DRIVER LICENCE APPEALS

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Appealing your licence suspension

Losing your licence can have a significant impact on your life, from interfering with your employment to your ability to care for your dependents – children and elderly relatives. Traffic law, in particular licence appeals, is a complex area of law, so it is essential you seek legal advice from experienced traffic lawyers about your individual circumstances to achieve the best possible outcome.

You only have 28 days to appeal your licence suspension, so don’t delay and miss this small window of opportunity.

What do I have to prove?

When appealing your licence suspension, there are a few angles that our expert traffic lawyers will use in your appeal:

  • We may try to prove that the prosecution does not have a strong compelling evidence against you if we find gaps in their case. Statistics show that often time, those that don’t think they did it, simply did not! Without compelling proof against you, our lawyers can smash this appeal out of the water.
  • Our expert lawyers will almost always (where applicable) establish a good case regarding your need for a licence
  • They will also consider the potential danger to the community if an order is made
  • Finally, our lawyers will look at your personal circumstances and any relevant local matters that the Local Court would be open to consider

What are the likely outcomes of my driver licence appeal?

Unlike other states, in NSW your driver licence appeal will generally result in the court either:

  • Allowing your appeal – essentially allowing you to keep your licence,
  • Disallowing your appeal – meaning your appeal is rejected and you will be suspended for the time set by the TfNSW (Formerly RMS / RTA),
  • Dismissal with a Section 10 (See Section 10 below)
  • Or a reduced the suspension period

Who can suspend my licence?

In NSW, the following authorities have the power to suspend a drivers licence:

(a)  NSW Police

(b) Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) 
(c)  Courts

NSW Police licence suspensions

A police officer can suspend a driver’s licence on the spot or within 48 hours of issuing a traffic infringement notice for the following traffic offences:

  • Serious driving offences (e.g. dangerous driving, negligent driving) causing death or grievous bodily harm
  • Speeding offences in excess of 45km/ph over the signposted speed limit (automatic suspension period of 6 months)
  • DUI offences
  • Drink driving offences (PCA) (as of 2019, low range drink driving now incurs an automatic suspension period of 3 months)
  • Street racing
  • Aggravated burnout offences
  • Learner or provisional licence holder speeding in excess of 30km/ph (automatic suspension period of 3 months)
  • Learner licence holder drive while unaccompanied by an appropriately licensed driver (automatic suspension period of 3 months)

If a police officer suspends your licence, you MUST NOT drive until the court orders otherwise.

When appealing a police issued licence suspension, you will need to prove there were exceptional circumstances that cause you to commit the traffic offence. Police issued licence suspensions can be difficult to appeal. It is therefore essential that you receive legal advice about your individual circumstances to ensure you meet the criteria for exceptional circumstances.

Driving on an interstate or international licence

If you are an overseas or interstate driver, driving a motor vehicle in NSW and commit a serious offence such as negligent driving or those listed above, the police can issue you with an automatic licence suspension, removing your driving privileges in NSW. 

You can appeal the licence suspension, however, you only have 28 days from the date of issue to do so. 

You must NOT drive while a licence suspension is in place until a court orders otherwise.

Transport for New South Wales licence suspension

Transport for NSW is the authority responsible for dealing with drivers licences in NSW. It was previously known as Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Roads and Maritime Service (RMS). Transport for New South Wales will suspend a driver’s licence for the following:

  1. Failure to pay a fine(s) – can be appealed to the Local Court
  2. Demerit point suspension – full licence holders (unrestricted) cannot appeal a demerit point suspension. However, novice drivers (learners, and p plate) can appeal.
  3. Camera detected speeding offences over 35km/ph and over 45km/ph – can be appealed to the Local Court

Revenue NSW Licence Suspension

Failure to pay a fine(s)

Revenue NSW has the power to suspend a driver’s licence for failure to pay an infringement notice. Fines are not limited to traffic offences but also include parking infringements, travelling without a valid Opal card, etc. If you fail to pay your fine, even after receiving a reminder notice, you will receive a notice of suspension to notify you that you have an outstanding fine and as a result, your licence will be suspended. To resolve the matter, ensure you pay the fine.

If you are unlicensed and plan to apply for a driver’s licence in NSW and have unpaid fines (e.g. travel without a valid Opal card), Transport for NSW may decline your application for a licence until your fine has been paid. This is an important point to note, especially if you are 18 years of age, have unpaid fines and are looking at applying for learners or provisional licence. 

