Habitual Offender Legislation

Published: 09th September 2011
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The Habitual Offender provisions introduced in New South Wales impose mandatory disqualification periods following the third offence in the past five years for certain specific charges.

Any suspension under habitual offender legislation applies in addition to the existing penalties for an offence.

The offences on the list are defined as "major offences" under the Road Transport (General) Act, and include the following:

>> Vehicular murder, manslaughter, wounding or grievous bodily harm;

>> Failure to stop or assist following an accident causing injury;

>> Predatory driving;

>> Involvement in a police pursuit;

>> Furious, reckless or menacing driving or driving "at a speed or in a manner that is dangerous to the public";

>> Negligent driving occasioning death or GBH;

>> Drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs, or refusal to submit to alcohol/drug testing.

>> Speeding offences involving exceeding the speed limit by 45 kilometres per hour or more;

>> Driving while disqualified, suspended (non-Fines Act) or cancelled.

>> A second offence for driving while never licensed.

Note that there needs to be a third separate incident, not necessarily a third separate charge.Therefore,if you faced multiple charges in a single traffic matter, this will count as only one incident for the purposes of the habitual offender legislation.

The base penalty for a person declared a habitual offender is a 5 year disqualification,although the penalties can be reduced or eliminated as follows.

>> The suspension period can be reduced to as little as 2 years if the court determines that a 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 declaration can be quashed entirely (resulting in no additional penalty) based on a successful appeal under Section 202 of the Road Transport (General) Act. Strangely, the criteria for quashing a declaration is identical to the abovementioned criteria for reducing the habitual offender disqualification period from 5 to 2 years.

Accordingly, there is substantial scope for the removal of a habitual defender declaration and avoiding additional penalties.LAC Lawyers can help you in regard to a traffic offence where you are at risk of a habitual offender declaration.

LAC Lawyers can also assist if you are currently disqualified due to a habitual offender declaration, as you may be able to appeal the ongoing penalty based on the same criteria for a "disproportionate or unjust consequence".

If you are at risk of being declared a habitual offender, you need the best legal assistance available. LAC Lawyers offer fixed fee legal representation for all traffic law matters. Call today on 1300 799 888 (Sydney) or 1300 734 638 (Melbourne) for advice and representation.

If you are interested to know something more about Habitual Traffic Offender and Traffic Lawyer then please visit our website www.laclawyers.com.au

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