Having your driving licence suspended can cause a lot of inconvenience, especially if you need to drive to work, or to drop your children off at school or need a licence for work purposes.
Even the simplest of everyday things, such as grocery shopping or catching up with friends, can be extremely difficult if you’re not allowed to get behind the wheel.
If you have been suspended, you may be tempted to drive regardless, but it is important to be aware of the possible consequences if you are caught driving while suspended in NSW.
There are a number of difference circumstances that can lead to your licence being suspended, including the accumulation of demerit points, an on-the-spot police suspension, a court issued suspension, and non-payment of fines.
If Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has suspended your licence on the basis of demerit points, you will receive notification in the mail.
It is important to keep the RMS updated with your address details.
Failing to update your address is not considered a valid reason for driving while suspended.
If your licence is suspended as a result of being pulled over for mid or high range drink driving or another traffic offence, the magistrate or judge will advise you during sentencing of any period of disqualification.
A disqualification can only be imposed by the court whereas a suspension can be due to demerit points or by speeding by over 30kp/h or by police charging you with a mid or high range drink driving offence.
It is important to take note of the exact length of the suspension or disqualification, and the date you will be allowed to drive again, so that you don’t make a mistake that can lead to further suspension or disqualification.
Penalties for driving without a licence
The penalties for driving while suspended in NSW vary, depending on whether it is your first offence or not.
If it is your first offence within a five-year period, you may be liable for up to $3,300 in fines and a mandatory disqualification period of 12 months.
If it is your second or subsequent major traffic offence within a five-year period, the penalties will increase to a maximum fine of $5,500, and a mandatory disqualification period of two years.
Being caught and convicted of driving while suspended if you are on a learner licence or provisional licence also has consequences, and will set you back from graduating through the different licence stages.
When you are able to resume driving, you will need to stay on your current licence for the period of disqualification.
If you are found guilty of driving while suspended, you may be required to start from the beginning for the class of licence you held before the suspension.
If you are found driving while your licence is suspended, you will end up with a criminal conviction on your record, which can have far ranging implications for your future, unless your criminal lawyer is able to convince the court to give you a ‘section 10’ which means no conviction or disqualification.
A clean criminal record forms part of the criteria for many occupations, particularly in nursing, childcare or the security industry.
Convictions for driving while suspended can therefore put your job or career prospects in jeopardy, and can even make it difficult to travel or migrate to certain countries.
If you have been charged with a serious traffic offence, such as driving while suspended in NSW, it is a good idea to seek advice from a criminal lawyer who is experienced in successfully handling traffic cases.
Having a good lawyer to argue your case can help to reduce the chances of you receiving a severe penalty, and a criminal conviction, which can affect your life well into the future.