Get Your Licence Back Now – Changes To NSW Traffic Laws

Significant changes have been made to traffic laws in New South Wales, including allowing you to apply to the Local Court for an order removing your licence disqualifications from 28 October 2017 onwards. The details of who can/can’t apply are set out at the bottom of this blog.

The changes

There are three major changes set out in the Road Transport Amendment (Driver Licence Disqualification) Bill 2017, which was passed by the State Parliament on 10 October 2017:

(a)   the Habitual Traffic Offenders Program will be abolished;

(b)   minimum periods of compliance with disqualification will be imposed on disqualified drivers – 4 years for serious offenders (except the worst cases of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm) and 2 years for other offences – after which they will be eligible to apply to the Local Court to have their disqualification removed or reduced; and

(c)   the maximum penalties for certain unauthorised driving offences will be reduced.

Why?

Parliament decided to abolish the Habitual Traffic Offenders Program because it is not deterring people from reoffending. Rather, the scheme appears to be entrenching disadvantage and encouraging reoffending. Under the scheme, drivers can end up being disqualified from driving for periods of up to 10 years, or even life. Parliament believes that, in some circumstances, that sort of penalty is just too harsh and drivers are simply compelled to drive out of everyday necessity.

Parliament has imposed minimum periods of compliance with disqualification to encourage disqualified drivers to reform their behaviour by complying with their disqualification for a set period. Parliament expects that this will also encourage them to change the way they think about driving and the law.

Parliament decided to reduce the maximum penalties for unauthorised driving offences because they are at present the same as the maximum penalties for very serious offences such as high range drink driving. This means that the penalties for unauthorised driving offences are often not in proportion to the seriousness of the offence. Drivers in some circumstances are being gaoled for repeatedly driving without a licence, even if their licence was suspended for not paying fines. The reforms will impose automatic minimum periods of disqualification for these offences. The disqualified driver can then apply to the Local Court for a reduction in the disqualification period.

There are several other changes due to take place in the coming months. A full description of the Road Transport Amendment (Driver Licence Disqualification) Bill 2017 can be found by clicking on the following link:

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bills/Pages/bill-details.aspx?pk=3433

How Do I Get My Licence Back After Disqualification NSW

You can now apply to the Local Court to remove your disqualification(s) if you fit under any one of the following three categories.

Category 1

You have not been convicted for any driving offence in the last 4 years; and

your current disqualification(s) were due to a conviction for any one of the following offences:

  • driving with prescribed concentration of alcohol (drink driving);
  • exceed speed limit by more than 30kmh;
  • menacing driving;
  • DUI or driving with presence of drugs in system;
  • drive at speed or manner dangerous to public; or
  • drive furiously or recklessly.

Category 2

You have not been convicted for any driving offence in the last 2 years; and

your current disqualification(s) are due to Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration(s).

Category 3

You have not been convicted for any driving offence in the last 2 years; and

where you don’t fall into any of the above categories 1 or 2.

If your licence is currently disqualified and you think you may fall into one of these categories, make sure you contact us as soon as possible to see if there is a chance of getting you back on the road sooner.

The above is not intended as legal advice. You should obtain legal advice in relation to your own specific circumstances.

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