RMS appeals, drink driving, and habitual offenders – NSW driving legislation update

RMS appeals, drink driving, and habitual offenders – NSW driving legislation update2018-09-27T09:46:08+00:00

RMS appeals

The Road Transport (General) Amendment (Driver Licence Appeals) Regulation 2004 removed the right for a person whose licence was varied, suspended or cancelled by the RMS to appeal to the Local Court against that decision. An appeal can no longer be made in relation to the suspension of a drivers licence for the accumulation of points. Many RMS decisions remain appealable but in most cases time limits apply so you should seek advice promptly once notification of an RMS decision is received.

Drink driving

Statistics at the turn of the century showed that most people facing imprisonment for drink-driving only, that is not associated with theft or drug use, tended to be males 30 years of age and over with comparatively stable lives. Around 18% of offenders convicted of drink driving had committed prior drink-driving offences within the previous 5 years. Among the high-range drink drivers, 40% re-offended within 5 years.

In recent years, we have seen the crackdown on drink driving accompanied by an increase in the penalties applicable. A custodial sentence of up to 2 years and fines up to $5,500 may now be imposed for serious drink driving offences (i.e. a high range offender with a major offence in the previous 5 years – see below). There are also now many diversionary programs available to offenders. The court may refer offenders for treatment as part of a sentence or offenders may voluntarily undertake programs, which may aid in the reduction of the period of licence disqualification and/or the fine imposed.

Habitual traffic offenders

The Road Transport (General) Act 1999 declares an offender an “habitual traffic offender” on conviction where the person has, in the period of 5 years before the conviction, also been convicted of at least 2 other driving offences committed on different occasions. The declaration as an habitual traffic offender means an automatic 5 years cumulative disqualification unless the court decides that would be too harsh, in which case the period of disqualification can be reduced to two years but cannot be reduced further.

At the time of the third conviction or subsequently, the motorist may apply to the court for the declaration to be quashed on the grounds that it would be disproportionate and unjust having regard to the motorist’s overall driving record and any special circumstances.

If you require any advice in relation to driving offences, or any criminal law matter, please telephone Kevin Dwyer or email kevin@wmdlaw.com.au.

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