For most motoring offences you’ll get penalty points and a fine. Once you reach 12 points, the court will give you an immediate driving ban for a minimum of six months. This is called a ‘totting-up’ disqualification.

This makes it possible to face a six-month ban with only one previous conviction: if you’ve been given six points for a past motoring offence and now you’re facing another one that could earn you another six.

So if you’re accused of a driving offence that could take you up to 12 penalty points, it’s vital to get legal advice – only by avoiding a conviction can you avoid a ban.

If you do accumulate 12 points, there’s only one way to avoid a ban: you’d need to show the ban would cause you ‘exceptional hardship’. If the magistrates agree, they have the discretionary power to decide against disqualifying you from driving. It’s very important to show the court proper evidence of exceptional hardship though –standing in court and stating that you’ll lose your job probably won’t be enough. Good legal advice is vital to help you make this argument.