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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z) Driving Whilst Suspended Offences Driving Whilst Disqualified Offences and Penalties in the Northern Territory (NT)

    Driving Whilst Disqualified Offences and Penalties in the Northern Territory (NT)

    Generally, driving offences are treated with utmost urgency, and consistent punishments are issued to offenders. Although not all of them are considered indictable offences, they can still attract stiff penalties even when handled summarily before a Local Court in the NT.

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

    Driving Offences in the NT

    If a driver is apprehended for breaking any of the laws, including those under the Traffic Act 1987 (NT),

    • Suspension of driver licence is a possible punishment issued by the court or any other authorised officer,
    • The driver may also get disqualified from driving or have their licences seized/disqualified.

    However, in cases of severe driving offence, or where there is a danger to re-offend, the court may uphold impounding of the vehicle.

    When a driver is suspended or disqualified from driving, it is an offence to operate another vehicle or supervise a person driving.

    Driving while Disqualified in the NT

    Section 31 of the Traffic Act 1987 (NT) describes an offence where a person while on suspension;

    • Obtains a licence (especially if they have committed some fraud)
    • Drive a vehicle or other relevant car in a public place or street

    It is an offence that incurs a maximum of 12 months imprisonment.

    The Act further states that a person is prohibited from obtaining other types of licences if;

    • They are only permitted by the court or legal orders to get an AIL licence
    • Must not apply for any other licence throughout the period

    The Act further strengthens that such a person must not drive a motor vehicle;

    • During that period, and
    • In public,

    Unless they have an authorised AIL licence.

    Any infringement to this section carries sentencing of up to 12 months imprisonment.

    Penalties for Driving unlicensed in the NT

    If you are caught or charged with driving without a licence, you can receive punishments reaching $3000 in fine amounts, or up to 12 months imprisonment sentencing.

    The courts are also able to issue a discretionary period of disqualification depending on the severity of the offence, or the circumstances around it.

    Already disqualified in other State or Territory

    If you receive a conviction or sentencing of disqualification from some other Australia State or Territory, it will be transferred to your Australian records. It means a person is guilty of driving while disqualified/suspended if;

    • They drive a vehicle on a public road in NT, and
    • Have a running driver licence disqualification or suspension from any other Commonwealth State or Territory

    Can I renew my licence while disqualified?

    It is an offence to attempt to obtain another or renew your licence while disqualified. It does not matter even if you attempt to register the licences under a different name or by varying certain information about the licence.

    A person who wants to apply for another driver licence must wait out their disqualification or suspension period.

    Can I challenge a Driving while disqualified charge?

    If a Police officer or other authorised personnel gives you a fine or temporary licence suspension, you can challenge it in court. You should seek the advice of an experienced lawyer. While disqualified, you must not be found operating a vehicle or supervising or training a person while driving.

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

    If an individual is found guilty of a driving whilst disqualified offence in a Northern Territory (NT) 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.

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