Facts:

Our client was yet again detected driving while disqualified He had a terrible driving history which included 3 convictions in 2009 for driving suspended, convictions in 2010 and 2011 for disqualified driving and convictions for driving in a manner dangerous and exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 kilometres per hour – all of these convictions within a 5 year period.

Potential Penalties:

The potential penalties for driving while disqualified for a first offence within 5 years under section 25A Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998 is a fine of up to $3,300 and imprisonment of up to 18 months. The mandatory minimum disqualification period is 12 months. However, if there is a previous conviction within the 5 years preceding this matter, the penalties include a fine of up to $5,500 and imprisonment of up to 2 years with a mandatory minimum disqualification period of 2 years.

Habitual Offender Declaration:

A person convicted of 3 or more relevant offences within a 5 year period also faces an additional 5 year disqualification period on top of whatever period of disqualification they receive for the offence committed, pursuant to section 199 Road Transport (General) Act 2005.

Guilty plea and sentencing:

Our client had a psychological condition which manifested itself with impulsive actions. Although the nature and extent of this condition did not warrant an application pursuant to section 32 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act, a psychological report was obtained to mitigate the plea. The client had already been subjected to sentencing options of Community Service Orders [section 8 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999] and a Suspended Sentence [section 12 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999]. He was therefore at real risk of full time imprisonment.

The Magistrate found it appropriate that no other penalty was appropriate, other than imprisonment. However, the court allowed the client to undertake a Home Detention assessment. Fortunately, the assessment was suitable and the client was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment by way of Home Detention pursuant to section 7 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. He was disqualified from driving for the automatic period of 2 years with a Habitual Offender Declaration made for a period of 5 years.

Application to Quash Habitual Offender Declaration:  Providing our client remains out of trouble for the next couple of years, application can be made to quash the habitual offender declaration – an application made earlier than that would almost certainly be unsuccessful – however, if he can demonstrate good behaviour, compliance with the law and a need for a licence, we would be confident in making that application.