offered if there were not any active convictions on the applicant’s licence.

Factors that may increase the price of car insurance include:

  • The nature of the conviction (type of driving offence) – Different convictions will affect insurance premiums in different ways. For example, a conviction for drink driving is normally placed in a higher risk category than speeding offences. Depending on the severity of the driving offence, premiums will rise.
  • Type of car – Different types of car are associated with higher and lower risk insurance factors. These factors could include the geographic theft rates for the vehicle’s make and model, the average cost of repairs for a particular make and model, and accident rates for that car
  • Age / years of driving experience / driving record / claims history – The insurance provider will examine a motorist’s personal circumstances and driving records as a whole in order to determine whether certain risk factors apply. For example, a ‘good-driver’ discount (typically up to 30%) may be removed for a speeding conviction.

Ultimately, each car insurance provider will be subject to its own policy regarding the extent to which 9 penalty points will affect the increase in premiums in relation to all relevant risk factors.

What happens if I do not disclose the points on my licence to my insurance provider?

Insurance providers will ask all relevant follow up questions relating to any disclosed convictions for driving offences (this includes spent convictions as well as any active driving licence endorsements). Failure to disclose convictions that tot up to 9 penalty points (of a maximum 12 points before facing instant disqualification) will likely result in one of the following options:

In the event of a motoring accident resulting in a claim, the insurer could charge an excess where unspent convictions that were not declared come to light.
The insurer could choose to invalidate the policy at any time if the discovery is made that unspent convictions were not declared at the time of taking out the policy.

A failure to disclose any unspent driving convictions at the time of attempting to take out motor vehicle insurance may itself be an offence, namely obtaining services by deception. The long lasting implications of a failure to disclose penalty points (especially a high number like 9 penalty points) could include higher future premiums for all types of insurance – e.g. car insurance, home insurance, holiday insurance.