Suspended Licence NSW, Licence Disqualifications & Police Suspensions

Key Takeaways

  1. Driving Suspended or Disqualified in NSW carries up to $3,300 fine, 6-months jail or both & 3-6 months disqualification.
  2. Driving without a valid licence carries up to $2,200 fine.
  3. A driver licence suspension or disqualification does apply across other states.
  4. police can issue immediate suspensions if you’re caught exceeding speed by at least over 30km/h, and drink driving offences.
  5. You can appeal a police suspension. You have within 28-days to appeal a police suspension.
  6. You may now apply to get all disqualifications removed.
  7. Work exemption driver licences do not apply in NSW.

 

Driving with a Suspended Licence or Disqualified Licence in NSW

The penalties for driving a motor vehicle on a road while your driver licence is suspended or disqualified is outlined in the below table under the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

Offence Type Penalty for first offence Penalty for second offence Disqualification for first offence Disqualification for second offence
Drive While Suspended s54(3) $3,300 fine and/or 6-months jail $5,500 fine and/or 12-months jail 3 – 6 months 6 – 12 months
Drive While Disqualified s54(1) $3,300 fine and/or 6-months jail $5,500 fine and/or 12-months jail 3 – 6 months 6 – 12 months
Drive After Refusal or Cancellation of Licence s54(4) $3,300 fine and/or 6-months jail $5,500 fine and/or 12-months jail 3 – 6 months 6 – 12 months
Drive After Licence Suspended or Cancelled for Non-Payment of Fine s54(5) $3,300 fine No Jail $5,500 fine and/or 6-months jail 1 – 3 months 3 – 12 months

The above penalties equally apply if you make a licence application while your licence is suspended, disqualified, or after it’s been refused or cancelled.

 

What is the Penalty for Driving Without a Licence NSW?

Offence Type Penalty for first offence Penalty for second offence Disqualification for first offence Disqualification for second offence
Drive without a Licence s53(1) $2,200 fine No jail $2,200 fine No jail No Disqualification No Disqualification
Drive while Never Licensed for past 5-years s53(3) $2,200 fine No jail $3,300 fine and/or 6-months jail No Disqualification 3 – 12 months

 

Does my Driver Licence Suspension or Disqualification Apply in Multiple States?

Your suspension or disqualification applies across all states and territories in Australia. For The NSW penalties also equally apply if you have been disqualified from holding a licence, or if you’ve been suspended or had your licence cancelled by any Australian court or under a law of another state or territory, if you’re in NSW.

 

What Constitutes a Second Offence and First Offence?

If you’re charged with a drive while suspended, disqualified or unlicensed offence, it will be considered your second or subsequent offence if within 5-years of being convicted of the new offence in court, you’ve also been convicted of the same or equivalent offence. If not, the new offence will be considered a first offence, according to section 9(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

An equivalent offence here includes any of the offences outlined in the table above, or a major offence such as drink driving or drug driving.

Police Suspensions

The below table outlines the offences that allow police to issue an immediate licence suspension of varying periods based on the offence type.

Offences Police can Issue Suspensions for Immediate licence suspension period
Exceed speed over 30 but less than 45km/h if you’re a Learner or Provisional licence holder 3-months
Exceed speed over 45km/h 6-months
Low-range, special-range or novice-range drink driving 3-months
Mid-range or high-range drink driving Suspension continues until the case is heard and determined by the Court
Race or drag racing Suspension continues until the case is heard and determined by the Court

A police officer can immediately suspend your driver licence for any of the above offences, according to section 224 Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

 

Appealing a Police Suspension

If you’ve received a police suspension, you can appeal the police’s decision to immediately suspend you, under section 267 Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW). To appeal a police suspension, you simply lodge a police suspension appeal at your local court registry.

The time limit in which you have a right to lodge a police suspension appeal is within 28-days from the date you are notified of the police suspension. If you fail to lodge the appeal inside this time frame, you will have no right to appeal.

 

Possible Outcomes From Appealing a Police Suspension in Court

A successful police suspension appeal will result in the Court doing 1 of the following:

  1. Set aside the police suspension, and allow you to continue driving; or
  2. Vary the police suspension period to a shorter period at the courts’ discretion (i.e. any period less than the original period of suspension).

A police suspension appeal will succeed only if the Magistrate or Judge is satisfied under section 268(5) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ justifying the suspension to be either set aside or varied. This is a different test/consideration to a demerit point suspension appeal.

It is recommended to get advice and guidance on this appeal tailored to your case on how to best lodge and prepare this kind of appeal.

An alternative or additional avenue to avoid a police suspension is by court-electing the penalty notice accompanied with the immediate suspension notice. In this case, you will avoid the suspension if the court deals with your case under a section 10 non-conviction order or if you are found ‘not guilty’.

