On a first offence the charge of Driving Whilst Disqualified may attract fines of up to $3 300 or even a gaol term of up to 18 months. However, with appropriate legal representation it is usually possible to avoid these heavy penalties.
Driving whilst disqualified is regarded by the court as a very serious offence because it usually constitutes a defiance of, and contempt for, an order either of the court.
There are a number of defences available to a charge of driving while disqualified including:
• Honest and reasonable mistake: That is, that you were not aware that your licence was disqualified.
• Challenging the legitimacy of the disqualification on legal technicalities.
• Convincing the court that you were not the driver at the time of the offence
• Duress, forced through actual threats to yourself or people close to you to cause you to offend.
• Necessity, urgent circumstances that caused you to offend.
• Mitigating circumstances, external events that led up to or caused the incident.
It is common to plead guilty to this offence, rather than risk receiving a severe penalty if the defence is not accepted by the Court.
The range of penalties available for a charge of driving whilst disqualified are listed in the table below: