Immediate Disqualification Notices (WA)
In most cases, when a person in Western Australia is stopped by police and has committed an alcohol-related offence, they will be served with an Immediate Disqualification Notice pursuant to section 71C of the Road Traffic Act 1974. Upon receipt of the notice, the alleged offender will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for a period of two months. This article outlines when Immediate Disqualification Notices are issued in WA and what effect they have.
What is an alcohol-related offence?
The alcohol-related offences in Western Australia are set out in the below table.
|Exceed 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood||Section 64 Road Traffic Act 1974|
|Driving under the influence of alcohol||Section 63 Road Traffic Act 1974|
|Refusing to provide a breath or blood sample for analysis||Section 67 Road Traffic Act 1974|
What must the immediate disqualification notice include?
The disqualification notice must:
- Identify for which offence the notice is given;
- Specify the grounds on which the notice is given;
- Identify the time and date of the alleged offence;
- Identify where the alleged offence was committed;
- Describe the offence with reasonable clarity;
- Identify the provision that creates the offence; and
- Include a statement to the effect that section 71F contains the circumstances in which the alleged offender may apply to the court for an order revoking the notice.
Duration of an immediate disqualification notice
A person who is served an immediate disqualification notice is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for the period of the notice unless revoked sooner.
If the alleged offender is acquitted, the notice is immediately revoked.
Revoking an immediate disqualification notice
In certain circumstances, a police officer may be required to immediately revoke an immediate disqualification notice. This includes when:
- The police officer becomes aware that the breath analysing equipment was faulty at the time of the offence;
- A charge for the offence to which the notice relates has not been laid within 10 days after the time when the notice was given; or
- A charge for which the offence relates is discontinued.
If a notice is revoked as per the above, the officer is required to advise the alleged offender that it has been revoked.
Does this affect the sentence I will receive?
Pursuant to section 71H of the Road Traffic Act 1974, the court is to take into consideration any period of disqualification already served pursuant to an immediate disqualification notice.
In practical terms, the court usually makes an order that any term of disqualification imposed is reduced by any period already served.
Breach of an immediate disqualification notice
If you are caught by police whilst subject to an immediate disqualification notice, you are driving without authority to do so. This will result in your car being impounded and a further charge being laid. You will have to attend the Magistrates Court to answer the charge.
Should you be convicted of driving with no authority to do so, your licence will be suspended for a further period of disqualification which will be ordered to be served cumulatively.
This means that if you receive a period of 9 months disqualification for your original offence of drink driving and you receive a period of 9 months disqualification for driving with no authority, you will be required to serve a period of 18 months before you are eligible to drive again.
Can I apply for an extraordinary driver’s licence?
The simple answer is no. You are not eligible to apply for an extraordinary driver’s licence whilst disqualified pursuant to an Immediate Disqualification Notice.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.