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Western Australia Traffic Law

Published in May 29, 2015 Updated on May 03, 2023 4 min read 390 views

Traffic Lawyers Western Australia

In Western Australia, there is a multitude of traffic offences set out in the Road Traffic Act 1974 including speeding, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving unlicensed and hooning. Traffic offences can attract fines, vehicle impoundment, licence disqualification, and terms of imprisonment, as well as demerit points. They can be dealt with by way of infringement notice or by a summons to attend court.

Demerit points for traffic offences

Demerit points are recorded against a driver’s licence when traffic offences are committed. They apply from the date the offence occurs and expire three years later.

If a driver on a full licence accrues 12 or more demerit points within a three-year period, their licence may be suspended. If a novice driver incurs more than four demerit points, their licence will be suspended.

A traffic offence may attract between one and seven demerit points.

Impoundment of vehicles

Some traffic offences can result in immediate impoundment, or permanent confiscation of your vehicle. These include reckless driving, excessive speeding of 45km/hr over the limit and causing undue noise or smoke.

The police can impound an offender’s vehicle either for 28 days, three months or six months depending on whether it is their first, second, or third offence. The court also has the power to impound a vehicle for six months or to have it permanently confiscated.

A person who has had their vehicle impounded can make an application for the early release of the vehicle, but this will only be granted under very limited circumstances.

Mandatory imprisonment for traffic offences

In Western Australia, there is a mandatory term of imprisonment for certain traffic offences. This means that the court must impose a minimum term of imprisonment and does not have any discretion about this. Some traffic offences that carry mandatory imprisonment in WA are outlined below.

The offence of dangerous driving under section 61 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 carries a mandatory term of imprisonment for nine months where it is the person’s second offence and for two years where the offence is aggravated.

The offence of driving in a reckless manner under section 60 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 and the offence of driving at a reckless speed under section 60A of the Road Traffic Act 1974 each carry a mandatory term of imprisonment of nine months for a first or second offence or 12 months for a third or subsequent offence.

Extraordinary licences in WA

If you have been disqualified from driving by a court in Western Australia for a traffic offence you may be eligible to apply for an Extraordinary Licence. A person who has been suspended from driving by an infringement or accumulation of demerit points, you are not eligible to apply for an Extraordinary Licence.

An Extraordinary Licence is a licence that permits the holder to drive in certain circumstances and subject to conditions.

A person must apply for an Extraordinary Licence in the court that imposed the licence disqualification. There is a waiting period that must be served after a disqualification is imposed before making this application. The length of the waiting period depends on the offence, and on the person’s driving history.  

Licence disqualifications

If your licence has been disqualified for a traffic offence in Western Australia for a period of three years or more, you can apply to get your licence back before the disqualification period ends. If you have been disqualified for less than six years you must serve three of the years of your disqualification period. If the disqualification period is between six and 20 years you must serve at least half of the period. In cases where a licence has been disqualified for more than 20 years, you cannot apply until 10 years into the disqualification period.

In Western Australia there is a difference between having your licence ‘cancelled’ and having it ‘disqualified’ or ‘suspended’. Cancellation is where a licence is cancelled immediately, and the driver must apply to the Department of Transport to have it re-issued. Disqualification or suspension is where the driver is not allowed to drive for a set period but is allowed to drive again once the disqualification period has ended.

If you have your licence disqualified, it is important to make sure you are aware aware of the exact end date of the disqualification period, and that there have been no further periods of disqualification placed on your licence. To check the status of your licence, visit the WA Department of Transport website.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Author

Michelle Makela

Michelle Makela is a Legal Practice Director at Go To Court Lawyers. She holds a Juris Doctor, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master of Criminology. She was admitted to practice in 2006. Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning. 

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