Can I Drive once my Disqualification Period has Expired?

by Ugur Nedim

When your licence disqualification period expires, you are not permitted to drive until you have attended the Roads and Maritime Services (the ‘RMS’, previously called the RTA) and re-issued with a fresh licence.

This is the case even if you were not ordered to surrender your licence in court.

If you are not re-issued with a fresh licence and are caught driving, you can be charged with ‘driving whilst licence cancelled’ which attracts the following harsh penalties:

  • minimum of 12 months disqualification and $3,300 if its your first ‘major traffic offence’ within the last 5 years, or more commonly
  • minimum of 2 years disqualification and $5,500 if its your second or more ‘major traffic offence’ within the last 5 years.

If you are charged with ‘driving whilst licence cancelled’, you should immediately attend the RMS and re-apply for your licence.

When your matter comes to Court, you should tell the Magistrate that you honestly thought you could simply drive once the disqualification expired; in other words, that you were not aware that you had to re-apply for a fresh licence.

The Magistrate may exercise his or her discretion under a ‘section 10 dismissal or conditional release order‘ not to convict you; which means that you will not receive a licence disqualification or fine.

Your chances of getting a non conviction order will be higher if you were not ordered to surrender you licence when you were disqualified and you physically had your (cancelled) licence when you drove, especially if the expiry period on the face of the licence was still current when you drove.

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Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with over 20 years of experience as a criminal defence lawyer. He is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

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