Penalty points are the endorsements you get on your driving licence as punishment for committing a minor motoring offence. The penalty point system was put in place as a deterrent to motorists in a bid to encourage better behaviour on the roads. However many now argue that the increase of speed, traffic light and bus lane cameras suggests that the penalty point system has become more of a money making scheme for the government rather than about encouraging better behaviour as Parliament originally intended. Whatever the view, the results of falling fowl of the penalty point system can be drastic.
Incur too many penalty points and it could result in licence revocation (for drivers who accumulate six penalty points within their first two years of passing their practical test) or a six month disqualification from driving for more experienced drivers who reach the dreaded twelve point threshold.
Penalty points remain active (for totting up purposes) on your driving licence for three years, and appear on your driver record for four years.
For sentencing purposes, when considering whether you are going to reach the six point threshold (for new drivers) or the 12 month totting up threshold, it’s important to remember to count from the date of the oldest offence within the three year period to the date of the most recent offence. The date of conviction is inconsequential. All too often I come across motorists who ask me to get their hearing adjourned so that the old points will have dropped off their licence by the time the case gets to Court. This really does not work. It wouldn’t matter if the case was adjourned for ten years; the offences themselves would have still been committed within a three year period and the case would therefore proceed to a totting up/revocation hearing.
How to find out how many penalty points are on your driving licence
It’s always useful to know how many penalty points you have on your driving licence. Previously, your paper counterpart held details of how many penalty points were on your driving licence. That all changed in June 2015 when the counterpart driving licence was abolished.
Now, you can obtain an up-to-date snapshot of exactly how many penalty points are on your driving licence by visiting: www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence. Simply enter your driving licence number, national insurance number and postcode, and the current legal state of your licence will be displayed for you.
You never know, you may need to set that speed limiter or start using the speed camera detection function of your sat-nav once you get your results!
Article written by Expert Motoring Lawyer, Alison Ashworth; Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law Ltd.
Ashworth Motoring Law Ltd are specialists in defending all types of driving offences, and are experts in keeping motorists on the road when they face totting up or new driver revocation issues. If you would like expert advice and guidance regarding your case, call our free motoring law helpline on 0330 33 22 770 to speak to a specialist driving offence solicitor. Lines are open round the clock so get in touch whenever’s best for you. We look forward to taking your call.