What Does It Mean To Drive While Disqualified?
Driving whilst disqualified is an offence committed by an individual who has driven a motor vehicle on a road or road-related area while their licence is disqualified. For example, if you are driving and have been disqualified from driving as a result of a drink driving conviction, then you will be charged for driving whilst disqualified. This offence is highlighted under section 54(1) of the Road Transport Act 2013.
Usually, a roadside police interview will be conducted to clarify your details and the eligibility of your driver’s licence. These answers may be written down or recorded by an officer’s body-worn camera. During this conversation, your answers may be used as evidence against you and can determine the outcome of your case in court.
Can I Apply For A New Drivers Licence While My Current Licence Is Disqualified?
No. Individuals who make an application for a new motor vehicle licence under a false name or fail to mention that their current licence is disqualified will receive penalties.
What Are The Penalties For Driving Whilst Disqualified?
Driving Whilst Disqualified penalties are dependent on the driver’s current driving record and subsequent offences. Penalties can range from a one-off fine, further license disqualification, or in major cases, imprisonment.
Penalty For Your First Offence
A first offence is considered when the individual charged has been convicted of driving while their current licence is suspended, cancelled or disqualified but within the previous five years has had no prior disqualification convictions or any other major offence.
The maximum penalty for a driving whist disqualified offence, which is your first major traffic offence within 5 years, is a fine of $3,300.00 and/or a maximum term of 6 months imprisonment.
Along with this, there is an automatic disqualification period of 6 months and a minimum disqualification period of 3 months. Commonly, these offences are dealt with pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
Penalty For Your Second Or Subsequent Offence Within 5 Years
A ‘second or subsequent offence’ is considered when the driver is convicted of driving while their current licence is suspended, cancelled or disqualified but within the previous five years has been convicted with a previous offence of disqualification or for any other major offence.
The maximum penalty for a driving whist disqualified offence, if it is your second or subsequent major offence within 5 years, is a fine of $5,500.00 and/or a maximum term of 12 months imprisonment. This includes an automatic disqualification period of 12 months with a minimum period of 6 months disqualification.
Can I Avoid Getting Charged?
Even after finding an accused individual guilty, the court can still make the decision not to record a criminal conviction under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
The following factors are considered when sentencing an offender under section 10:
- The individual’s character, age, health and mental condition;
- The trivial nature or severity of the offence;
- The necessity of circumstances under which the offence was committed
- Any other factors which the court notes as relevant to the case.
There are also ways to ensure you prove your growth of character and change to increase your chances of achieving a section 10. We suggest showing your utmost remorse and contrition for your actions, attending a Traffic Offenders Program and having a clear series of events regarding why you were driving at the time of the offence. Click here to find out more about section 10.
Our Traffic Lawyers have successfully represented clients who have been convicted of several drive whilst disqualified offences over a short period, ensuring that those clients were saved from serving any jail time for the offending.
Possible Defences To Driving A Motor Vehicle Whilst Suspended
- You were not driving the car – The police must prove that it was you who committed the offence.
- You were unaware of your disqualification – Honest and reasonable mistake of fact. A court must prove that you were aware of your suspension or disqualification.
- Driving under necessity – If there was no alternative in an emergency situation you may be able to plea that driving whilst disqualified was a necessity.
Generally, penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are:
- Section 10 – No conviction recorded
- Section 9 – Good behaviour bond
- Community service order
- Section 12 – Suspended sentence
- Intensive correction order
- Home detention
- Prison sentence
What Happens If I Get Caught Driving While Disqualified?
If you are caught driving whilst disqualified your license is suspended immediately. During this time you will be unable to drive unless granted permission by a court during the immediate suspension period. Our criminal law lawyers can assist in this application.
If you are convicted by a court your licence will be disqualified meaning you will be unable to drive a vehicle until the period of disqualification has expired and a licence is reissued. You will also be issued with a criminal conviction which will appear on your record.
What Are The Consequences Of Having A Criminal Conviction?
A Criminal Conviction against your name can have serious ramifications on your professional life and travel overseas.
In most professions, employers will conduct a background check on you with an additional police check to ensure your candidacy. A police check like this will reveal your criminal record and conviction history including Driving Whilst Disqualified. In some professions, employees are required to declare criminal convictions and report them to a regulatory body while actively working. In this case, you may be dismissed from employment.
Criminal convictions can also inhibit you from travelling overseas as most countries require tourists to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. Disclosing any past criminal activity or convictions is more than likely when applying for a visa. Depending on the country you are planning on travelling to, you may be denied entry.
How Can LY Lawyers Help You With Your Driving While Disqualified Case?
Our specialised traffic lawyers can assist you and will use their abundant experience and expertise to assist in finding you the best possible outcome. We have had many successful clients fighting against these types of charges. You can find examples of these cases below: