Traffic Law in Western Australia encompasses a multitude of offences including demerit point issues, speeding, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving unlicensed and the tough Hoon Laws. Traffic offences can carry an array of penalties including fines, vehicle impoundment, licence disqualification, and even imprisonment. Traffic offences should not be taken lightly, and can have serious consequences for you, and your family. Loss of your licence, and vehicle, can have a detrimental effect on your current employment if you need your licence to perform your job, or to get to and from work. It can also prohibit you being able to take the children to school, or sports on the weekend. It pays to get a good traffic lawyer!
Penalties Under WA Traffic Law
Some traffic offences under the Road Traffic Act 1974 can result in an immediate impoundment, or permanent confiscation of your vehicle. These include reckless driving, excessive speeding of 45km/hr over the limit, causing undue noise or smoke. The police can impoundment your vehicle either 28 days, 3 months or 6 months depending if it is your first, second, or third offence. The Court also has the ability to impound your car for 6 months or to have it permanently confiscated. You can make an application for an early release of your vehicle, but only under very limited circumstances.
There is mandatory imprisonment for certain traffic offences, which include dangerous driving, and being involved in a police pursuit with aggravated circumstances. The police pursuit laws in WA are the toughest in Australia, and can result in two years of imprisonment. The aggravated circumstances outlined in Section 49AB of the Road Traffic Act 1974, include purposely trying to escape the police, driving in excess of 45km above the speed limit, and unlawfully driving the vehicle without consent.
It is also a serious offence to drive while you have been disqualified by a Court, and can result in a further suspension of between 9 months to 3 years. If you are a repeat offender the penalty can be imprisonment.
Extraordinary Licences in WA
If you have been disqualified by a Court in Western Australia for a traffic offence you may be eligible to apply for an Extraordinary Licence. However, if you have been suspended due to a fine suspension or demerit point suspension you cannot apply. You must make the application in the court you were suspended in. For example, if you were suspended in the District Court the application must be made there not through the Magistrates Court. There are certain waiting periods from when you are disqualified, before you can apply, that you need to be served before you make the application. This depends on the type of offence, and if you are a repeat offender.
WA Licence Disqualified?
If your licence has been disqualified for a traffic offence in WA for a period of 3 years, or more, you can apply to get your licence back before the disqualification ends. If you have been disqualified for less than 6 years you must serve 3 years of your disqualification period. If it is between 6 and 20 years you must serve at least half of the period. In cases where you licence has been disqualified for more than 20 years, you cannot apply until 10 years into your disqualification period.
In Western Australia there is a difference between having your licence ‘cancelled’ verses having it ‘disqualified or suspended’. Cancellation of your licence is where you licence is cancelled immediately, and you must apply to the Department of Transport to have it re-issued. If you have been disqualified you are allowed to drive again once the period has ended. You do need to be careful that you have the correct end date of your disqualification, and that there have been no further periods of disqualifications placed on your licence through a fines suspension, which may be additionally to any court suspension. To check the status of your licence you can do an online check on the WA Department of Transport website.