If you have been convicted of three or more serious driving offences in the last five years, you may have been declared a Habitual Traffic Offender by the Court or the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS, formerly known as the RTA).
If you have been declared a Habitual Traffic Offender by the Court or RMS, this will result in an additional five year disqualification being imposed in addition to any disqualification period imposed by the Court.
The additional 5 year period of any disqualification does not commence until all other disqualifications, and all other periods of licence cancellation or suspension, have been completed. It is possible that more than one habitual traffic offender declaration may be imposed, each Habitual Traffic Offender declaration results in an additional 5 year disqualification period.
The Court is empowered to order a longer or shorter period of disqualification period, including disqualification for life.
You can however apply to the local Court to have the Habitual Traffic Offender declaration quashed (overturned).
An Application to quash the Habitual Traffic Offender declaration should be filed at the same Court as where the original disqualification was imposed. When filing the application you will need file with the Court “Application Notice Declaration as a Habitual Traffic Offender be quashed”. When the form is completed you will need your licence number and reasons why the declaration should be quashed. You will also need to:
attach to the Application, a copy of the letter from RMS declaring you a Habitual Traffic Offender, or
list the three offences that led to your declaration, including the dates and the local Court that convicted you.
The application will thereafter be filed with the Local Court. A filing fee of $87 applies. Once filed the Court will list the application and provide you with the date that the application will be heard.
When the matter comes before a Court if the Court is satisfied that the 5 year disqualification is “a disproportionate and unjust consequence having regard to the total driving record of the person and the special circumstances of the case” the Court may
order a shorter period of disqualification (but not shorter than 2 years); or
set aside the Habitual Traffic Offender declaration completely.
The Court will take into account your driving history, your need for a licence and any special circumstances. Matters which may assist you include:
if you have a medical condition, a letter to the Court from your doctor stating that you need to attend medical appointments and the location of these appointments;
if you are a carer for someone who cannot drive, a letter from their doctor or from them explaining that they cannot drive;
a letter from your employer explaining why you need your licence for work;
if you believe you need your licence to find work, evidence of your attempts to find a job without a licence.
While an application may be made at any time if a Magistrate decides to quash your declaration, you will still be required serve the remainder of any other licence disqualification period before you can get your licence back. It is therefore recommended that these applications be made towards the end of the Court imposed disqualification period so that you can evidence to the Court that you have served the disqualification period without re-offending. This will strengthen the likelihood of the application being granted by the Court.
As these application may result in you receiving your license back 5 years earlier than you otherwise may be entitled it is recommended that you obtain legal advice from a specialised traffic lawyer. If the Magistrate does not quash the declaration you can’t appeal their decision, but you can make an application to the local Court at another time.