Driving unlicensed, suspended or disqualified in NSW

Published: 12th October 2011
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If you do not possess a valid driver's license, whether you are suspended, disqualified, or simply never qualified for one,it is illegal for you to drive.

There are several similar offences dealing with driving without being properly licensed in New South Wales.

It is important to note that the maximum and minimum penalties set out below can change as a result of the habitual offender legislation (which may result in more severe penalties) and section 10 appeals (which may enable penalties to be reduced, modified or waived).

Driving while never having held an Australian license

Driving while never having held a licence in Australia (Section 25(2) of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998)

>> This charge applies if someone drives having not held a driver's licence in Australia for the previous five years.

>> Different provisions apply for drivers who have held an Australian licence during this five year period.

Driving unlicenced - held license in last 5 years

Driving while unlicensed, having held a licence in Australia in the past 5 years (Section 25(1) of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998):

>> This will be the charge faced by someone who drives having recently failed to renew their licence.

>> If the offender does not hold a licence due to a disqualification, suspension or cancellation different provisions will apply.

Driving while license disqualified / suspended / cancelled

Driving while licence is disqualified, suspended or cancelled (Section 25A(1), (2) and (3) of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998)

>> Disqualified driving occurs when you have been disqualified by a court from holding or obtaining a driver's licence.

>> Driving while suspended most commonly happens when someone drives during an RTA imposed suspension, including a suspension arising out of the accrual of demerit points.It does not include a suspension arranged by the State Debt Recovery Office - this is covered separately later.

>> Driving during a licence cancellation is also a separate charge, although current penalties are identical to those for driving while disqualified or suspended.

>> If you believe you have not receive the required notification of any past disqualification, suspension or cancellation you should notify your solicitors immediately as a reasonable misapprehension about the status of your licence may be a defence to a charge of this nature.

Driving unlicensed - non-payment of outstanding fines

Driving while licence is suspended under the Fines Act for non-payment of outstanding fines (Section 25A(3A) of the Road Transport (Driver Licencing) Act 1998)

The State Debt Recovery Office has the power to suspend a driver's licence where an enforcement order is outstanding beyond the due date.They have this power even if the fines in question were not related to traffic matters.

>> You are required to be notified of any suspension of this nature, and it may be a defence if you are reasonably unaware of the suspension.

For this particular type of offence however,the legislation requires that the court must take into account the effect the penalty or period of disqualification will have on the personís employment or ability to pay any outstanding fine.

If you are interested to know something more on Driving Unlicensed and other details,you are welcome to the Traffic Lawyer site.

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