What is License Suspension?

In New South Wales, license suspension can occur in two ways: immediate suspension by the police or by Service NSW (Transport for NSW). Let’s delve into the details of license suspension and understand the circumstances under which it can happen.

Immediate Suspension by Police

Q: When can the police immediately suspend your license?
A: The police can suspend your license on the spot for various reasons, including:

  • Serious Accidents: If you are involved in a serious accident causing death or grievous bodily harm.
  • Excessive Speeding: If you are caught speeding more than 45km/h over the speed limit (for full license holders) or 30km/h over the limit (for learners or provisional license holders).
  • Alcohol or Drug Offenses: If you are found driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA), under the influence of alcohol (DUI), or drugs.
  • Street Racing: If you engage in street racing or commit other hoon offenses.
  • Learner License Violations: If you drive without proper supervision while holding a learner’s license.

Q: What happens if the police suspend your license immediately?
A: If the police suspend your license on the spot, you won’t be allowed to drive away, and someone else must collect your vehicle. However, the police can also choose to suspend your license within 48 hours of charging or issuing a penalty notice.

Q: How long does the immediate suspension last?
A: The immediate suspension remains in place until your case is heard by a court, and the court may consider the time you spent on suspension.

Q: Can the police suspend your license for speeding caught by speed cameras?
A: No, if you are caught speeding by a speed camera, the police cannot suspend your license. You will receive a Notice of Suspension later from Transport for NSW.

License Disqualification

What is License Disqualification?

License disqualification is a different process, primarily administered by the court.

Q: When does the court impose license disqualification?
A: The court can disqualify your license as part of a sentence for certain traffic-related offenses. This means it only applies to offenses that are heard in front of a magistrate or judge.

Q: What are the consequences of license disqualification?
A: If the court disqualifies your license, you cannot drive until the disqualification period ends. Furthermore, your license will be cancelled, requiring you to apply for a new one after the disqualification period concludes.

Q: Can multiple disqualification periods overlap?
A: Typically, the court allows multiple disqualification periods to run concurrently. However, they can also order them to run consecutively, which would extend the time you are off the road.

Removing Disqualification

Q: Is it possible to have a license disqualification removed?
A: Yes, under certain circumstances, you can apply to have your license disqualification removed. You’ll need to meet eligibility requirements, which generally involve not committing any offenses within the last 2 to 4 years.

Q: Are there exceptions to this removal process?
A: Yes, if you have been convicted of serious driving offenses such as murder or manslaughter caused by a motor vehicle, offenses causing death or grievous bodily harm, predatory driving, and others listed under the Crimes Act 1900, you cannot apply for disqualification removal.

License Suspension vs. Disqualification

Q: What distinguishes license suspension from disqualification?
A: The key difference lies in who imposes the penalty. License suspension is imposed by the RMS or police. In contrast, license disqualification is imposed exclusively by the court as part of a sentence for specific traffic-related offenses.

Q: Can you appeal a license suspension?
A: Yes, if your license is suspended by the RMS or police, you can appeal the decision and apply to have your suspension lifted or varied by a court.

Q: What happens if you drive during a license suspension or disqualification?
A: Driving during a license suspension or disqualification is a serious offense. If you are caught, you may be charged with a criminal offense, potentially leading to the maximum penalties in the Local Court of NSW. At Buckley Lawyers, we specialize in traffic law and can provide you with free initial advice. If you have questions or need legal assistance, please contact us at (02) 9220 1737 to schedule a conference today. Understanding the difference between license suspension and disqualification is crucial to avoid legal consequences and ensure you can return to the road safely and legally.

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