Ask LH: Is It Possible To Dodge A Driving Conviction By Moving States?

Ask LH: Is It Possible To Dodge A Driving Conviction By Moving States?
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Hey Lifehacker, I was on a 12 month good behaviour bond for speeding in NSW when I got booked doing more than 20km/h over the speed limit. I have moved to Victoria and not paid the fine as it isn’t due yet, and I believe my licence is considered active until I’ve paid the fine. My question is: if I apply for a Victorian licence before my old licence is disqualified, will VicRoads know to cancel my new licence? Thanks, Speed Demon

Road sign picture from Shutterstock

Dear Speed Demon,

Interestingly enough, this is the third email we’ve received in as many days asking a variant on the same question. Um, you’re not all part of the same band of outlawed desperados, are you?

In darker days, it was technically possible to wipe your driving record clean by hopping state lines and starting anew. Australia’s road and traffic authorities are now all interconnected via the Australian Road Rules agreement and the Demerit Points Scheme. This means that any penalties you incurred in NSW will be instantly flagged when you apply for a Victorian licence. (They have these things called computers, y’see.)

It’s all plainly spelled out on VicRoads’ interstate licence website:

Conversion of a current interstate licence and/or learner permit to a Victorian equivalent is conducted by appointment only at a VicRoads Customer Service Centre. At the appointment, VicRoads will verify your interstate licence and/or learner permit details with the State/Territory.
If your interstate or New Zealand driver licence and/or learner permit is suspended or cancelled, or you are disqualified as a result of a driving offence, demerit points, medical reasons or due to unpaid fines, etc you will not be able to get a Victorian equivalent, until this sanction has ended.

In other words, your existing demerit points will continue to follow you around like a bad smell. Sorry. Even if you plan to protest your innocence, the conversion process will be frozen until the matter can be resolved in court.

On a related note, we’re mildly appalled that trying to flout road rules has apparently become a national hobby — it must be all that convict blood in our veins!


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  • The questioner should also know that NSW’s OSR won’t mess around. Not only will the NSW licence disqualification cancel the Victorian licence, but it’ll also cancel other licences and permits that they might have, the fine will sit on the questioner’s credit report indefinitely (and might stop him from getting a home or personal loan), and the bailiffs will eventually help themselves to his bank account and/or wages.

  • On a similar topic, do the two times points gained on NSW’s seemingly rather frequent ‘Double Demerit Weekends’ also count as double for interstate drivers?

  • What if before you moved, you legally changed your name? Could you then apply for a new licence in the new state, under the new name?

    • In Queensland, and I’m guessing in other states too, there is a question on the application form asking if you changed your name. If yes, you must supply your change of name documents.

  • Not sure why an apology was given. Do the crime, do the time. The fact that you wanted to dodge it instead of taking it on the chin is even more gutless.

  • I love how Australians think they are egalitarian, anti-authoritarian larrikins. When it comes down to it, is seems people are all too willing to acquiesce to authority and even dob people in. Australians might have been rascals and larrikins once (perhaps up until the 1950s), but the responses to these type of questions makes me think they’ve turned into a nation of wowsers. Having said that, the questioner is a dill for having driven so recklessly in the first place. I’d normally cheer on a bit of rambunctiousness, but the truth is we have to share the roads we with these types of idiot drivers and if the funstoppers want to take him off the streets, well…good.

  • alot of these fools just need to buy a radar detector or stop bitching about getting caught breaking the law.

  • I would think that even if you manage to get away with a conviction for a short period of time, the minute that they catch you moving back across the border into the state that you received the conviction, they can get you back again. I don’t think you’d be willing to move house just to avoid paying a fine right?

  • Hi. Sorry I know this thread was over a long time ago but I can’t find the answer to my question and I’m hoping someone on here can help me.
    If I’m in NSW and I lose all my points and go on a good behaviour bond, then I move to QLD while on that bond… if I transfer my license to a QLD license and register my car with QLD plates etc… will I lose my license because NSW allows for 13 points and QLD only allows for 12?

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