Category 1 traffic offences: not punishable by imprisonment
A ‘category 1 offence’ means an offence that is not punishable by imprisonment but does involve a person being charged, fined and sometimes disqualified from driving.
Examples of category 1 offences are:
- exceeding the speed limit by more than 50km/h (a maximum fine of $1000)
- driving an unsafe vehicle (maximum fine of $2000)
- pouring oil, diesel or other substances on the road to cause wheel-spins (maximum fine of $3000)
- careless driving that doesn’t cause injury or death (maximum fine of $3000, and you can also be disqualified for a period)
- failing to remain stopped for the Police when required (maximum fine of $10,000).
Category 2 traffic offences: penalty of less than two years’ prison
Category 2 offences carry a prison sentence of less than two years, or a community-based sentence such as community work, supervision or community detention.
Examples of Category 2 driving offences are:
- reckless driving
- failing to stop after being in an accident, if no other person is injured or killed
- a first or second drink-driving conviction
- careless driving causing injury or death
- street-racing or wheel-spinning where no injury or death is caused.
Those offences are all punishable by a prison term of up to three months or a maximum fine of $4500 and a disqualification from driving for at least six months.
Category 3 traffic offences: penalty of two years’ or more imprisonment
Category 3 offences are those carrying a prison term of two years or more.
For these offences, there is the right to choose a jury trial, instead of a judge-alone trial. The trial will be transferred to the District Court, with an initial appearance in the Youth Court in accordance with section 275(2)(a).
Judge-alone hearings are heard in the Youth Court.
Examples of Category 3 driving offences include:
- dangerous driving causing injury (a maximum prison term of five years or a maximum fine of $20,000, and compulsory disqualification for at least one year)
- street-racing or wheel-spinning causing injury (maximum prison term of five years or a maximum fine of $20,000, and compulsory disqualification for at least one year)
- aggravated careless driving causing injury or death (maximum prison term of three years or a maximum fine of $10,000)
- a third or further drink-driving conviction (a maximum prison term of two years or a maximum fine of $6,000, and compulsory disqualification for more than one year).
Infringement traffic offences can only be included in Youth Court jurisdiction under the following circumstances
Infringement offences are included in the Youth Court jurisdiction if a tamaiti or rangatahi is charged with an infringement offence and:
- they are charged with another offence that falls in the Youth Court jurisdiction, and
- both offences arise out of the same event or series of events, and
- the Youth Court considers that:
- it is desirable that the charges be heard together, or
- the charges can be conveniently heard together.
Family group conferences in these cases can only be directed by the Youth Court.
Examples of infringement offences
- a moving vehicle offence
- a stationary vehicle offence
- an overloading or over-dimension offence
- an offence against the Land Transport Act 1998 concerning logbooks that is committed by a transport service driver
- an infringement offence specified in regulations made under the Land Transport Act 1998
- a toll offence.