Traffic Law

Drive whilst licence cancelled – matter dismissed and licence saved

Charge: Drive whilst licence cancelled (second offence); pursuant to section 54(4) of the Road Transport Act 2013 

Penalties: For a first offence - The maximum penalties for this offence are a fine of $3,300 and a term of imprisonment for 18 months; an automatic disqualification period of 12 months. For a second offence - a fine of $5,500 and a term of imprisonment for 2 years; an automatic period of disqualification of 2 years.

Case summary: Our client was charged by police for driving whilst licence was cancelled by the RMS. Our client had a poor driving record and had been disqualified for a period of 20 months. Due to confusion over when the disqualification period ended, our client attended the RMS registry and reapplied for a licence before the expiration of the disqualification period. As our client was not yet eligible to have his licence reissued, the RMS refused to issue a licence. As our client had not yet returned to the RMS after his disqualification period had ended. By law, when someone becomes a disqualified driver, their licence also remains cancelled until it is renewed at the RMS.

At the time of driving, our client was moving a vehicle across the road to assist a friend whose toddler was throwing a tantrum on the side of the road. This friend had also been employed for the whole of our client’s disqualification period as a driver. Despite the financial strain that this caused, it was necessary as our client had invested in a courier franchise and was the sole driver shortly prior to being disqualified. 

Our client pleaded guilty to the charge and was facing a maximum fine of $5,500 and an automatic 2 year disqualification of his licence.

Despite this being our client’s third major offence in a period of 2 years, we submitted that, taking into account (among other things) the circumstances of offending, the fact that our client had completed the Traffic Offenders Programme and the client’s strong need for a licence, the Magistrate should afford him leniency and not convict him for the offence.

Result: The Magistrate agreed that the case warranted leniency and in accordance with our submissions, dismissed the matter pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act upon our client entering into a good behaviour bond.

This means that rather than receive a fine of up to $5,500 and a minimum 2 years’ further disqualification, our client was eligible to reapply for a licence immediately. This avoided a further minimum 2 years of severe financial strain and our client was able to get the courier business back on track and move forward.

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