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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Obtaining License by False Statement


Under section 29 of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 it is an offence to obtain a driver licence by a false statement.

The offence

To convict you of an offence under this section, the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  1. Obtained, renewed or possessed without lawful authority an Australia or external driver licence; and
  2. This was done by the way of:
    1. A false statement;
    2. A misrepresentation; or
    3. Other dishonest means.

This section is quite broad in the sense that it captures any misrepresentation. The misrepresentation does not need to be one that is material to the application, nor does it have to be intended to deceive, or involve the misappropriation of the name of another person.

Examples of misrepresentations that would be caught by this section are be: using a fake name, providing an incorrect address, or declaring the wrong date of birth in an attempt to avoid certain age requirements contained in the licensing legislation.

A licence tainted by any misrepresentation is void from the outset. That is, you cannot, at any point, rely on that licence as a lawful authority to drive. That is the case even if you have passed all the other requirements (such as the driver competency tests) and even if you are not aware that your licence is void and of no effect.

There are also possible flow-on implications to this. For example, there may be a possible lack of insurance coverage if you are involved in an accident and have a licence that is void under this section. There is also the possibility of being charged with additional offences of “drive whilst unlicensed” and/or “drive whilst never licensed.”

Penalties

The maximum penalty if you are convicted of this offence is a fine of 20 penalty units ($3200). However, it is possible for a person who obtains a licence by a false declaration to be charged under the fraud provisions of the Crimes Act 1900.

Regardless of how bad your traffic record is, the court has discretion whether to record a conviction. If the court decides not to record a conviction, you will not be disqualified from driving. Section 17 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 allows a court that finds a person guilty of an offence the discretion not to impose a conviction against them.

Unlawful Possession of a Licence

Under section 30 of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 it is an offence to unlawfully possess an Australian or external driver licence without lawful authority or excuse.

To convict you of an offence under this section the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  • Possessed a licence that was:
    • issued to someone else;
    • forged, fraudulently changed or changed in a way calculated to deceive; or
    • resembling a licence that is calculated to deceive.
  • Forged or fraudulently changed or used a driver licence;
  • Fraudulently lent or allowed to be used by someone else a driver licence;
  • Changed a driver licence in a way calculated to deceive; or
  • Defaced, damaged or otherwise interfered with a driver licence.

All references to driver licences in this provision refer to Australian licences and external licences.

The maximum fine if you are convicted of an offence under this section is 20 penalty units ($3200).

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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