A magistrate has said deterrence was an important factor when sentencing people who choose to drive without a valid licence as the offence was 'far too prevalent' in Ballarat.
Boue Ryan, 24, was convicted and fined for driving while suspended after pleading guilty to the offence at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Monday.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Giles Brown said Ryan was intercepted by police in October 2019 while driving in Golden Point and checks showed his licence was suspended for drug driving.
The court heard Ryan's vehicle was impounded at a cost of $1200.
Senior Constable Giles said Ryan was abusive and argumentative with police and declined to answer any questions about the status of his licence.
A defence lawyer said it was Ryan's first time before the court and he was unlikely to reoffend.
People don't seem to care or think there will be consequences if they are caught.Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt
The lawyer said Ryan had not received a letter from VicRoads about his licence being suspended and did not know the notice of suspension was on his fine.
The court heard Ryan had lost his job as a floor and wall tiler due to his licence suspension and had struggled with mental health issues and affording to pay his bills while on Jobseeker.
"He is hoping to go back to floor and wall tiling and having a licence is important to his employment," the lawyer said.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt reminded Ryan of the seriousness of the offence, stating the maximum penalty was fines of up to $40,000 or two years imprisonment.
"Without a licence our ability to do the normal things of life is restricted," he said.
"The threat of losing your licence is meant to be a deterrent of doing things that will create danger on the road.
"You lost your licence for having illicit drugs in your system. It is your responsibility to understand what the penalties mean."
Ryan was convicted and fined $750.
"This offence is relatively widespread in the community," Mr Klestadt said.
"General deterrence and denunciation therefore are important in sentencing.
"People have to know if they lose their licence it will have very serious consequences."
In a separate case, a woman told police she did not know her licence was disqualified when she was intercepted driving in Ballarat in April.
Her defence lawyer said she had not received a letter of disqualification in the mail and she was confused about the status of her licence.
Senior Constable Giles said it was not an excuse to say she did not know her licence was disqualified as it was the onus of the licence holder to know the status of their licence.
"This offence is not only serious, but it is far too prevalent in the community.... people don't seem to care or think there will be consequences if they are caught," he said.
The woman was fined $350 without conviction.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.