14 October 2020

My licence is going to be suspended, what can I do?

 

You’ve got a letter from Transport for NSW saying you’re going to be suspended. What can you do? The law allows you, in certain circumstances, to lodge an appeal against this decision and have it determined in Court.

 

Why have they suspended me?

Transport for NSW may issue you with a notice of suspension of your driver licence for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • If you have reached or exceeded the demerit point limit on your licence within a period of three years;
  • If you exceed the speed limit by more than 45kms you will receive an automatic six-month suspension period;
  • If you exceed the speed limit by more than 30 kms per hour you will receive an automatic three-month suspension period; or
  • If you are the holder of a learner or a P1 licence and commit any speeding offence your licence will automatically be suspended for three months.

In certain circumstances you may have a right to appeal the decision of Transport for NSW to suspend your licence. Your notice of suspension will say if you have a right to appeal.

 

How do I appeal?        

If you have a right to appeal and you choose to appeal this decision, you must file your appeal within 28 days of the notice of your suspension. The date you must file your appeal by will be in the letter you received. You can file your appeal in one of two ways:

  1. By lodging the appeal online at lawlink.nsw.gov.au; or
  2. In person at any NSW Local Court.

There is a filing fee payable to the court for lodging the appeal. As at October 2020, the fee is $98.

Once you have lodged your appeal, you will be able to drive until your appeal is dealt with at court.

 

What happens after I have lodged the appeal?

Once you have lodged your appeal you will get a Court date. This Court date is when your appeal will be heard by a Magistrate.

When considering your appeal, the Court can take into account:

  • Your driving history, including how long you have held a licence for and any previous convictions for driving offences;
  • Your need for a driver’s licence, including the impact any loss of licence may have on your employment;
  • Any hardship you or your family may face as a result of the loss of your licence;
  • Whether there is sufficient public transport available to you;
  • Your character, you may bring with you some character references to demonstrate you are a person of good character; and
  • Whether you have completed a driver education course.

When considering your appeal, the Court cannot take into account whether you in fact committed the offence. However, they can take into account the circumstances of what happened. If the decision you are appealing was based on an offence committed, the court cannot consider whether or not you are innocent of that offence.

 

What can happen at Court?

After hearing your case, the Magistrate may exercise their powers in a number of ways:

  • Allow your appeal: this means that you will not spend any time off the road. However, this also means any demerit points you have accrued can still be taken into account and may contribute to future periods of suspension.
  • Vary the period of suspension: the court has the discretion to vary the period of suspension as they see fit.
  • Dismiss your appeal: the court will confirm the period of suspension imposed by Transport for NSW. This will typically start from the day of Court, or in some circumstances, shortly after.

 

Whilst such appeals should be straightforward, they are often filled with complexities, which can have big impacts on people’s licences. It is always best to get legal advice tailored to your situation and personal circumstances.