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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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 finalises the charge.

Which offences attract immediate suspension?

The police have the power to immediately suspend your licence:

  • 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 0.1;
  • If you hold a Learner, Provisional, Probationary or Restricted licence and have been charged with a PCA offence and your blood alcohol concentration was above 0.05;
  • 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 a motor vehicle for police; or
  • As the person responsible for a motor vehicle, you fail to provide details of the driver alleged to have failed to stop the 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 licence?

If you receive an immediate suspension notice, and you have a licence to drive a motor vehicle and ride a motorbike, both your licence to drive and your licence 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 license 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 (delay) on the notice;
  • The charge is withdrawn or discontinued;
  • The matter is determined by a court, when either the charge is dismissed, the person is found not guilty, or the charge is proven and the person is sentenced.

Can I apply for a stay of the licence suspension?

Yes, under section 61F of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999, you can apply to the 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 take 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, 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. However, for this to occur, the magistrate must be satisfied that the immediate suspension notice was complied with.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal. 

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