Classification of an offender as either a first or repeat offender is fundamental to the sentencing of traffic matters. For most major traffic matters there are automatic penalties that apply including automatic periods of licence disqualification. These penalties are significantly more severe for repeat offenders.
A person is a repeat offender with respect to a driving offence if it is the second or subsequent occasion on which the person is convicted of a major offence within the period of 5 years immediately preceding the offence for which the person is now charged. Major offences include offences such as drink driving and driving whilst disqualified.
Repeat offenders are also not entitled to be afforded the leniency of a section 10 non conviction order if they have been afforded that leniency in similar circumstances during the five years preceding the charge. This means that a repeat offender will have a conviction recorded against their name, will be subject to a period of licence disqualification and may be subject to further penalties. It is here a lawyer can help you to argue to reduce the period of disqualification from the automatic period and seek to reduce the overall punishment eg from one category of punishment like imprisonment to another category like a suspended sentence or bond.
However, a person before the court for a second major traffic offence will not be classified as a repeat offender if they received a section 10 non conviction order for their first major offence.
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.