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Obtain a license by false declaration

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Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

10 Practical tips for representing yourself

Obtaining a Driver Licence by Misrepresentation or False Declaration

Section 22 of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998 states:

(1) A person must not:

(a) by a false statement or any misrepresentation or other dishonest means, obtain or attempt to obtain a driver licence or the renewal of a driver licence, or
(b) without lawful authority or excuse, possess a driver licence obtained or renewed using those means.

(2) A driver licence so obtained or renewed is void, and the Authority may alter the driver licence register accordingly.

This section is extremely broad in the sense that it refers to any misrepresentation, with no requirement that the misrepresentation be material, intended to deceive or involve the misappropriation of the name of another person.

Possible misrepresentations may be in the form of 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.

Furthermore, the effect of s22(2) is that a licence tainted by any misrepresentation is void from the outset with the effect that a person cannot, at any point, rely on that licence as a lawful authority to drive. This would be the case even if the person has otherwise passed all other regulatory requirements (such as driver competency tests) and even if they are not aware that their licence is void and of no effect.

The flow-on implications include a possible lack of insurance coverage when someone with a person holding a licence that is void under section 22 is involved in an accident and the possible additional offences of ‘Drive Whilst Unlicenced’ and/or ‘Drive Whilst Never Licenced’.

Whilst an offence under section 22 is punishable by way of a monetary fine only, it is possible that a person who obtains a licence by false declaration may be subject to prosecution under the fraud provisions in the Crimes Act 1900, which carry maximum penalties of lengthy terms of imprisonment. This was the approach adopted by the prosecution (and accepted by the Court) in Clarkson v R [2007] NSWCCA 70.

In Clarkson, the Defendant sought to argue that it was not an offence to apply for a licence using a name that is an alias. He had filled out the licence application forms using four different names and provided false birth certificates in support of each application. The Court found that an offence could be committed under the Crimes Act in relation to fraudently obtaining a driver licence if three key elements were met:

  • That the accused person pretended to be another person
  • That the accused person had done so with the intent to obtain ‘property’ in the form of a driver licence
  • That the actions of the accused were carried out with an intention to commit fraud
  • In considering any identity-related fraud offence, it should be noted that the mere use of an alias (including a name that has not been registered with the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages) will not necessarily amount to criminal conduct. As the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has noted: ‘Speaking generally, the law of this country allows any person to assume any name, provided its use is not calculated to deceive and to inflict pecuniary loss.

where to next?

In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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