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Habitual traffic offender declarations

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

Andrew Tiedt

What is a Habitual Offender Declaration?

Prior October 2017, you could have been declared an habitual traffic offender if:

  • A court in NSW convicted you of a relevant offence; and
  • In the five years prior, you were convicted of at least two other relevant offences, if they were committed on different occasions.

The effect of the Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration (HTOD) was that the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) would impose a further five year licence disqualification, on top of the disqualification imposed by the Court.



What offences are relevant offences?

For the purposes of an HTOD 'relevant offences' are any of the following:-

  • Murder or manslaughter which involved the use of a motor vehicle;
  • Any offence under the Crimes Act where death or bodily harm is caused to a person through the use of a motor vehicle;
  • Predatory driving;
  • Police pursuit;
  • Failing to stop and assist after vehicle impact causing death or grievous bodily harm;
  • Any PCA offence;
  • Driving with a prescribed illicit substance in your system;
  • Driving under the influence;
  • Negligent driving causing death or grievous bodily harm;
  • Dangerous driving;
  • Menacing driving;
  • Refusing or failing to provide blood sample or submit to breath analysis;
  • Wilfully altering blood/breath/urine/oral sample;
  • Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of any of the above offences;
  • Driving more than 30km+ over the speed limit;
  • Driving suspended/disqualified/cancelled; and
  • Making an application for a licence whilst suspended/disqualified/cancelled.

Amendments introduced by the Road Transport Amendment (Driver Licence Disqualification) Act 2017

In October 2017, the Road Transport Amendment (Driver Licence Disqualification) Act 2017 commenced. One of the major changes introduced by that legislation was the removal of the Habitual Traffic Offender Scheme.

The Second Reading Speech stated that studies showed that lengthy disqualification periods did not act as a deterrent to committing further offences, particularly offences of unauthorised driving. The HTOD scheme was particularly onerous and often trapped people into a cycle of reoffending behaviour.

Can I do anything about the Application?

At this moment, this is a difficult question to answer with certainty.

When the changes were made in October 2017 to remove the HTOD scheme it also removed what was section 220 of the Road Transport Act, which gave the court the ability to quash Habitual Traffic Offender Declarations.

There is no definite answer yet as to whether the court still has the power to quash Habitual Traffic Offender Declarations as it did pre-October 2017. There is an argument to be made that the Court still does retain this power. Interpretation of the law is never black and white, each Magistrate will have to consider the legislation and individually determine whether they have the power to hear (and grant) such an application.

If you have existing disqualification periods you should seek expert legal advice as to whether or not you are eligible to apply to the court to quash your Habitual Traffic Offender Declarations or have the existing disqualification periods removed.



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.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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