Getting a Habitual Traffic Offender declaration quashed
Prior to 28 October 2017, if you were convicted of three or more serious driving offences in the last five years, you may have been declared a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) by the court or the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
The HTO Scheme has now been abolished. You can no longer be declared a HTO, however magistrates can still impose a disqualification period.
There are two ways to remove an existing HTO declaration:
- if you have already been declared a HTO you may be able to apply to the Local Court to have the declaration quashed, or
- if you have been offence-free for a minimum period (two or four years depending on the nature of the original offending), you may be eligible to apply to the Local Court to have your disqualification removed. A successful application will remove all disqualifications.
Before making an application to have your HTO declaration quashed or your driver disqualification removed, you should get legal advice about what is the best option for you.
Getting a HTO declaration quashed - Step by step guide
Step 1: Get the form
You will need one form:
- Application Notice - Declaration as a Habitual Traffic Offender be quashed.
You can get a copy of the form from:
Step 2: Fill out the form
You can complete the form on a computer (by downloading a Word file and typing in the spaces provided) or you can print it out and complete it neatly in blue or black pen. The form should be printed on A4 sized paper. If there is not enough room you can attach a separate sheet of paper.
To fill out the form you will need your licence number and reasons why the declaration should be quashed. You will also need to:
- attach to the Application a copy of the letter from RMS declaring you a HTO, or
- list the three offences that led to your declaration, including the dates and the local court that convicted you.
If you have not received a letter from RMS and you don't know which offences led to the declaration:
Instructions: Instructions for filling out an Application that a declaration as a Habitual Traffic Offender be quashed
Sample: Sample application that a declaration as a Habitual Traffic Offender be quashed.
Step 3: File the form
When you have finished filling out the form, you will need to file it at the local court. The court will give you a date that your application will be heard.
When you file the form, you will need to pay a fee of $102.00 (as at 1 July 2022). In some circumstances you may be able to apply to have the fee waived or postponed.
For more information about this, go to the Local Court website.
The court will then send a copy a copy of the application to the RMS and/or police prosecutors.
Step 4: Prepare your documents
You will need to provide evidence to the court to support your application. The court may decide that the length of the disqualification is unfair in relation to your circumstances, and that the extra punishment is out of proportion to the seriousness of the offences. The court will take into account your driving history, your need for a licence and any special circumstances.
You should get legal advice about:
- whether your HTO disqualification period is out of proportion to the seriousness of the offences that led to your HTO declaration
- whether you have special circumstances which the court should take into account
- what evidence you may need to take to court.
Examples of what you might take to court are:
- character references
- if you have a medical condition, a letter to the court from your doctor stating that you need to attend medical appointments and the location of these appointments
- if you are a carer for someone who cannot drive, a letter from their doctor or from them explaining that they cannot drive (or they could come to court and give evidence about this)
- a letter from your employer explaining what work you do and why you need your licence
- if you believe you need your licence to work and find work, evidence of your attempts to find a job without a licence.
Take the original and two copies of any documents to court. The original will be kept by the court, keep one for your records and have a spare.
Step 5: Attend court
You will need to attend court on the date written on the form you filed. At court you will need to explain to the magistrate why you think the declaration should be quashed.
When you go to court for the mention, you will need to find the courtroom where your case will be heard. The court will usually put up a list of all the cases being heard that day. You should look for your name on the list, as it will tell you the courtroom you need to go to. If you can't find it speak to someone in the court's registry office.
Step 6: Present your case
When your name is called you should go and stand at the bar table (where the lawyers sit). The magistrate may ask you if you have anything to show them to support your application. If you have brought character references and other documents, you should hand these to the court officer to give to the magistrate.
The magistrate may then ask you to explain why you think the declaration should be quashed. You should explain to the magistrate:
- when the declaration was made
- the offences that gave rise to the declaration
- the impact that having no drivers licence has had on you, your family and anyone you are a carer for
- the problems you face catching public transport
- why you are a person of good character
- any other reasons why you need your licence.
Some magistrates may want you to give evidence and will ask you to go into the witness box. You will have to take an oath or affirmation (promise to tell the truth). The magistrate will then ask you questions.
Step 7: The decision
After the magistrate has heard from you and from the prosecutor they will make their decision.
If the magistrate decides to quash your declaration, you will still have to serve out the remainder of any other licence disqualification periods before you can get your licence back. You can apply to the Attorney General to have the remainder of your licence disqualification period remitted (cancelled) or wait until you have met the offence free period requirement and apply to have a disqualification removed. For more information, see Losing your licence.
If the magistrate does not quash the declaration you can't appeal their decision, but you can make an application to the local court at another time. Before making another application, you should get legal advice to discuss if you should reapply.