The offence of Drive Whilst Disqualified occurs when the police catch you driving after you have been disqualified from driving by a court. This crime is generally taken quite seriously by the courts.
This is different than a suspension period. A suspension is imposed by the Police or the RMS, while a disqualification can only be imposed by a court. It is important to know the difference, as the penalties for driving with a suspension or a disqualification are different.
What is the penalty for driving whilst disqualified?
Depending on how many times you have committed the offence of driving while disqualified, the penalties will vary. This is what the law states in regards to the penalty for drive whilst disqualified:
If it is your first offence:
Automatic licence disqualification of 12 months
Maximum term of imprisonment of 18 months
Maximum fine of $3300
If it is your second or more offence in the last 5 years:
Automatic licence disqualification of 2 years
Maximum term of imprisonment of 2 years
Maximum fine of $5500
Will I go to jail as a penalty for driving whilst disqualified?
A full term of imprisonment is the last resort in terms of sentencing for this crime. Full-time custody only occurs if the offender has a very poor criminal history or driving record.
For example, if you repeatedly commit the offence in a very short time period, the court will consider that the only option available to the court is a sentence of full-time imprisonment. Generally, magistrates will start considering this more serious sentence after about 3 offences of drive whilst disqualified in a short period of time.
Before you are sent to jail on a full time basis however, the court will often consider other sentencing options, including community service and home detention.
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