Speeding & Licence Appeals

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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...

Licence & Speeding Appeals (NSW)


In New South Wales, some decisions in respect of licensing and speeding can be appealed while other types of decisions cannot be appealed. This article outlines which decisions are and are not appellable and the process for initiating licence and speeding appeals.

Which decisions can be appealed?

The following decisions of the RMS (RTA) and police can be appealed in the Local Court:

  • A decision by the RMS (RTA) to suspend your licence for exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 or more than 45 kilometres an hour
  • A decision by the RMS (RTA) to suspend a P1 or P2 provisional driver’s licence for loss of demerit points
  • A decision by the police to suspend your licence (on the spot) for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45 kilometres an hour

Which decisions can’t be appealed?

The following licence and speeding decisions can’t be appealed:

  • A decision by the RMS (RTA) to suspend an unrestricted drivers licence for loss of demerit points.
  • A decision by the RMS (RTA) to suspend your interlock drivers licence.
  • Where a driver on a good behavior bond licence breaches the good behavior bond. However changes to the law and the accumulation of demerit points provide some hope.

Section 10 dismissal

The RMS (RTA) is not to impose demerit points where a court orders that a person not be convicted of a traffic offence under Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act. This means that you can elect to take a traffic infringement notice to court and ask the court not to convict you. If you are successful in persuading the court to order a section 10 you will not accumulate demerit points for the traffic offence and therefore your licence will not be suspended.

Speeding & Licence appeals – excessive speed suspension appeals

A person whose licence is suspended by the RMS (and not by the police) because they exceeded the speed limit by either 30 or 45 kilometres an hour can appeal to the Local Court. The decision of the court is final and binding on you and the RMS (RTA).

The court can either:

  • Allow your appeal (this means that you keep your licence)
  • Disallow your appeal (this means that you will be suspended for the time set by the RMS (RTA))
  • Reduce the suspension period

There is no single test that the court applies when deciding the appeal. However, the court does not permit a review of your guilt or innocence of the offence or the imposition of the fine. Generally, the court will make a decision based on 3 main areas:

  • The circumstances of the offence
  • Your traffic record/character
  • Your need for a licence

Lodge your appeal quickly

You only have 28 days after receiving the letter from the RMS notifying you of the suspension to lodge your appeal. The law assumes that you received the letter 4 working days after it is posted (even if that is not the case in fact). Generally, the last day to lodge the appeal is the day before the suspension is due to start.

If you do not lodge your application in time the court cannot hear your appeal, and you must serve the suspension. Once you lodge an appeal you are able to continue to drive until your appeal is heard.

P1 and P2 Provisional Licence Suspension appeal

Where a provisional P1 licence holder incurs 4 or more demerit points, the RMS may suspend their licence. Where a provisional P2 licence holder incurs 7 demerit or more points the RMS) may suspend their licence. The RMS decision to suspend in each case can be appealed to the Local Court.

The decision of the court is final and binding on you and the RMS.

The court can either:

  • Allow your appeal (this means that you keep your licence)
  • Disallow your appeal (this means that you will be suspended for the time set by the RMS)
  • Reduce the suspension period

There is no single test that the court applies when deciding the appeal. However, the court does not permit review of your guilt or innocence of the offence or the imposition of the fine. Generally the court will make a decision based on 3 main areas:

  • The circumstances of the offence
  • Your traffic record/character
  • Your need for a licence

Lodging your appeal

You only have 28 days after receiving the letter from the RMS notifying you of the suspension to lodge your appeal. The law assumes that you received the letter four working days after it is posted (even if that is not the case in fact). Generally the last day to lodge the appeal is the day before the suspension is due to start.

If you do not lodge your application in time the court cannot hear your appeal, and you must serve the suspension.

When A Police Officer Suspends Your Licence

A police officer has the power to issue you with a suspension notice if you have been served with a penalty notice or been charged with the offence of exceeding the speed limit by more than 45 kilometres per hour or exceeding the speed limit by 30 kilometres per hour if you are a provisional licence holder. The suspension notice remains in force suspending your licence for 6 months.

You can lodge an appeal against the police officer’s decision to issue the suspension notice at the Local Court. The court can either:

  • Allow your appeal (this means that you keep your licence)
  • Disallow your appeal (this means that you will be suspended for the time set by the RMS)
  • Make an order as to the court seems just.

Speeding & Licence Appeals: What you have to prove

To be successful in your licence appeal you must show exceptional circumstances justifying a lifting or variation of the suspension. When determining whether exceptional circumstances exist the court is to take into account the following:

  • The strength of the prosecution evidence
  • Your need for a licence
  • The potential danger to the community if an order is made
  • Any other matter the Local Court considers to be relevant.

You only have 28 days from the date of issue of the suspension notice to lodge your appeal.

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

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