If you are unable to pay your fine, you should contact Revenue NSW to arrange a payment plan. Alternatively, you may be eligible for a Work Development Order (WDO).

If you are paying your fine via a direct debit payment plan, it is recommended that you monitor your bank statements to ensure that regular payments are being made to ensure you maintain your licence.

Work and development orders (WDO)

If you are unable to pay a fine, you may be eligible for a Work and Development Order. You are eligible if:

  • You are homeless; or
  • You have a mental illness, intellectual disability or cognitive impairment; or
  • You have a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or volatile substances; or
  • You are experiencing financial hardship

To apply for a WDO, you will need to find a registered sponsor (WDO provider) such as a drug and alcohol program, doctor, psychologist, etc. Revenue NSW has a list of approved sponsors in your area.

Demerit point suspension

Demerit point suspension occurs when a driver exceeds their number of allocated demerit points in a three year period. Transport for NSW may issue the following suspension periods for unrestricted licence holders:

  • 13 (or 14 for a professional driver) to 15 demerit points = 3 months licence suspension
  • 16 to 19 demerit points = 4 months licence suspension
  • 20 or more demerit points = 5 months licence suspension

Transport for NSW may issue the following suspension period for novice drivers (learner, p plate drivers) 

  • For learners and provisional p1 drivers who accrue 4 or more demerit points = 3 months licence suspension. If you are suspended two or more times, Transport for NSW may require you to complete a driver knowledge test, driver education program or both
  • For provisional p2 drivers who accrue 7 or more demerit points =3 months licence suspension. If you are suspended two or more times, Transport for NSW may require you to complete a driver knowledge test, driver education program or both. You may also be required to complete an additional six months for every suspension issued on this licence level before being allowed to apply for an unrestricted licence. 

If you have a demerit point suspension, Transport for NSW will contact you via letter to inform you of your suspension. You must NOT drive until the court orders otherwise.

Good behaviour licence

If your licence has been suspended, you may be able to apply for a good behaviour licence if:

  • Your licence has been suspended due to demerit points
  • You are a full licence holder (unrestricted)
  • Your suspension period has NOT yet started
  • You are not already on a good behaviour licence

If you accumulate two or more demerit points while on a good behaviour licence, your licence will be suspended for double the length of the original suspension period.

Time Limits and the limitation period

A limitation period (time limit) is a short period of time after notification of the licence suspension available to appeal. If you intend to appeal your licence suspension, you MUST do so within 28 days of receiving a notice of suspension. You cannot lodge an appeal after the 28 days.

What is the process for appealing my licence suspension?

STEP 1

Contact Jameson Law

Contact a legal practitioner asap to ask put together and lodge a well-founded application to appeal your licence suspension.

STEP 1

STEP 2

Apply

Once you have completed the form and paid the fee (as the date of writing a fee of $98.00 applies for each appeal lodged), the court will notify you of the court date, time and location of the appeal hearing via the email you supply. Licence appeals are heard by the Local Court. 

STEP 2

STEP 3

Preparation of Evidence

We will work with you to prepare a compelling case. In such, we will work with you to attain and prepare the following evidence: 

-Character reference

-A statement about how it will impact on your ability to meet your employment, study or career obligations. 

-Lack of access to public transport

-If you are appealing a police issued licence suspension, you will need to prove to the court that there were exceptional circumstances. 

-Your driving record

STEP 3

STEP 4

Hearing

Whilst you MUST be present for the Court date, we will be the ones representing you if you have retained our services. When you attend court, we will be presenting your case along with all the evidence we have prepared with you to support your appeal. Don’t worry, we will look after all three copies of each document and hand them out to the prosecuting authority, one for the court and of course a copy for yourself.

STEP 4

STEP 5

Don’t Attend Court?

Failure to attend court on the court date specified without extenuating circumstances / reason may result in the court dismissing your matter or hearing your matter in your absence and dismissing your licence suspension appeal. The court time listed is a general court start time. The court generally hears matters in the order they appear on the court list so it is important to stay until your matter is called.

STEP 5

STEP 5

Court Decision

The court will generally issue its decision on the day of the hearing. Generally they will either allow your appeal, disallow your appeal – and possibly consider a Section 10 and/or reduce your suspension period.

STEP 5

What evidence do I need?