Application to Remove Driver Licence Disqualification

If you are currently disqualified from driving in NSW, you are eligible to apply to the local court to remove your disqualification period under section 221C of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) if you fall within any one of the following groups:

Group 1

  • You have no conviction for a driving offence within the last four years, and
  • Your current disqualification was because of any one of the following driving offences:
    1. Exceed speed limit by more than 30km/h
    2. Drink driving
    3. Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm or death
    4. Drive in manner dangerous, reckless or furious
    5. Drug driving i.e. drive with illicit drug in oral fluid, urine or blood
    6. DUI
    7. Menace driving
    8. Fail to stop and assist after impact occasioning injury

Group 2

  • You have no conviction for a driving offence within the last two years, and
  • Your current disqualification was because of a habitual offender declaration.

Group 3

  • If you don’t fit within any of the above groups (group 1 or 2), and
  • You don’t have a driving offence conviction within the last two years.

Fitting into any one of the above groups 1, 2 or 3 is the pre-requisite to be allowed to apply to the court to remove your disqualifications. If you fit within any such group, you may then complete and lodge the application form to remove disqualifications with the local court with an attached up-to-date traffic record.

Upon lodging the application, your application will be listed and heard before the local court Magistrate or Judge.

The Court will remove your disqualifications if it is considered appropriate to remove it. In deciding whether or not it is appropriate to remove it, the Court will look at the following:

  • Your traffic/driving record
  • The public safety in you continuing to drive
  • The nature of the driving offences that ended up resulting in your disqualification(s)
  • Other relevant circumstances which includes the impact the disqualifications have on your family or caring responsibilities, ability to get to and from work, education, training or business, your health & finance, and whether there is any accessibility to alternative transport available to you.

 

Who Cannot Apply to Remove Disqualifications at Court?

You are not permitted to apply to remove your disqualifications if you’ve ever been convicted of any one of the following offences by a court:

  • Failing to stop and assist after impact occasioning injury
  • Police pursuit or predatory driving offences
  • Negligent driving occasioning death or grievous bodily harm
  • Menace driving with intent
  • Murder or manslaughter occasioned from the use of a motor vehicle
  • Drive a motor vehicle occasioning either death, grievous bodily harm, or wounding

 

Refused the First Time and Want to Make a Second Application to Remove Your Disqualifications?

Section 221C(4) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) permits you to apply to the court to make another application to remove your disqualifications if at least one year has lapsed since your last unsuccessful application to the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you get caught driving with a suspended licence NSW?

 

Offence Type Penalty for first offence Penalty for second offence Disqualification for first offence Disqualification for second offence
Drive While Suspended s54(3) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) $3,300 fine and/or 6-months jail $5,500 fine and/or 12-months jail 3 – 6 months 6 – 12 months

 

Do demerit points reset after a suspension?

Demerit points reset at the start of the suspension period, not after the suspension. The demerit points also reset every 3-years from the date of your last demerit points offence.

What is the fine for driving unlicensed in NSW?

 

Offence Type Penalty for first offence Penalty for second offence Disqualification for first offence Disqualification for second offence
Drive without a Licence s53(1) $2,200 fine No jail $2,200 fine No jail No Disqualification No Disqualification
Drive while Never Licensed for past 5-years s53(3) $2,200 fine No jail $3,300 fine and/or 6-months jail No Disqualification 3 – 12 months

 

How do I get my licence back after suspension in NSW?

If you’ve been suspended from driving, and you are on an unrestricted licence, you may elect to be on a good behaviour licence in lieu of your suspension period. The other path is to apply to the local court under section 221C of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) to have your suspension removed. To successfully do this, you must first be eligible to apply and then convince the Magistrate to grant the removal. The Magistrate in will grant this only if he/she accepts it to be appropriate after looking into your personal circumstances, safety of the public, your traffic history and other factors. It’s highly recommended to get legal advice before making an application.

Getting Licence back after disqualification NSW

You can apply under section 221C of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) to the local court to remove your disqualification period in NSW. If successful, you can continue driving. To be successful, you must first pass the hurdles required under the law. the first hurdle is the eligibility test and the second hurdles, is the Magistrates discretion in granting the removal of your disqualifications if the court considers it appropriate, after considering the public safety, your driving record, and your personal circumstances.

Work exemption driver licence NSW

There is no work exemption driver licence in NSW. The only way to avoid a driver licence suspension or disqualification period is, if eligible, you elect to be on a good behaviour licence period, or successfully apply in court to remove your suspension/disqualification period, or court elect the offence that causes the suspension or disqualification and convince the Magistrate to impose a non-conviction penalty (s10 or conditional release order).

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