Driving While Suspended

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a public road after notification their licence has been suspended.  The police may suspend a licence upon charging someone with a prescribed offence (for eg. driving with a mid range PCA or exceeding the speed limit by 45km/h) or the RTA (RMS) will suspend licences under the demerit points scheme or following a camera-detected speeding offence.  If the court records a conviction for the offence then the court must disqualify you from holding a licence for the mantatory period.  That period of disqualification usually begins at the end of the current suspension period.

The penalties are:

Maximum court imposed fine: 1st offence - $3,300; subsequent offence - $5,500

Maximum gaol term: 1st offence - 18 months; subsequent offence - 2 years

Disqualification period:

1st offence - minimum 12 months; maximum - unlimited

Subsequent offence - minimum - 2 years; maximum - unlimited

Most people require a driver licence for their work or daily responsibilities and keeping their licence is their primary concern. A court that is properly advised may exercise its discretion not to record a conviction (section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing procedure) Act 1999). Not only will that result in the offender not incurring a fine or other penalty, it also means that their driver licence cannot be disqualified.

A defence for this offence is the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact.  If you did not know that you had been suspended from holding your licence then you cannot be guilty of the offence.

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