What Are The Potential Consequences For Driving While Disqualified? (Victoria)

In Victoria, driving while disqualified is prohibited on all Australian roads under the Road Safety Act of 1986. The maximum penalty for driving whilst your driver's licence is disqualified is 2 years imprisonment or 240 penalty units or both. That being said, it’s quite rare that the maximum penalty is given out.

If you or a loved one have been charged with this offence then read on to find out more. Or alternatively, call our experienced traffic lawyers at Josh Smith Legal to help you avoid the worst possible consequences for this offence.

Legal Consequences For Driving While Disqualified

Driving while disqualified in Victoria carries severe legal penalties. These penalties can vary depending on factors like the individual's driving history, the circumstances of the offence, and whether it's a first-time or repeat offence. These penalties include:


Disqualified driving offenders can face hefty fines, capped at 240 penalty units. Since one penalty unit is $192.31, the maximum fine translates to $46,154.40.

Fined offenders will receive fine collection statements and must pay their fines to Fine Victoria within the stipulated date. Failure to do so attracts a fine notice of final demand, which gives offenders 21 days to pay the fine or risk enforcement action.


Disqualified driving offenders risk serving at least one year and a maximum of two years in prison. It's unlikely for first-time driving-disqualified offenders to receive the maximum sentence

However, driving while disqualified may attract lengthier sentences if your charges are taken to a higher court. This usually occurs when the disqualified driving was in conjunction with an indictable offence like dangerous or culpable driving causing death.

Extension Of Disqualification Period

The disqualification period is when a person cannot drive legally and is banned from driving on public roads. The law doesn't make it mandatory for magistrates to extend offenders' disqualification period for driving while disqualified.

However, magistrates may do so at their discretion after considering specific circumstances. They also don't have a limit for how long they can extend the disqualification or suspension.

Vehicle Impoundment Or Immobilisation

Driving while disqualified could also lead to vehicle impoundment or immobilisation. This happens if the offender has been charged with a hoon offence within the last six years.

Impoundment for disqualified driving involves locking up offenders' vehicles at the Vehicle Impound Unit in Raglan Street, Preston, for between 30 and 45 days. On the other hand, immobilisation means installing wheel clamps, steering locks, and engine immobilisers for up to 12 months.

Possible Defences For Driving While Disqualified

Getting charged with disqualified driving doesn't mean you'll automatically get punished. Offenders who put up strong defences can walk scot-free or receive lighter sentences. Here are a few possible defences for disqualified driving:

Honest Mistake

That's right, offenders can defend themselves by claiming they were unaware their licences were disqualified.

The defence is that the offender sincerely had no idea they were disqualified from driving. However, ignorance is no defence in a court of law, so they must provide a valid reason for their ignorance.

For instance, they could argue they didn't receive any notification of their disqualification in written or electronic form. This defence is easy to pull off for first-time offenders. The opposite is true for repeat offenders unless they have the backing of experienced lawyers.

If the defence is successful, the magistrate may acquit you of the charges entirely. Alternatively, they may issue an extension of the disqualification period.

Invalid Disqualification

Individuals charged with driving while disqualified can argue their disqualification was uncalled for as a defence. They may also claim the judicial officer or administrative agent didn't follow due procedure during their disqualification. In such cases, the court will nullify the invalid disqualifications and the disqualified driving charge.

Non-Public Road Driving

Driving while disqualified is only illegal on public roads. Individuals cannot be charged with driving on private roads or roads outside Victoria's public road network. This defence holds provided they don't violate other traffic laws.

Charged With Driving While Disqualified? We're Here To Help

Driving while disqualified in Victoria, Australia, is a serious offence with far-reaching consequences. It not only carries legal penalties but also poses risks to public safety and can have profound personal and social impacts on individuals and communities.

Have you recently been caught driving while disqualified? Our team of highly qualified lawyers can help you build a defence that helps you avoid the worst consequences of this offence. We'll investigate the circumstances surrounding your incident and ensure you get off lightly. We'll also guide you through the process and help you understand and protect your legal rights. Call us today on 03 9733 2344 to request a free case evaluation.

Further Reading and Resources

  1. https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/vic/consol_act/rsa1986125/s30.html
  2. https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/driving-while-suspended#what-are-the-penalties-if-i-am-found-guilty
  3. https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/dealing-fines

Staff Writer

Emma is a staff writer at Josh Smith Legal with a law and arts double degree. She expertly bridges the gap between legal intricacies and clear communication.

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