If you are unhappy with a decision made by the RMS or police to suspend your licence, you can elect to take the case to court in order get your licence back or have your suspension period reduced.
This is known as a driver licence appeal.
You normally only get one chance at a driver licence appeal, so it’s important to ensure that you are being represented by experienced traffic lawyers with a proven track record of winning these cases.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers is vastly experienced at appealing and winning driver licence appeals.
We will be able to provide you with accurate advice regarding your prospects of a successful appeal, guide you on obtaining materials to put you in the best position in court and fight for the optimal outcome.
If you have elected to take your matter to court or are considering doing so, call us anytime on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a consultation during which one of our expert lawyers will advise you of your options and the best way forward.
Which decisions can be appealed?
The following decisions can be appealed:
- A decision by the RMS to suspend your licence for speeding by more than 30 kph or more than 45 kph
- A decision by the RMS to suspend a provisional (red or green P) licence due to loss of demerit points
- A decision by police to suspend your licence on the spot – for example, mid or high range drink driving, driving under the influence (DUI), street racing, aggravated burnout, speeding by more than more than 45kph or a driving offence causing death or grievous bodily harm. In these cases, exceptional circumstances need to be shown.
- Where you have a full licence and wish to plead ‘not guilty’ to the offence that caused the demerit points suspension
- Where you have a full licence and wish to plead ‘guilty’ to the offence that caused the demerit points suspension, but your lawyer is requesting that the matter be dealt with by way of a ‘section 10 dismissal or conditional release order’ – i.e. where you are found guilty of the offence but no conviction is recorded.
The following decisions cannot be appealed:
- A decision to suspend full licence holders for loss of demerit points
- A decision to suspend an interlock drivers licence
- Where you are on a good behaviour licence and you accrue further demerit points
Should I appeal because I'm not guilty or because I'm guilty but want to keep my licence?
If you are facing a licence suspension, you will need to decide whether you wish to plead not guilty to the offence (eg speeding) that led to your suspension, whether you wish to accept the offence and push for a more leniently penalty, or whether you wish to accept the offence and the penalty altogether.
Pleading not guilty to the offence
If you believe the police or RMS or police got it wrong and you did not commit the offence, you can appeal on the basis that you are not guilty.
In that event, your case will be listed for a short court date (known as a ‘mention’) where you can either confirm your not guilty plea or change your plea to guilty.
If you maintain your not guilty plea, your case will be set down for a ‘hearing’ where the magistrate will hear from both sides before determining whether or not you are guilty of the offence.
It is important to bear in mind that the prosecution bears the onus of proving the offence, and that a valid legal defence may be available to you.
Offences may be disputed on the basis that:
- You made an ‘honest and reasonable mistake of fact’ (eg you honestly believed on reasonable grounds that you weren’t speeding),
- Someone forced you to commit the act (duress),
- You committed the act out of necessity (eg you were speeding to hospital due to your or someone else’s serious medical situation),
- You weren’t the person driving (mistaken identity),
- You did not commit the offence at all (eg the officer’s ‘estimate of speed’ was wrong, or the radar device was not properly calibrated).
If the prosecution is unable to prove the offence, you must be found not guilty and the suspension – or the demerit points that lead to a suspension as the case may be – will be revoked.
If the offence is proved, you will be found guilty and the magistrate will decide the appropriate penalty.
Accepting the offence
If you agree that you committed the offence but feel the suspension is too harsh, you can choose to appeal the Notice of Suspension.
It is important you do this within the prescribed time period of 28 days.
You will then be given a court date during which you (or your lawyer on your behalf) will be able to explain to the magistrate why you should be treated leniently.
The magistrate has the power under section 268(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013 to revoke the suspension altogether, to vary the suspension (down to as low as one day), to confirm the suspension or to make any other ‘such other order as seems just to the Court in the circumstances’.
I've appealed my Notice of Suspension. What will the court take into account?
The court has the power to consider a wide range of circumstances when deciding whether to uphold or refuse your appeal. These include:
- The circumstances of the particular offence
- Your driving record
- Your need for a licence
- Your remorse
- Your character
- Any steps you have taken to reduce the likelihood of reoffending
The court may also consider your payment of the fine as evidence that you have accepted responsibility and incurred some expense as a result of your conduct.
Materials which can assist you during your licence appeal include:
- Character references, especially those which explain your need for a licence to work, to care for those you are responsible for or for any other reasons
- A letter of apology explaining the offence and your acceptance of responsibility
- Documents such as employment contracts which suggest you will be unable to work if you lose your licence
- Any attendance at a traffic offender program
You (or your lawyer on your behalf) will be able to use these materials to present your case as persuasively as possible.
Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.
Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.
Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.
We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.
Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
Highest Level of Client Satisfaction
We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.
Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.
We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.
We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm
We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.
The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.
We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.
Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
Free First Appointment
For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.
We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
Specialist Lawyer Guarantee
We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.
This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
All NSW Courts
From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.
And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.
All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.
An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.
Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.
Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
Results-Focused Law Firm
Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.
The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.
Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.
No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.
The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
Team of Lawyers Behind You
Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.
Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.
A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.
In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
Familiar with Magistrates and Judges
Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.
Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
- the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
- Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
- Parramatta, near the justice precinct.
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.