The RTA will impose additional periods of disqualification on top of any disqualification period imposed by the Court if you have been convicted of three or more relevant offences within the last five years.
If this occurs, you will be declared a habitual traffic offender.
A ‘relevant offence’ is defined as any of the following:
– Any offence under the Crimes Act 1900 involving death or bodily harm arising out of the use of a motor vehicle;
– Drive recklessly/furiously/at a speed/manner dangerous to the public;
– Menacing or predatory driving;
– Drink driving offences;
– Refuse/fail breath/blood/urine/oral test
– Alter breath/blood/urine/oral test
– Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of one of the above offences;
– Drive at least 45km over the speed limit;
– Drive unlicensed (2nd offence); or
– Drive/make an application for licence while disqualified, suspended or cancelled.
The automatic period of disqualification imposed if you are declared a habitual traffic offender is an additional five years to commence at the end of your current court imposed disqualification period.
The Government introduced the concept of a habitual offender in 1998 to remove repeat offenders from the road to make the roads safer.
What can the court do if you are declared a habitual traffic offender?
If you are declared a habitual traffic offender, the court can make one of two orders:
- Quash the traffic offender declaration completely; or
- Allow the declaration, but reduce the period of disqualification to a period of at least two years, or alternatively increase the disqualification period (there is no maximum period, you can be disqualified for life!).
You or your lawyer should address the fact that you will be declared a habitual offender when you are being sentenced for your third relevant offence and ask the Court to quash the declaration at that time.
The Court may refuse to do this, and direct you to make an application at the end of your Court imposed period of disqualification.
If this happens then you should apply to the Court to quash the habitual offender declaration just before your current period of disqualification is due to expire.
Alternatively, the Court might quash, or reduce the declaration (two years is the minimum period) there and then.
To quash the declaration, you must show that the disqualification imposed as a result of the declaration is a disproportionate and unjust consequence in light of your total driving record and any special circumstances of your case.
If you have been declared a habitual offender, or think you may have been charged with your third ‘relevant’ offence contact our experienced criminal law team today on (02) 9653 9466 to maximise your chances of having the declaration quashed.