Special Reasons Argument
Making a Special Reasons Argument
The purpose of a Special Reasons Argument is to try to persuade Magistrates, after they have heard the evidence under oath, that under the circumstances in this instance it would not be appropriate to impose penalty points on your driving licence.
The principle behind ‘special reasons’ says that for certain motoring offences, even if the defendant is technically guilty of the offence, the court may choose not to impose a driving ban, even where a ban is normally mandatory.
Special reasons are covered in S.34 RTA 1988
It is more normal to use Special Reasons Arguments to avoiding bans in drink driving cases but, it is also possible to use them to avoid penalty points for any endorsable offences.
In order to successfully argue Special Reasons it is necessary for you to give evidence under oath so that you can convince the Magistrates that under the circumstances, on this occasion it would not be fair to impose penalty points.
The most frequently heard Special Reasons Argument is that the offence was committed in the context of an emergency. You may have been rushing someone to casualty and in doing so you went through a red traffic light or exceeded the speed limit.
Magistrates will not impose penalty points on your licence if they find that there were special reasons with respect to your case.
Magistrates do not have a set list of special reasons, but in order to be a special reason it must fulfil the following criteria and must be;
1. A mitigating or extenuating circumstance
2. It must not amount in law to a defence to the allegation
3. It must be directly connected to the commission of the offence
4. It must be something that the Court ought to take into consideration when deciding what punishment to impose.
If your offence was a genuine mistake then you can argue special reasons. This can be quite useful as most traffic offences are what is referred to as ‘Strict Liability’ This means that whether or not you intended to commit the offence, the fact that you committed it makes you guilty.
We can use a special reasons argument to avoid points on your licence if you didn’t mean to commit the offence in question, but this is a difficult argument to always win, so it is best to take expert legal advice before you make an application to the court.
Section 34 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 contains information with regard to special reasons arguments and when they can be used.