Habitual Offender Declaration


Being declared a ‘habitual traffic offender’ can be incredibly frustrating, as it allows the Roads and Maritime Services to add five years on to any disqualification period imposed by the court.

However, the traffic law specialists at Sydney Criminal Lawyers can assist in having your ‘habitual offender declaration’ quashed, so that you are able to get your licence back sooner and get on with your life.

What is a Habitual Offender Declaration?

If you are convicted of three or more ‘major traffic offences’ in a five year period, you will automatically be declared to be a ‘habitual traffic offender.’

A ‘major traffic offence’ includes any of the following:

  • Drink driving offences (low, mid and high range)
  • Drug driving offences
  • Refuse breath test (or any other alcohol or drug test)
  • Speeding at more than 45 kph over the speed limit
  • Driving while unlicensed or never having a licence
  • Drive while disqualified, suspended or cancelled
  • Murder or manslaughter arising out of a road accident
  • Any other offence under the Crimes Act which arose due to a road accident for which you were responsible
  • Driving recklessly, furiously or at a dangerous speed
  • Being involved in a police pursuit
  • Negligent driving occasioning death or GBH
  • Menacing driving
  • Make an application for a licence while disqualified, suspended or cancelled
  • Failing to stop and give assistance following an accident involving death or injury
  • Aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring or being an accessory to any of the above offences

If you have been declared a habitual traffic offender, the RMS (formerly the RTA) will impose a further five year period of disqualification on top of any court ordered period of disqualification.

Obviously, this can have a massive impact on your ability to travel for work or other duties.

However, with the help of an experienced traffic lawyer, you can apply to have the habitual offender declaration overturned.

Quashing a Habitual Offender Declaration

Section 220 of the Road Transport Act 2013 says that a court can quash a habitual offender declaration if it “determines that the disqualification imposed by the declaration is a disproportionate and unjust consequence having regard to the total driving record of the person and the special circumstances of the case”.

The declaration can be quashed either when your case is originally in court (ie for the offences that would normally cause you to be declared a habitual offender) or anytime thereafter.

Preventing the court from declaring you a Habitual Offender

If you are facing court in relation to your third ‘major traffic offence’ in the last five years, an experienced traffic lawyer can assist by preventing the court from declaring you a ‘habitual traffic offender.’

The courts are allowed to quash a habitual offender declaration if you prove that the additional disqualification would be too harsh.

When deciding whether or not this is the case, the court will look at your driving record and your personal circumstances – for example, if you need your licence for work purposes, or for family commitments.

Our lawyers can help you avoid being declared a habitual offender by preparing compelling arguments to prove that an additional disqualification period would be too severe and disproportionate in your circumstances.

We can do this by obtaining character references from your employer or other people to show that having your licence disqualified will unjustly impact your ability to work or care for your family.

We guarantee that you will be represented in court by a highly-respected lawyer so you will benefit from the experience and knowledge of an expert.

Getting the Habitual Offender Declaration quashed

If you have already been declared a ‘habitual traffic offender,’ we can also assist in having the declaration quashed.

Although you can apply to have the declaration quashed at any time, we generally advise that it’s better to wait until the court imposed disqualification period is almost over (in other words, before the automatic five year disqualification period for habitual offenders begins).

Waiting until the court imposed disqualification period is over can help your case as it will show that you have not committed any further driving offences since.

If you’re seeking to have your habitual offender declaration quashed, our expert legal team can assist you in obtaining character references to show that you need your licence for work or family commitments.

Our traffic law experts will then prepare a strong case to convince the magistrate that the additional disqualification period is unfair and harsh given the circumstances.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

It’s only natural to feel worried about how a habitual traffic offender declaration will affect your ability to work and care for your family.

But with the help of Sydney’s most experienced traffic lawyers, you can fight to have the declaration overturned, allowing you to get your licence back sooner and move on with your life.

The experienced defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers understands how important having your licence is, especially if you need it for work or to transport your family.

That’s why we work hard in every case to have these harsh declarations overturned as soon as possible; by proving that an additional disqualification period would be onerous and unfair in your circumstances.

We can help you obtain any evidence to support your case, including character references from your employer or family members to show why having a licence is so important for you.

Our lawyers can then present your case in an effective and persuasive manner to give you the best chance of getting the declaration quashed.

We also know that going to court can be expensive, which is why we offer the fixed fee of $1650 including GST (plus a Local Court filing fee) for all work done to quash your habitual offender declaration.

This includes all preparation, drafting and filing the Local Court application, and up to a full day of representation in court by one of our expert traffic lawyers.

So, when your licence is on the line, don’t settle for second best.

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