Driving while Disqualified/Suspended
and Section 94 Community-Based Sentence
By Sarah Hames
To drive whilst
disqualified or to not drive whilst disqualified?
disqualified driver may think, in the moment, that the reason to drive
outweighs the risk of being caught. But, when he or she is caught the
predicament will usually become a lot more stressful.
is when we come in to help.
Driving while Disqualified
prohibits a person from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for a certain period
of time. It is imposed at the court’s sentencing stage after a driver is found
guilty, or pleads guilty, for particular traffic offences. For example, when an
‘offender’ is charged with driving with excess breath/blood alcohol.
a disqualified person is then caught driving while disqualified, he or she has
committed another offence. The court is required to impose a further ‘mandatory’ minimum period of
six months disqualification upon the offender.
new disqualification period ordered by the court then generally commences upon
the expiration of the previous disqualification period.
a first or second offence of driving while disqualified, further penalties can theoretically include three months
imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $4,500. If it is the third and subsequent
offence, penalties include up to two years imprisonment and/or a fine up to
these reasons, it is clearly not worth the risk of driving while disqualified.
94 can however often be used to provide relief from the harshness of
Section 94 Community-Based
charged with driving while disqualified or driving while suspended, there is
hope for avoiding further disqualification.
section 94 of the Land Transport Act 1998, the court can exercise its
discretion to impose a community-based sentence instead of mandatory disqualification.
This community-based substitute was integrated to “avoid the stultifying
effects of large build ups of disqualification periods in particular cases”.
court can impose a section 94 sentence if the following three preconditions are
- You have a previous
- It would be inappropriate to order
disqualification having regard to the four matters listed in s 94(1)(b)
(explained below); and
- It would be appropriate to sentence
you to a community-based sentence.
satisfy para (a), there is no threshold on the number of previous
disqualifications required. It can even be that a singular previous offence is
enough. There is no requirement for you to be “on an endless cycle of
In Tai v R, the court noted:
“The [section 94] discretion is not limited in its application to offenders who fail repeatedly to honour their obligations under disqualification orders and are therefore hopeless cases. It can be applied in less serious cases where persons are facing their second offence and are liable to disqualification.”
a community based sentence does not apply where section 65 of the Land
Transport Act 1998 is applicable. Section 65 prescribes mandatory “indefinite”
disqualification for defined categories of repeat offences (involving driving
with alcohol or drugs) with a previous offence having been committed within
five years of the date of commission of the current offence. This gets
complicated and we will be happy to explain it further to you.
satisfy para (b) in section 94, the court must consider whether it would be
appropriate to make an order of disqualification having regard to:
circumstances of the case and of the offender; and
effectiveness or otherwise a previous order of disqualification made in respect
of the offender; and
likely effect on the offender of a further order of disqualification; and
interests of the public.
court considers all the circumstances, for example, the nature of the
defendant’s employment and whether it is dependent upon his or her ability to
drive. If the likely effect of another disqualification would be a hardship upon
the defendant, loss of his or her employment and therefore the ability to
support family and/or employees, then it is a good case for s 94.
you have found yourself charged with something like a repeat drink drive or
driving while disqualified or driving while suspended, we can help you assess
your options. We offer a free telephone assessment. Feel free to contact us on (09) 575 5111.
Section 85(3) Land Transport Act 1998.
Law of Transportation (Brookers) at para LT94.01.
 Beeston v New Zealand Police  NZHC
1064 at .
Ibid, at .
 Tai v R  NZHC 2422 at .
94(1)(b) Land Transport Act 1998.
 Police v Body & Others  NZHC
Information provided here should not be considered legal advice. If you think that you may be eligible for a discharge without conviction, then we recommend that you seek legal advice. If you wish to contact us you will find our contact details below or on the ‘contact us’ page of our website