Immediate Licence Suspension
Some ACT traffic offences attract immediate licence suspensions. This means that on charging a person with the offence, the police can suspend their licence, effective immediately. The licence suspension may subsequently be extended by a court when the offender finalising the charge.
Which offences attract immediate suspension?
If you hold a licence issued by the ACT Road Transport Authority, the police have the power to immediately suspend your licence in the following circumstances:
- If you hold an unrestricted licence and have been charged with a Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) offence and your blood alcohol concentration was above 0.100 grams of alcohol in 210L of breath;
- If you hold a Learner’s, Provisional, Probationary or Restricted licence and have been charged with a PCA offence and your blood alcohol concentration was above 0.05 grams of alcohol in 210L of breath;
- If you fail to stay for a screening test;
- If you refuse to undergo a screening test;
- If you refuse to provide a breath sample;
- If you refuse to undergo a blood test;
- If you have been charged with driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug;
- If you fail to stop amotor vehicle for police; or
- As the responsible person of a motor vehicle, you fail to provide details of the driver alleged to have failed to stop motor vehicle for police.
If you hold a licence in another jurisdiction and the above circumstances apply, the police can suspend your right to drive in the ACT.
What about my motorbike license?
If you receive an immediate suspension notice, and you have a licence to drive a motor vehicle and ride a motorbike, both your license to drive and your license to ride will be suspended.
You will also be prohibited from applying for another licence in the ACT while the notice is in effect.
When does my immediate police suspension finish?
An immediate suspension notice will cease to have an effect when one of the following occurs:
- 90 days pass since you received the notice;
- The court orders a stay on the notice;
- The charge is withdrawn or discontinued;
- The matter is determined by a court (dismissed, found not guilty, or proven and sentenced).
Can I apply for a stay of the suspension?
Yes, under section 61F of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999, you can apply to the ACT Magistrates Court for a stay of the suspension notice. If the Magistrate grants the order to stay the notice then your right to drive is no longer suspended.
An application for a stay must be lodged within 28 days of the immediate suspension notice.
The criteria for winning a stay are tough. You must show that there is an immediate need for a licence, and the need must be more than an inconvenience. For example, you require your licence for medical purposes or you require your licence to transport someone to medical appointments and public transport is not available to them.
Will my immediate suspension be taken into account when I’m sentenced?
If you are disqualified from driving by the court that sentences you, the period of licence suspension you have already served due to the immediate suspension must be deducted from the disqualification period imposed by the court. For example, if you were given an immediate suspension notice and, after serving two months of the notice you were then disqualified by the court for driving for 6 months, you will then have 4 months of your disqualification period left to serve. However, for this to occur, the Magistrate must be satisfied that the immediate suspension notice was complied with.
Interstate licence holders do not automatically get the benefit of a deduction from their disqualification period because their interstate licences were not suspended (only their right to drive in the ACT). However, should the Magistrate be provided with evidence that your ability to drive has been affected – for example, you live in NSW but work in the ACT, you can request to have the suspension period deducted from your disqualification period.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
WHERE TO NEXT?
In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.