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If you are found guilty of a driving offence the court can make orders that you cannot drive for a period of time.
If you are found guilty of a drink driving related offence the court may have made an Alcohol Interlock Order (previously known as a Mandatory Interlock Order) that includes a disqualification period.
If the court has disqualified you, you may be able to apply to get the disqualification removed or quashed depending on when you were disqualified and the orders the court made.
If you are found guilty of a driving offence and convicted, the court may disqualify you from holding a licence for a period of time. This means that your licence is cancelled and you must not drive.
At the end of your disqualification period you will need to apply to Transport for NSW (formerly Roads and Maritime Services) for a new licence. You cannot drive until you have been given a new licence.
For some offences a disqualification period is mandatory if you are convicted. This means the magistrate must disqualify you from driving. The only way you can avoid a licence disqualification in this situation is if the magistrate finds you guilty but doesn't record a conviction. This is commonly known as a 'section 10 dismissal'.
You can also appeal a magistrate's decision, including the sentence.
For more information, see Appeals.
In some circumstances, you can apply to remove your driver licence disqualification removed or get your traffic offender declaration quashed.
For more information, see the sections below.
In some limited cases, you can write to the NSW Attorney General and ask for a recommendation that the remaining period of your disqualification be remitted (cancelled).
For more information on this, see Remission of fines and driver licence disqualifications on the Department of Communities and Justice website.
If you have been convicted of a driving offence including alcohol, the court may have made an Alcohol Interlock Order (previously known as a Mandatory Interlock Order) at the time the court sentenced you for the offence. An Alcohol Interlock Order may be made if you have been convicted of:
An Alcohol Interlock Order means you will have to complete a disqualification period during which you cannot drive. When the disqualification has ended, you may be able to obtain an interlock driver licence. If you have an interlock driver licence, you are only allowed to drive vehicles which are fitted with an approved interlock device. This device requires you to provide a breath sample before the vehicle will start. The device must be installed and regularly maintained by an approved provider. Tampering with the device is an offence.
If you do not obtain the interlock driver licence, you will be disqualified from driving for 5 years from the date of conviction (as at 1 February 2015).
The court can make an exemption order that means you do not have to obtain an interlock driver licence or interlock device at the end of your disqualification period. However, an exemption order can only be made in limited circumstances.
If you have been convicted of a first offence, mid range drink driving offence the court may give an exemption order if you prove:
For more information, see Alcohol Interlock Program on the NSW Government website.
If the court has disqualified you from driving and sentenced you to prison for a major offence, your disqualification period is automatically extended by the length of your sentence (unless the court makes a different order). This means that your disqualification period will start when you get out of prison. Any time you spend on parole will not extend your disqualification.
If you are unsure how long you were disqualified for and when the disqualification period will start, you should get legal advice.
If you are in prison and want to remove your driver disqualification, you can start getting your documents ready. However, it is not a good idea to apply until you are ready to be released as you will need to appear in court. For more information, see the sections below.
If you are eligible, you may be able to apply to the Local Court to have your disqualification period removed.
Whether you are eligible or not will depend on the type of driving offences that you have been convicted of, as well as the length of time you have been disqualified. If you were disqualified because the driving offence involved death or grievous bodily harm, you will never be eligible to have your disqualification period lifted early.
Your Driving Offences
You cannot apply under the new scheme if you have been convicted of any of the following driving offences:
The 'Offence-Free Period'
You will only be eligible to apply if you have not committed any other driving offence during the relevant 'offence-free period'.
The length of time of the offence-free period depends on the types of driving offences in your driving history.
The offence-free period is four years if you have been convicted for any of these offences (whether or not the licence disqualification given for that offence has been completed):
The offence free period is two years if you have been disqualified from driving because you:
Step by step guide: For information about applying to get your disqualification period removed, see Applying to remove your driver licence disqualification.
Even if you are eligible to apply, this does not mean your application to the Local Court will be successful. The magistrate will look at all the information before them and make a decision as to whether they should remove your driver licence disqualifications.
Previously if you were convicted of three or more serious driving offences in the past five years, the magistrate may have made a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) declaration at the time they sentenced you. A HTO declaration meant that you were disqualified for an additional five years on top of any other period of disqualification imposed for the offence. At the time you were convicted you could ask the court to reduce the declaration to a minimum of two years or quash (cancel) it altogether. If the HTO declaration was not quashed at the time you could apply to the court to get the HTO declaration quashed at a later time.
On 28 October 2017 the Habitual Traffic Offender Scheme was abolished. An individual can no longer be declared a HTO, however, magistrates can still impose a disqualification period.
If you have been declared a HTO you may still apply to the Local Court to have an existing HTO declaration quashed or the disqualification period removed. You can do this by either:
Step by step guide: For information about applying to get your declaration quashed, see Getting a HTO declaration quashed.
Before making an application to have your HTO declaration quashed or to have your disqualification removed, you should get legal advice about what is the best option for you.