If you’ve ever received penalty points on your driving license, you might have come across the term ‘totting up’, but many road users aren’t clear on what it means. While some understand that, on a basic level, it refers to accumulating more and more points, many are unaware of the consequences of totting up. This blog will help to shed some light on the situation, allowing you to better understand the law and stay safe on the road.

What exactly does totting up mean?

Totting up does refer to accumulating points on your driving licence, but it only applies to situations where you’ve received 12 or more penalty points within three years. If this occurs, you run the risk of becoming disqualified and will have to attend a court hearing. While not all cases result in disqualification, drivers can be faced with a minimum ban of six months. However, if a driver has received previous disqualifications within the previous three years, the minimum disqualification may be longerDrivers that have already undergone a period of disqualification lasting at least 56 days can face a ban of up to 12 months. This increases if you’ve been disqualified on multiple occasions in the past three years, meaning some road users can even expect a two-year ban.

How to tell if I am at risk of totting up?

If you’ve been accused of an offence which carries penalty points, look at the three year period before the date of this offence. If you have previous points for offences committed during this period you may be at risk of totting up. For example, if a driver receives a notice of intended prosecution for a minor speeding offence committed on 1st January 2022 the relevant period in that case applied from 2nd January 2019. If that driver has 9 points for offences which occurred on or after that date he will be ineligible to accept a fixed penalty of 3 points and is likely instead to receive Court papers and be required to attend Court in due course.

Does totting up always result in disqualification?

If you and your solicitor are able to demonstrate that the proposed disqualification would cause exceptional hardship then the Court may decide not to disqualify you or to disqualify you for a shorter period than the minimum.. There are no strict rules as to what may or may not amount to exceptional hardship. Typically, it can be argued successfully if you have dependents who would be profoundly affected if you were unable to drive. For example, if you would lose your job as a result and couldn’t support your family or have elderly relatives who require you to drive in order to care for them. Once an exceptional hardship argument has been argued successfully, the same grounds cannot be submitted again in the following three year period.

Is there any benefit to delaying my Court hearing until after the points have expired from my licence?

No, because the points apply from the dates of the offences not as at the date of the hearing. The Court will look at the three year period preceding the date of the offence not the hearing If a person is at risk of totting up, the only potential benefit to a delay would be if an exceptional hardship argument has been argued within three years so as to ensure that, by the date the hearing takes place, it is more than three years since it was submitted successfully. That way, the same grounds for exceptional hardship could potentially be relied upon again.

What happens if I am disqualified?

Being disqualified means that you won’t be able to do any type of driving for the duration stated in your court hearing. If you do then you will be committing the offence of driving whilst disqualified which may carry a custodial sentence.Once you have served your disqualification , you will be eligible to re-apply for your licence to the DVLA. Any penalty points that you had before the ban will no longer apply however a record of the disqualification will be endorsed on your licence.

Seek legal help for totting up today

If you’re concerned about the risk of totting up or are due to appear in court contact our expert team today. With many years of experience in all kinds of motoring offences, our team can help you to understand your situation, offer advice, and assist with a Court hearing if needed.