  • Character reference – A character reference is a letter written by someone of standing in the community (e.g. employer, priest, coach, teacher etc) addressed to the court stating why the behaviour leading to the traffic infringement or licence suspension is out of character for you. 
  • A statement about how it will impact on your ability to meet your employment, study or carer obligations. However, it should be noted that while a licence suspension may impact on your employment, the court will NOT place too much weight on it. The court considers that your employment should be at the forefront of your mind. However, it gives considerable weight to how it will impact on others (e.g. taking dependents to medical appointments, etc).
  • Lack of access to public transport – This can be difficult to prove if you live in Sydney. The courts are more likely to take it into consideration if you live in a regional or remote area.
  • If you are appealing a police issued licence suspension, we will need to prove to the court that there were exceptional circumstances. 
  • Your driving record – We will apply on your behalf for a copy of your driving record. There are two types of driving record. You will need to apply for a certified copy of your driving record to be able to use it for evidentiary purposes. A fee of $32 is payable to obtain a certified copy of your driving record. The court will review your driving record in five year periods.

Why do I need an expert traffic lawyer?

Risks of appealing a licence suspension

As with any criminal law matter, there is a risk of appealing a licence suspension. The court can:

  • Increase the suspension period

  • Increase the fine to be paid

  • Order you to pay the other parties (Police, Transport for NSW) legal costs if your is appeal is unsuccessful

If a court dismisses your appeal, the suspension period becomes known as a disqualification period. The court will automatically cancel your driver’s licence. Once the disqualification period expires, you will need to reapply to Service NSW for a new licence. 

If your appeal is unsuccessful, you cannot appeal the court’s decision.

Best possible licence appeal outcome

Court upholds your appeal

The best possible outcome that can be achieved by appealing your licence suspension is to have the court uphold your appeal (agree with your appeal). If the court upholds your appeal, it means that your licence is no longer suspended and you are free to drive.

If your appeal is dismissed (the court rejects your appeal), the court may grant you a section 10.

 

Section 10

A section 10 is the best possible outcome in the event the court dismisses (rejects) your appeal. There are three orders available to the court under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing and Procedure) Act where the court believes it is inappropriate to further punish an offender.

  • Section 10 (1) (a)- dismissal with no conviction recorded
  • Section 10 (1) (b)- dismissal with no conviction on conditions set by the court. For example, not to commit an offence for a period of two years 
  • Section 10 (1) (c)- dismissal with no conviction on the condition that the offender enters into an intervention program. For example drug and alcohol counselling, traffic offenders program, etc. 

A section 10 is an acknowledgement of the court that you have committed an offence, however, the court is satisfied that it is out of character and you are unlikely to continue offending. It’s the court’s way of giving you a second chance.

Before granting a section 10, the court will consider:

  • Your driving record. No previous traffic offences in the past five years
  • Your character, antecedents, age, heath and mental condition
  • The trivial nature of the offence
  • Extenuating circumstances that lead to the offence being committed 
  • Any other matter the court considers relevant

Driving while licence suspended/disqualified

It is an offence to drive during a licence suspension or disqualification period. If you have appealed your licence suspension to the Local Court and the court dismisses the appeal, the suspension becomes a disqualification period.

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $3,300, imprisonment for 6 months and licence disqualification for 6 months for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is a fine of $5,500, imprisonment for 12 months and licence disqualification for 12 months.

If you are repeat drive while suspended or disqualified offender, a police officer also has the authority to confiscate your number plates or impound your vehicle.

Driving while licence suspended/disqualified

It is an offence to drive during a licence suspension or disqualification period. If you have appealed your licence suspension to the Local Court and the court dismisses the appeal, the suspension becomes a disqualification period.

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $3,300, imprisonment for 6 months and licence disqualification for 6 months for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is a fine of $5,500, imprisonment for 12 months and licence disqualification for 12 months.

If you are repeat drive while suspended or disqualified offender, a police officer also has the authority to confiscate your number plates or impound your vehicle.

Local and District Courts we attend:

Street Address: 368 Darling St
Postal address: PO Box 235 Burwood 1805
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax:
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Direct all enquiries to Burwood Local Court

Street Address: Cnr Chapel Road & The Mall
Postal address and email: PO Box 71 Bankstown NSW 2200 Email
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9722 6060
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 1 Kildare Rd
Postal address: PO Box 217 Blacktown NSW 2148
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9672 2666
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 7-9 Belmore St
Postal address: PO Box 235 Burwood 1805
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9744 4144
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: John Street
Postal address: PO Box 186 Camden NSW 2570
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: (02) 4657 3105
Registry Hours: 9:30 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 3:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30

