Totting Up Ban FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

The majority of motoring offences, regardless of how they are dealt with, carry penalty points. These are imposed on a driving licence depending on the severity of a driving offence.

If you get 12 or more penalty points in any three year period, you are liable to a totting up driving ban. This will be issued by a Magistrates court and could last for a minimum of six months.

Read our complete list of totting up ban questions and answers below to better understand how the penalty points system works:

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The totting up system is based on penalty points, and is used by the courts to deal with drivers who commit offences on the road – in addition to the original driving ban and fine methods. Using this system, the courts can impose set points on a person’s driving licence depending on the nature of their offence. The courts can then track these motorists and identify whether or not they repeat their offences. Driving bans can be issued to drivers who commit offences multiple times.
Depending on the nature of a driving offence, penalty points will be imposed to identify that one has been committed. The minimum number of points for minor driving offences is 2 points, while points issued for other driving offences can vary (typically between 3 and 6 points). If a driver ‘tots up’ 12 penalty points or more through a series of offences over a three-year period, they could get a driving ban. The mandatory guideline is that under the totting up system, when a ban comes to an end, a driver’s licence is returned, their slate is wiped clean and all points are removed.
Unlike a totting up ban, a discretionary ban is imposed for a specific offence. The period of the ban will depend on the nature of the offence, and when the licence is returned to the driver at the end of the disqualification period, any previous penalty points are still valid.
There is a six-month mandatory period of disqualification from driving, but this only applies if you have no previous driving disqualification(s) to be taken into account. If you have been disqualified in the past, the courts could impose a driving ban of:

12 months – If a previous disqualification of at least 56 days has occurred within the last three years, immediately before the date of this offence.

Two years – If you have had more than one previous disqualification of at least 56 days which have taken place within the last three years, immediately before the date of this offence.

If you have no previous disqualifications, the courts may exercise discretion. For example, some drivers may be banned for three months instead of six – depending on the nature of their offence and other factors considered in court.
You may be able to keep your licence and avoid a driving ban if you have special circumstances, which you can justify in a submission of exceptional hardship.
From the date of conviction, penalty points will remain on your licence for four years – despite only being valid for three. If you acquire 12 or more points in a three year period, you could be disqualified from driving. If you receive 6 penalty points two years after passing your first driving test, you could be banned from driving and have your licence taken away.
Yes. The court will take into account the number of penalty points that were valid on your licence at the time of the driving offence.
Unfortunately no, but it’s possible the courts may exercise a discretion if an exceptional hardship submission is put forward. It is the duty of the court to consider your complete history as well as the significance behind your driving offences, but the amount of emphasis they place on either is at their discretion.
Any penalty points imposed by a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) will remain on your licence for three years. If you have 8 penalty points or under, you can accept the conditional offer of an FPI. If however you have 9 penalty points or more, you will receive a Postal Requisition instead. All points under the system count towards a driving ban if you get 12 or more.
An FPI is issued automatically by a Process Office after a Notice of Intended Prosecution is sent to them. At this stage, staff at the Process Office are not aware of how many points you have on your licence, so if you already have 9 points or more, you need to tell them that you cannot accept the conditional offer of a FPI.

If you do accept the offer, in theory it should be noted at the Process Office that you do not qualify and your payment and licence will be returned to you. If however they fail to notice that you don’t meet the criteria and your payment is accepted, your licence will be returned to you straight away with additional penalty points. This could take you to a total of 12 or more, which could result in a court referral. There will be no instant driving ban because only the courts can impose this.