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Life Disqualifications

 A person who commits serious traffic offences in Western Australia and does so repeatedly can eventually face disqualification from driving for life. Life disqualifications can occur in several situations. This article summarises the offences that can lead to disqualification from driving for life and what can be done to remove such an order. 

What is the effect of a life disqualification?

When a person receives a life disqualification, they are not permitted to hold or apply for a driver’s licence ever again, unless the disqualification is removed.

When are life disqualifications imposed?

There are three situations where life disqualifications must be imposed in Western Australia. 

They are where:

  1. The offender has committed three or more offences against section 63 of the Road Traffic Act; (driving with a BAC of more than 0.15); 
  2. The offender has committed three or more offences against section 64AB of the Act (driving while impaired by the influence of illicit drugs);
  3. The offender has committed three or more offences against section 60 or s60A of the Act (reckless driving or driving at a speed of more than 45km/h over the limit or at a speed over 155km/h)

It should be noted that if an offender refuses to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine at the request of a police officer, they are taken to have committed an offence and the offence is taken as a prior offence for the purposes of a life disqualification.

Can you remove a life disqualification?

It is possible for an offender who has been sentenced to disqualification for life to apply to the District Court of Western Australia (or the Supreme Court of Western Australia if the disqualification was imposed by the Supreme Court) to have the life disqualification removed. This application can only be made once 10 years have passed since the disqualification was ordered and it is at the discretion of the presiding judge to decide whether the disqualification should be lifted.

In making this decision the court will take into account:

  • whether removing the disqualification will endanger the public;
  • whether the offender is of good character;
  • the circumstances of the offences that attracted the disqualification;
  • whether the offender has taken steps towards rehabilitation since the disqualification;
  • whether any further offences have been committed since the life disqualification; and
  • whether the offender needs a driver’s licence.

The applicant should file an affidavit addressing the above points.

What else do I need to do?

A person applying to have a life disqualification removed should provide a copy of their criminal/traffic history and a record of traffic infringement. The criminal/traffic history can be obtained by a Freedom of Information Application. The record of traffic infringements can be obtained from a local police station.

Applicants may also obtain character references for the court from people such as employers or business associates that they have known for a long time to increase their chances of the application being successful.

Removal of life disqualification is not a licence to drive

If an application to remove a life disqualification is successful, this does not mean that the applicant has a licence to drive. The successful applicant may not resume driving until the Department of Transport has re-issued their driver’s licence. If their licence was cancelled, they will have to make a new application for a licence.

Extraordinary Driver’s Licence

Some offenders may be eligible to apply for an Extraordinary Driver’s Licence, to allow them to drive with certain restrictions.

If you require legal advice in a traffic law matter or in any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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