Habitual Drink Driving Offenders

The Habitual Offender Scheme has been set up by the Road Transport Authority (‘RTA’) which issues penalties to people who repeatedly commit serious traffic offences.

Under the Habitual Offender Scheme there are a number of circumstances whereby a person can be classed as a Habitual Offender, including the most common situation:

  • If a driver accumulates 3 convictions for serious traffic offences or a relevant offence (as defined in a list provided in the “Relevant Offences” page) within a 5 year period then the driver will be declared as a “Habitual Offender” by the Courts and the RTA.

Very serious and harsh penalties will apply to any person who has been declared a Habitual Offender including being disqualified from driving for an automatic period of 5 years. This 5 year disqualification period will commence once any other period of disqualification handed down by the Court has expired.

For example if a person is given a disqualification period for their 3rd major offence within a 5 year period then they will also be declared a Habitual Offender and receive a further 5 year period of disqualification on top of the penalties received for their 3rdmajor offence.

The Court has discretion to order that a longer period of disqualification be issued on the person. For example this may include a disqualification for “life”.

Whilst the automatic disqualification period issued to a Habitual Offender is 5 years the Court has discretion to reduce that period of disqualification down to the minimum period of 2 years.

If you have committed your 3rd major traffic offence within a 5 year period and you are looking at being declared a Habitual Offender by the Courts then we suggest you contact our office immediately – Call (02) 9283 8622.

We will devise a plan to help you reduce the period of disqualification imposed by the Court should you be declared a Habitual Offender. It is important that you contact us as soon as possible because there is no right of appeal against additional disqualification periods imposed for being declared a Habitual Offender.

What is a Relevant or Major Traffic Offence

If you have committed 2 previous relevant offences within the past 5 years then you will be declared a Habitual Offender by the Courts if you appear before the Courts for a 3rd relevant or major offence.

The following offences are considered major or relevant offences which will be closely looked at by the Courts:

  • Murder or manslaughter
  • Any offence under the Crimes Act 1900
  • Drive recklessly/furiously/at a speed dangerous to the public
  • Drive negligently and cause death or grievous bodily harm
  • Menacing driving
  • PCA (drink driving) offences
  • Refuse/fail breath/blood/urine/oral test
  • Alter a breath/blood/urine/oral test
  • Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of one of the above offences
  • Drive more than 45 km over the speed limit
  • Drive unlicensed (2nd offence)
  • Drive/make application for licence while disqualified, suspended or cancelled

Remember if you have been charged for any type of traffic offence where you are required to attend Court and you have 2 convictions for any relevant offence listed above then we highly advise you to contact us immediately to find our whether or not you are at risk of being declared a Habitual Offender by the Courts.

How to Quash A Habitual Offender Declaration? 

There is a way you can have the Habitual Offender Declaration lifted and that is by making a specific Application to the Court.

In addition to the Application you will be required to attend the Court and convince the Court as to why the Declarion should be lifted or alternatively have the Habitual Offender Declaration period reduced.

In particular the Court needs to be convinced that the disqualification period imposed through the Habitual Offender Declaration is “disproportionate”and “unjust consequence” taking into consideration your total driving record and the special circumstances and issues relation to your situation.

An Application to quash the declaration can be quite a technical process and for this reason you should definately obtain the services of a lawyer to represent you on such a matter.