Street Address: Railway St
Postal address: PO Box 91 Campbelltown NSW 2560
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 4629 9606
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Queen St
Postal address: PO Box 91 Campbelltown NSW 2560
Telephone: 4629 9777
Fax: 4629 9744
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 98 Liverpool St 
Postal address: PO Box 20495 World Square NSW 2000
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9264 3806
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Level 3 Downing Centre 143-147 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Postal address: PO Box A4 Sydney South 1235
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9287 7543
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Level 4 Downing Centre 143-147 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Postal address: PO Box A4 Sydney South 1235
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9287 7963
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Parramatta Court House 12 George Street Parramatta
Postal address: PO Box 92 Parramatta 2124
Telephone: 8688 4525
Fax: 8688 4913
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Cnr Spencer St & Court Rd
Postal address: PO Box 201 Fairfield NSW 2165
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9794 7979
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 294 Peats Ferry Rd
Postal address: PO Box 96 Hornsby 1630
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9847 9955
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 17 Montgomery Street
Postal address: C/- Sutherland PO Box 37 Sutherland NSW 22132
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax:
Registry Hours:
Telephone Hours:
Days open: All registry services are provided from Sutherland Local Court

Street Address: 150 George St
Postal address: PO Box 3435 Liverpool Westfields NSW 2170
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9821 7888
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 2 Belgrave Street
Postal address: PO Box 125 Manly NSW 1655
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9934 4545
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 59 North Parade
Postal address: PO Box 99 Mt Druitt NSW 2770
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9881 9188
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 222 Australia Street
Postal address: PO Box 575 Newtown NSW 2042
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9577 4040
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 12 George Street
Postal address: PO Box 92 Parramatta NSW 2124

District Court
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 8688 9602 (Criminal) 8688 9603 (Civil)
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon-Fri

Street Address: 2 George Street
Postal address: Locked Bag 5113 Parramatta NSW 2123
Telephone: 8688 1888
Fax: 8688 1999
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: 64-72 Henry Street
Postal address: PO Box 318 Penrith NSW 2751
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 4720 1555
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 -4:30
Days open: Mon-Fri

Street Address: 288 Windsor Street
Postal address: PO Box 9 Richmond NSW 2753
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax:
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30

Street Address: 814 Victoria Road
Postal address: PO Box 22 Ryde 1680
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax:
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: all registry enquiries are to be directed to Parramatta Local Court .

Street Address: 66-78 Albion Street
Postal address: PO Box K303 Haymarket NSW 1240
Telephone: 8667 2100
Fax: 8667 2130
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Street Address: Cnr Flora and Belmont Streets
Postal address: PO Box 37 Sutherland NSW 2232
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9542 0244
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

(formerly Level 5 Downing Centre)

 

Street Address: Level 4, John Maddison Tower, 86 Goulburn St
Postal address: PO Box K1026 Haymarket NSW 2000
Telephone: 1300 679 272
Fax: 9287 7188
Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
Days open: Mon - Fri

Disclaimer

The above is general legal information and should not be considered legal advice. Further fees, charges and other information are time-sensitive and correct as of the time of writing. These may change at any time and without notice. You should speak with one of our solicitors for legal advice tailored to your specific legal problem. The penalties listed are maximum penalties. The courts deal with matters on a case by case basis. It should also be noted that there may be court delays due to COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Yes. Anyone who appeals the licence suspension decision of a police officer or Transport for NSW must attend court. This provides both parties with the opportunity to put their case to the court.

Transport for NSW will send you a letter detailing your suspension to the address registered with them. If you move house, you are required to update your contact details with Service NSW within 14 days of moving. It is an offence not to update your details. If you are concerned about the status of your driver’s licence, you can review it online or in person through Service NSW.

Yes. Your insurer will take into consideration any licence suspension or disqualification you have incurred. You should contact your insurer to discuss how it impacts on your policy.

Seek legal advice immediately. If you are losing your driving privileges as a result of demerit points accumulation since 2017 your licence can be suspended with no right to appeal. This includes your right to a “12 months good behaviour”. Furthermore, once you receive your notice of “withdrawal of driving privileges in NSW” TfNSW will not allow you to transfer your licence back to NSW. Transferring your licence back to NSW before receiving the notice may entitle you to apply for 12 months good behaviour. Contact us now to ensure your transfer application is done correctly. This scenario is not exclusive to QLD licence and applies to all interstate driver licences and in some circumstances extends to international licenses.

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