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Traffic offence penalties

Traffic offence penalties

How can this web page help me?

This information is intended as a guide to the range of penalties that are available to the court when you are charged with certain common traffic offences. It does not cover all traffic offences. 

If you know the offence you have been charged with and whether you have previous convictions, this information may assist you in determining things such as whether you may lose your licence, or whether imprisonment is an option.

This information does not take into account all of the factors that may exist in your case and cannot assist you in determining the exact penalty you will receive.  If you want to know the penalty you are most likely to receive in your particular situation, you will need to get legal advice.

Where are the laws relating to traffic offences and penalties mainly found?

Most traffic offences that are dealt with by a court rather than by an infringement notice, are found in the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA), however, some are found in the Road Traffic (Administration) Act 2008 (WA).  

What types of penalties can apply to traffic offences?

If you are convicted of a traffic offence (that is, you plead guilty or you are found guilty after trial), the penalty that will usually apply is a fine and a period of disqualification
For many traffic offences, the minimum penalty is fixed by law, so the court must impose at least the minimum fine and at least the minimum period of disqualification for the particular offence. The court can impose more if it thinks it is appropriate, but can never impose less than the minimum.  
When a fine is imposed, there are strict time limits for paying. If you do not pay, you risk payment being enforced against you. Click here for more information about Fines, including the consequences of failing to pay.  
Disqualification means that you are not allowed to drive for a period of time specified by the court. Disqualification is sometimes referred to as “suspension”. In certain circumstances, your licence may also be cancelled and you will have to re-sit your test. Click here for more information about Disqualification or cancellation of licence.  
For some offences, instead of disqualification you may receive demerit points. If you receive a total of 12 demerit points, you will be under a “demerit point suspension”. Click here for more information about a Demerit point suspension.  
Some offences may result in a community based order or intensive supervision order which are both penalties that require you to be under supervision in the community and may include requirements such as community service work or participation in programs such as alcohol rehabilitation programs. 
For some serious traffic offences, imprisonment is also an option. 
For some offences, the court has the power to impound or confiscate your vehicle. For more information see Impounding and confiscation of vehicles.
Convictions from the Children's Court count as prior convictions for traffic offences.
Prior offences dealt with by infringement do not count as prior convictions except when determining whether a probationary licence will be cancelled.

What are the penalties for particular traffic offences?

Legal Aid WA produces an information sheet which includes a range of useful information about traffic offences, including the penalties for some of the most common offences. See Traffic offences information sheet.

Where can I get more information about traffic offences?

There is a range of information that may assist you in the following web pages:

Where can I get legal advice?

You may obtain advice from a private lawyer before your court date, or a Legal Aid WA duty lawyer may be able to assist you on the morning of your court appearance. Click here for more information about Legal Aid WA's Duty Lawyer Service

Where can I get more information about attending court?

Please see the following web pages:


Last reviewed: 01/06/2016

Last modified:


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.