Courts should be “cautious” of exceptional hardship claims

Loss of employment will not automatically be deemed as exceptional hardship under new proposed guidelines for sentencing speeding motorists.

Drivers who break the speed limit should no longer be able to avoid a driving ban because it would mean losing their job, under new rules for magistrates in England and Wales proposed by the Sentencing Council.

The judge-led organisation’s proposals state that “some hardship is likely to occur in many if not most orders of disqualification”, and courts should be “cautious” before claims of exceptional hardship are accepted.

Drivers are normally disqualified for a minimum of six months if they receive at least 12 penalty points within three years, unless they convince a court to issue an alternative sentence.

Sentencing Council chairman Lord Justice Holroyde said: “Sentencing guidelines are used in magistrates’ courts throughout England and Wales on a daily basis and it is important that they provide clear guidance to court users.

“This consultation is in response to requests from magistrates for changes to provide more information and bring greater clarity to these guidelines.

“We are keen to hear views on the proposals from magistrates, others working in the criminal justice system and anyone else with an interest in sentencing.”

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