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Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Prior October 2017, you could have been declared an habitual traffic offender if:
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.
There are many people who still have years, if not decades of disqualifications to serve arising from these Habitual Traffic Offender Declarations. Presently, there are two different types of applications that can be made to the Local Court to try and quash or remove disqualification periods:
This page deals only with applications to quash Habitual Traffic Offender Declarations. Read more about application to remove licence disqualifications.
Prior to October 2017 a Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration was made for any three "relevant offences" within a 5 year period. For the purposes of an HTOD 'relevant offences' are any of the following:-
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.
This means that the RMS no longer imposes a further five year disqualification period for three relevant offences within a five year period. However, the amendments did not remove existing disqualifications, which will still appear on a drivers record unless removed or quashed by a court.
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. This is an argument that the solicitors at Armstrong Legal use regularly when making applications of this nature.
When the amendments fist came into effect in October 2017 the law was somewhat ambiguous as to whether an application to quash a Habitual Offender Declaration could still be made. Some courts and Magistrate’s determined that the applications could not be filed or heard.
This is because 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.
The legislature have since passed a further amendment which specifically states that an application to quash a Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration can still be made. This provision is contained in clause 65 of Schedule 4 of the Road Transport Act 2013 which is replicated below:
An application to quash a habitual traffic offender declaration can be made in person at any NSW Local Court Registry, or through a legal representative appearing on your behalf. Before an application can be filed the registry will require completion of an approved form and approved NSW Traffic Record.
Once an application is filed it will be listed before a Magistrate. The Magistrate will determine the application by receiving any evidence such as character references, letter from the applicant, medical documents or employment documents as well as oral arguments.
A Magistrate can quash the habitual traffic offender declarations if they determine that "the disqualification imposed by the declaration is a disproportionate and unjust consequence having regard to the total driving record of the person and the special circumstances of the case." Submissions can be made to the Magistrate by the legal representative appearing for the person making the application, or the person making the application themselves.
If you have existing disqualification periods you should seek 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, as well as how best to prepare your matter.
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.