What is Suspended Driving?
If your driver’s licence has temporarily been suspended and you are caught behind the wheel, you will be charged with suspended driving.
Your licence may have been suspended by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the State Debt Recovery Office or the police because you have:
- Exceeded the speed limit by 30 or 45km/h.
- Lost all of your demerit points.
- Failed to pay fines through the State Debt Recovery office.
- Been charged with various traffic offences (including Mid Range PCA or High Range PCA, burnouts or hoon driving, driving in a manner dangerous, predatory driving or drug driving).
What are the penalties for suspended driving in NSW?
If you are convicted, you will have a disqualification period imposed and you may even face a prison sentence.
|Suspended Driving Penalties NSW|
|First major offence within 5 years|
|Automatic disqualification||12 months (unless you have been suspended because you failed to pay a fine, in which case the disqualification period is 3 months)|
|Maximum prison sentence||18 months|
|Second major offence within 5 years|
|Automatic disqualification||2 years|
|Maximum prison sentence||2 years|
However, it is also possible to avoid a conviction if you can successfully argue for leniency under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
How severe is the charge against you?
If you have had your driver’s licence suspended, a failure to comply with that direction will be held against you. As the severity of the potential penalties reflects, this is a serious offence and you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible if you have been charged.
You may be able to argue the defence of honest and reasonable mistake – meaning that at the time of the alleged offence, you were unaware that your driver’s licence had been suspended. This might be because you had not been notified by the RMS, or for some other reason, such as if you had been advised of an incorrect date for the lifting of your suspension.
Traffic Offender Intervention Program
If you have been charged with suspended driving, you can choose to participate in the voluntary Traffic Offender Intervention Program, which the court will take into account when deciding your sentence. The course is about helping you to understand the seriousness of traffic offences.