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Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration

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What is an Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration

A person is declared an Habitual Traffic Offender after they have, in the previous 5 years, been convicted of at least 3 “relevant offences”.

What are Relevant Offences

The relevant offences are generally what are called “major offences” and include a large number of common offences including drink driving, driving whilst suspended or disqualified, and negligent driving occasioning death of grievous bodily harm.

What are the consequences of being declared an Habitual Traffic Offender

Once a person is convicted by a court of a third offence within 5 years, that person will be declared an Habitual Traffic Offender and disqualified from driving for a period of 5 years.

The 5 year disqualification will commence at the end of any court imposed disqualification. So, for example, if you have been convicted of Drink Driving and disqualified for 2 years, the habitual traffic offender declaration will mean you will be disqualified for a total of 7 years.

An individual can be declared a Habitual Traffic Offender more than once. If there is a second or subsequent declaration, the further 5 year disqualification will commence at the end of the earlier 5 year disqualification resulting in a total of 10 years for example.

Can the declaration be quashed?

Yes. The declaration can be quashed in two ways:

  1. By the court at the time of convicting you for the third relevant offence
  2. By the same court that convicted you of the third relevant offence, but at a later time.

This means that even if an application to quash the Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration was not made when you were convicted, an application can be made at a later stage. It is often the case that an application will be made towards the end of any court imposed disqualification.

What will the court consider when deciding whether to quash the declaration

The test applied by the court is whether, having regard to the total driving record of the person as well as the special circumstances of the case, the disqualification imposed by the declaration is a disproportionate and unjust consequence. Section 220(1) Road Transport Act 2013.

What is “unjust and disproportionate” will vary and depend on the individual circumstances of each case. Often, if a person can demonstrate to the court that they have rehabilitated from the period during which they committed the offences, this will be in their favour. Having already successfully served a substantial period of court imposed disqualification will also weigh in favour of the declaration being quashed. Hardship, including hardship to family, may also be relevant.

Streeton Lawyers are experts in appealing Habitual Traffic Offender Declarations. For a free, no obligation consultation, contact one of our traffic law specialist.