Author Paul Nelson
Published March 2015
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 103
Subject Driving offences; Sentencing
Keywords driving, traffic offences, disqualification, fines, sentencing

Download this publication



To describe trends in charges for driving while disqualified (DWD), to examine characteristics of DWD offenders and the penalties imposed on them, and to profile DWD offender subtypes: disqualified by the court (DWD-D), suspended or cancelled from driving under the Fines Act 1996 (DWD-F), and other licence sanctions (DWD-O).


BOCSAR databases provided data on all finalised DWD charges in the NSW Local Court between 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2014, and all principal DWD appearances in the NSW Local Court between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014. Logistic regression was used to examine associations with DWD subtype.


DWD charges trended downwards over the 10 years to April 2014. However, over the 2 years to April 2014, DWD charges trended upwards, as did DWD-F charges. There were 8,874 adults with a principal DWD offence (DWD-D 38.3%, DWD-F 22.9%, DWD-O 38.8%). Penalties were most severe for DWD-D and least severe for DWD-F. DWD-D was linked with more extensive criminal justice problems, including more prior court appearances, than other DWD; DWD-F and DWD-O were more similar in this regard.


The trends in and factors associated with DWD subtype are heterogeneous. The recent increase in the number of charges for DWD may have been driven by the increase in DWD-F charges. There were compelling differences between DWD-D and all other DWD offenders, consistent with the more serious nature of the offence of DWD-D. The differences between DWD-F and DWD-O offenders were less pronounced.

Download this publication