Criminal Offences

Driving whilst Disqualified

It is an offence to drive if you licence has been disqualified. A common example of this is when you have been convicted of a drink driving offence, were disqualified by the Court, and then drive during the term of disqualification period.

In fact, the offence of driving whilst disqualified is found under section 54.1 of the Road Transport Act 2013 which states that:

  1. A person who is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence not:
    1. Drive a motor vehicle on a road during the period of disqualification, or
    2. Make an application for a driver licence during the period of disqualification and in respect of the application:
      1. State the person’s name falsely or incorrectly, or
      2. Omit to mention the disqualification.

As a leading driving offence lawyers based in Sydney, our expert team of solicitors possess a wealth of knowledge in relation to charges of driving whilst disqualified.

If you, or somebody you know is facing such charges, contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, now for a first consultation.


The charge of driving whilst disqualified is seen as a serious traffic infringement as per Section 54 of the Roads Transport Act 2013. The Act states that the following penalties apply for first time offenders:

  • A maximum fine of $3,300; and/or
  • Imprisonment of up to 18 months,
  • A mandatory minimum disqualification period of 12 months

However, if the offence has been conducted on multiple occasions, the Roads Transport Act 2013 states the following punishments apply:

  • A maximum fine of $5,500; and/or
  • Imprisonment of up to 2 years,
  • A mandatory minimum disqualification period of 2 years

However, with the help of our traffic infringement lawyers, you may be able to avoid a fine, imprisonment and loss of licence. We can also persuade the Court has the ability to enforce less severe penalties which is much more favourable than facing the maximum outcome. The Court may also use their discretion to deal with the matter by means of a section 10 dismissal in which no conviction is recorded.

In order to obtain the best result for a charge of driving whilst disqualified, you need the legal representation of an experienced traffic offence lawyer. At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we provide our clients with honest and realist advice in relation to their matter, and also have the dedication to achieve the best outcome possible through careful preparation.

If you or someone you know is facing charges relating to driving whilst disqualified, it is advised to contact our team now for a consultation.


In order to be found guilty of driving whilst disqualified, It is up to the Police to establish and prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you drove a motor vehicle on a road;
  • And you did so whilst disqualified

If you tend to agree with the charges of driving whilst disqualified, it may be advisable to plead guilty. If you choose to do so, you will then proceed to sentencing where you could be facing the aforementioned penalties.

Despite this being true, pleading guilty may achieve more favourable outcomes. A guilty plea typically demonstrates remorse for your actions and therefore it is not uncommon for the Court to discount the maximum penalty and enforce a less significant fine, gaol sentence or disqualification period.

Our Sydney based traffic lawyers may also be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution team, given you enter a guilty plea or persuade the Court to deal with the matter by the means of a section 10 dismissal. If a section 10 is granted, no conviction will be recorded and penalties will not be imposed. However, in some instance, a section 10 dismissal may stipulate conditions that must be adhered to, otherwise the privilege could be revoked.

At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are a team of leading traffic offence lawyers based in Sydney. With 29 years of experience in traffic and criminal law, along with our involvement in the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program, our team possesses extensive knowledge in relation to offences such as driving whilst disqualified. Furthermore, through our honesty, dedication and commitment, our team has proudly achieved a 90% success rate on all traffic offence and criminal cases that we have represented. If you or someone you know is facing charges related to driving whilst disqualified, it is advised to seek legal representation immediately.

Call our traffic lawyers now to schedule a first consultation where we can provide tailored advice in relation to your specific matter.


You also have the option to plead not guilty to the charge of driving whilst disqualified. If this is the case, the prosecution team must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you did commit the offence as per section 54 of the Road Transport Act. If it can be proven, it is likely that you will be convicted as per the penalties listed above.

However, in order In order to avoid conviction, our criminal defence lawyers will challenge the allegations set out against you, through thorough cross examination of evidence and raising an appropriate legal defence, when necessary. If we are successful, the charges against you will be dismissed. In other instances, you could be still liable to punishment, however our efforts could reduce the severity of the punishment imposed. A partial legal defence may persuade the Court the reduce the period that your licence is suspended, minimise the fine you face, help you avoid imprisonment or minimise the sentence for serious offences.

For relevant advice in relation to whether you should plead guilty or not guilty, please do not hesitate to contact our Sydney traffic offence lawyers for a first consultation.


There are a number of defences that our traffic infringement lawyers may argue in relation to driving whilst disqualified. These can include:

Duress: Involves the use of harmful threats that depict death or grievous bodily harm which may coerce the accused to partake in illegal activities that they would not have if the threats had not been made.

Honest and Reasonable Mistake: The Criminal Codes Act 1995 (Cth) defines circumstances in which a person will not be criminally responsible for particular offences. Under division 9, the Criminal Codes Act states:

9.1: Mistake of ignorance of the fact (fault elements other than negligence).

  1. A person is not criminally responsible for an offence that has a physical element for which there is fault element other than negligence if:
    1. at the time of the conduct constituting the physical element, the person is under a mistaken belief about, or is ignorant of, fact and
    2. the existence of that mistaken belief or ignorance negates any fault element applying to that physical element.
  2. In determining whether a person was under a mistaken belief about, or was ignorant of, fact, the tribunal of fact may consider whether the mistaken belief or ignorance was reasonable in the circumstances.

Therefore, it must be proven that there was a mistaken belief surrounding the incidence. A common example showcasing a reasonable and honest mistake is that the accused may have not been aware that their licence was disqualified. This characters a reasonable mistaken belief in which the accused will be found not guilty of this particular charge.


The matter of driving whilst disqualified will typically be finalised in the Local Court. At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are heavily involved in the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program and therefore display extensive knowledge in traffic related offences. As a leading traffic lawyers in Sydney with numerous award wins and a 90% success rate, clients can be confident in our team’s dedication to achieve the best possible outcomes, regardless of the Court that your matter is finalised in.

Contact our criminal lawyers now for a consultation.