Drive Whilst Disqualified Or Suspended – s 54 Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW)
Charged with a drive while disqualified or drive while suspended offence can cause significant hardship on family, and cause difficulty in maintaining and finding a job.
Our leading senior traffic lawyers have over 20 years experience in attending court, convincing police to drop charges, and achieving s 10/CRO, non convictions, to avoiding licence disqualifications.
Your Options in Court
PLEADING NOT GUILTY
You can only be guilty of driving while disqualified or driving while suspended if police can prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You drove a motor vehicle on a road; and
- At time of driving, your licence was suspended, cancelled or disqualified.
You will be not guilty, and your suspended or disqualified driving charge dismissed, if police are unable to prove any one of the above 2 elements of the offence.
Defences to this charge
You will be Not Guilty if:
- Mistaken identity: Where you were not the driver of the vehicle at the alleged time.
- Honest and reasonable mistake: Where you honestly didn’t know your licence was suspended or cancelled by the RMS or disqualified by the Court, and it was reasonable for you to have held that belief. i.e. The mail from RMS informing you of your suspension or cancellation failed to reach your address.
- Duress or Necessity: Where you were coerced or threatened to drive, or where you drove to avoid serious injury.
Your charge will be dismissed if any one of the above defences to this offence apply to you. Our highly experienced traffic lawyers specialise in getting charges dropped early, and proving their clients innocence in court. They hold a proven success record of achieving this countless times for over 20 years.
If pleading guilty to an offence of driving while disqualified or suspended driving, see the below tips on how to best prepare your case for the best chances at avoiding a further loss of licence, and prison.
25% Discount on punishment
Pleading guilty at the earliest possible time in your case to a drive while suspended or disqualified offence will allow the Judge to give you a 25% discount on your punishment. This results in a more lenient court result, and better chances at s10 to keep your licence.
That discount continues to reduce with time the later a plea of guilty is entered in your case. This is why its critical to get early experienced advice on your charge.
Traffic Offenders Program
Completing the traffic offenders program in time for your final court date will generally result in a more lighter punishment. Our senior traffic lawyers can guide you to enrol into the best course acknowledged by the Courts.
Good character references
Getting letters from family, friends, employer, charity and letter of apology from you can boost your chances of keeping your licence from being further disqualified.
For best chances at this occurring, the letters should comment on your need for a licence, effect on your job ad family commitments if you are further disqualified. It should also express your insight, remorse, good character and shame. Our lawyers can guide you.
Negotiate to drop charges
With over 20 years of successfully negotiating with police to drop charges countless times, our traffic lawyers are recognised as leaders in this field. The chances of this occurring for your case is increased by picking out all the holes in the evidence, and using this to tactfully negotiate.
The police set of facts will be initially drafted by police for the Judge to read in order to consider your punishment. This can often be one sided, making you sound worse than it should, which often results in a harsher punishment.
By analysing the evidence, and pointing out the holes in it, you can negotiate your way to change those facts to reflect the truth, and painting you in a better light to the Judge reading it. This often results in a better court result. Increasing your chances of avoiding a licence disqualification.
By getting a powerful psychologist or psychiatrist report from a highly respected expert for the Judge to read can dramatically improve your court result, with a more lenient outcome, and better chances to avoid a loss of your licence.
To improve your chances at this, the report should comment on any mental condition at the time, explanation for your behaviour, remorse, insight and shame.
The maximum punishments are rarely given by Courts, and generally only given to the most serious offenders for this offence.
Unless you get a section 10/CRO, non conviction, the below are the maximum penalties. The courts don’t always give out the maximum penalties.
Fine or imprisonment
If in the last 5 years, you have no previous offences of driving while disqualified or suspended or any ‘major offence’ i.e. drink driving, then the maximum punishment is a fine of up to $3,300 and/or imprisonment of 6 months.
Otherwise, if you already have a conviction for one of those offences in the last 5 years, then the maximum punishment is a fine of up to $5,500 and/or imprisonment of 1 year.
If in the last 5 years, you have no previous offence of driving while disqualified or drive while suspended, or any ‘major offence’ i.e. drink driving, then the automatic disqualification period is 6 months, with an option for the court to reduce this to a minimum of 3 months.
Otherwise, if you already have a conviction for one of those offences in the last 5 years, then the automatic disqualification period is 1 year, with an option for the court to reduce this to 6 months.
The disqualification period given by the court will commence from the expiration of your current suspension or disqualification period.
Types of punishment
Upon pleading guilty to drive while disqualified or suspended driving, the Judge will give you any one of the following kinds of penalties, depending on the above points in preparing and presenting your case:
- Section 10/ CRO non conviction
- Section 9 good behaviour bond
- Community Service Order
- Section 12 suspended sentence
- Intensive Corrections Order
- Home Detention
- Full Time Imprisonment
To avoid risking a further licence disqualification period, loss of job, and impact on family, speak to one of our highly experienced leading traffic lawyers.
With over 20 years experience in achieving exceptional results for suspended driving and drive while disqualified offences, they have achieved s 10/CRO non convictions countless times.