What happens if you have been charged with Driving whilst Disqualified?

Whist found under the same source of law as Driving whilst Suspended, disqualified driving is a more aggravating offence and can carry heftier penalties.

A person’s drivers licence is usually disqualified due to offending such as drink/drug driving, dangerous driving or as a result of more serious indictable traffic offences. As such, anyone charged with driving whilst disqualified has essentially defied a previous order of the Court, making the penalty more serious.

If you are facing a charge of driving whilst disqualified, our team will review:

  • Whether the elements are made out.
  • Whether there a viable defence of honest and reasonable mistake?
  • What lead to you being disqualified?
  • Is this charge aggravated by other offending or other facts set out in the charge?

Elements of the Offence

To prove an offence against section 30 of the Road Safety Act 1986 for driving whilst disqualified, the prosecution need to prove:

  1. You were driving or in charge of a motor vehicle
  2. Your licence was disqualified at the time

The Court take driving offences, and specifically disqualified driving offending very seriously. The Prosecution and the Courts will take into account the risk that a disqualified driver poses to the safety of the wider community. As such it can often be against a person’s best interests to attempt to manage their case as a self-represented accused. To ensure that someone is fighting in your corner, contact our office today to discuss your options with our experienced team.

Can I plead Not Guilty if I was unaware that my licence was Disqualified?

Only the Court have the power to disqualify a person’s driver’s license or permit. In these circumstances, driving disqualified is a strict liability offence, meaning that all the prosecution need to prove is that you were driving and at the time you were driving, you were disqualified.

In some exceptional circumstances, a defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact may apply. The only valid mistake of fact the Courts are likely to consider is that you were never notified of the disqualification. If your licence was disqualified by the Court and you were not present, known as ex-parte, you should have received notification from VicRoads as to the Court finding and subsequent licence loss.

If you believe that you may have a defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact, it is important to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer from MK Law to ensure the defence is valid and ensure the Court accept the defence.

In some rare cases the legal chain of causation may be broken which could lead to a finding of not guilty. If you believe your case may have some very unusual features, call our office today to discuss this with one of our criminal lawyers. 

MK Law can provide 24/7 legal advice regarding charges of this nature by calling 1800 130 120 immediately.



If found guilty of driving whilst disqualified, the maximum penalty is a fine of 240 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years. Community Corrections orders and combination sentences may also form part of the sentencing disposition. 

The Police want to seize or impound my vehicle. What can I do?

Upon a finding of guilt, the police have the power to make an application to impound or forfeit your vehicle. In these circumstances, it is important to know your prior driving history and the circumstances of the offending. This will determine whether the application will be successful or dismissed by the Court.

If the police have currently impounded your vehicle or requested a forfeiture order, contact our office on 1800 130 120 today so that our experienced criminal lawyers can determine the merits of resisting the application and make submissions to ensure your vehicle is not impounded for a further period or forfeited to the State.

What Happens Next?

The Magistrates Court hears the summary offence of Driving whilst Disqualified. It can be heard summarily by the County Court if this offence runs together with a brief of evidence for other more serious offending.

It is important to discover whether there is a viable defence to be heard. If not, the next step is to determine how to mitigate your overall sentence. If you have a prior record for driving whilst disqualified, the risk of imprisonment on the sentencing scale becomes more of a possibility. There are many factors which may spare you from a term of imprisonment. Additionally, sentences in the Magistrates Court for this type of offending where a term of imprisonment is ordered, may be appealed to the County Court assuming there have been issues in your original hearing, or after you adduce additional evidence such as a forensic psychological report. Strict time lines apply and sentence appeals often require thorough analysis by an experienced criminal lawyer. 

MK Law have a proven track record of assisting our clients with resisting licence loss applications, so give us a call today to see how we can help you.

MK Law - What Happens Next?


Call Anytime
For Free Legal Advice 24/7

Book in, bring your brief & let’s have a chat about your legal options. Easy parking and public transport. Flexible Appointment times 7am- 7pm.

We see clients at this location on selected days. Reserved for larger groups in the boardroom, media conferences and International clients.

Phone: 1800 130 120
Email: marcus@mklawfirm.com.au