Habitual Offender Declarations in NSW

The Offence

Prior to 28th October 2017

For offences prior to 28 October 2017, any person who had committed and was convicted of any driving offences for the third time or more within a five year period was declared an habitual offender from then onwards.

The conviction must have been three relevant offences within a five-year period and may include any of the following: major offences, drink driving, drug driving, driving exceeding the 45Kph limit over the designated speed limit, arrested for driving for a second time without ever being licensed, convicted of driving while disqualified or convicted of similar offences in another Australian state or territory.

The Penalty

When convicted as a repeat offender, an automatic disqualification period of five years was imposed by the magistrate court, as an additional penalty on top of any sentence delivered for the offence in question.

Can I Appeal the Declaration?

New Legislation

On 28 October 2017, new laws came into effect which abolished the habitual offender scheme in NSW. This means that although new habitual offender declarations can no longer be made, however existing declarations remain effective for those who were declared habitual offenders before the commencement of the new rules.

Therefore, habitual offenders who want to get their licences back early will still need to apply to the local court to remove the disqualification periods in a quash habitual offender declaration.

Section 220 of the Road Transport Act 2013 says that a court can consider a quash habitual offender declaration if it “determines that the disqualification imposed was a disproportionate or unjust consequence having regard for the total driving record of the person and the special circumstances of the case”. An application can be made under this section at any time.

The news laws that came into effect on 28 October 2017 allow for habitual offenders to apply to have the disqualification removed where:

  1. The disqualification period remaining applies only to the additional habitual offender disqualification period; and
  2. The person has not committed a traffic offence for at least 2 years.

To apply for this, an application must be filed in a NSW local court specifying that t is made under Section 221B of the Road Transport Act 2013. You will receive a court date at filing, and should begin preparing your case with a qualified lawyer to attend with you on the day of your hearing.

If you have been charged as an habitual offender and want to find out if your eligible to apply for a quash habitual offender declaration, or to apply for your licence back early, call us to discuss.