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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z) Driving Whilst Suspended Offences Driving Whilst Suspended Offences and Penalties in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    Driving Whilst Suspended Offences and Penalties in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    Everyone knows better than to drive a vehicle or other specified car with a valid Licence or permit. There is zero tolerance anywhere in Australia for driving a vehicle on a public road or in designated areas without a Licence. It is an offence strictly handled by the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 (ACT) and the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulations 2000 (ACT).

    There are strict penalties to all drivers who do not adhere to these regulations while driving or supervising another.

    If an individual is convicted in an ACT court for a driving whilst suspended offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a national criminal background check in the ACT.

    The offence of Driving without a Licence in the ACT

    Section 31 of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 (ACT) mandates a person in control of a vehicle to move with a Licence. It is an offence for a person to operate in a related area without a Licence. The only exception to this case is where regulations exempt the person from holding an Australian Licence.

    It is an offence that attracts penalties up to 20 penalty units in fines.

    Unless a person gets a new Licence, driving a vehicle on the road or related area will be illegal. It attracts penalties up to 50 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment or both for repeat offenders.

    Disqualification period as punishments

    In considering the offence of driving without a Licence in the case of repeat offenders, the court can further impose up to a disqualification period of obtaining the driver Licence for up to 3 years.

    When a person is disqualified from obtaining a Licence or driving for a period, it is an offence to operate any other vehicle.

    Driving while suspended

    Section 31A of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 (ACT) states an offence where; a person is suspended by the law of the territories and still operates a vehicle. It is an offence that imposes up to 20 penalty units in fines and is usually considered a strict liability offence.

    Other offences by disqualified drivers

    If a person gets disqualified from driving by any legal tribunal or court from holding/getting a driver Licence, they must not within that period;

    • Drive a motor vehicle on a road or related area during such a period unless they have a restricted Licence issued.
    • Apply for a driver Licence during such periods of disqualification, and concerning it, omit to mention specific details about the disqualification.

    Any of such offences or further offences within this period will attract penalties of;


    First-time offenders

    • 50 penalty units or
    • Up to 6 months imprisonment, or
    • Both of the above

    Repeat offenders

    • 100 penalty units or imprisonment reaching 1 year, or
    • Both

    Persons with a Suspended Driver Licence

    If the court suspends your driver Licence, s 32 of the of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 (ACT) prohibits the person from;

    • Moving a vehicle on the road or in a related area during the period of suspension. Only if it is subject to the conditions of a "restricted Licence" issued to the person
    • Applying for another driver Licence during that period and failing to mention the details of the suspension. It is also an offence to omit essential details necessary in issuing a new Licence.

    It is a violation that incurs up to;


    First time offenders;

    • 50 penalty units, or
    • 6 months imprisonment, or
    • Both

    Repeat offenders;

    • 100 penalty units, or
    • Up to 1-year imprisonment, or
    • Both, depending on the offence

    Application for a Licence if refused in other jurisdictions asides from the ACT

    Section 32 of the Act prohibits a person from applying for a driver licence if they have had a recent request or application for a driver licence refused. If a court or any legal Australian authority cancels your application, you are prohibited to;

    • Operate a motor vehicle on a road or related area without subsequently obtaining a driver Licence, or
    • Apply for a driver Licence or permit similar to that of the cancellation, or
    • Intentionally omitting certain information in the new application.

    It is an offence that attracts penalties up to;

    • 50 penalty units, or
    • Up to 6 months imprisonment, or
    • Both, based on the circumstances around the offence

    For repeat offenders, it incurs punishments of;

    • 100 penalty units in fines, or
    • Up to 1-year imprisonment, or
    • Both depend on the circumstances around the offence.

    Where the person is disqualified with a running disqualification

    If a person has a running disqualification while issued another, the new disqualification will commence at the expiry of the running disqualification.

    First and repeat offenders

    A first offender is a person who has a relatively new case concerning the offence or conviction.

    A person is a repeat offender if;

    • They have previous convictions in the same offence within 5 years, and
    • Gets another conviction

    Will a driving whilst suspended offence in Queensland show up on a criminal history check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a driving unlicensed offence in an ACT court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the result of their criminal history check.

    Individuals can obtain a criminal record check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

    Sources

    Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 (ACT) - https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1999-78

    Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 (ACT) (Austlii References) - http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_act/rtla1999340/

    Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulations 2000 (ACT) - https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/sl/2000-14/default.asp

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