Drive while suspended

The offence of drive whilst suspended is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road after their licence has been suspended by the RMS (RTA) or police.

Regardless of how bad your traffic record is, the court has a discretion whether to record a conviction against you for the offence. If the court decides not to record a conviction, you will not be disqualified from driving. Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 allows a court that finds a person guilty of an offence the discretion not to impose a conviction against them.

If the court decides to convict you of the offence, it will disqualify you for the automatic disqualification period unless it orders a shorter or longer period of disqualification (but not shorter than the minimum disqualification period).

Likely Penalties for a Suspended Driving Charge

The following statistics for a suspended driving charge have been obtained from the Judicial Commission and were accurate as at March 2017. The statistics show sentencing trends for suspended driver charges and are to be used as a guide only.

No# of Cases 8323
Section 10 Dismissal 330
Section 10 Bond 2206
Section 10A 117
Fine 4889
Good Behaviour Bond 614
Suspend Sentence 54
Community Service Order 76
Intensive Corrections Order 8
Home Detention 2
Full-time jail 27


Penalties the court can impose for a suspended driver charge.
The following penalties apply once the court decides that it intends to record a conviction against you:

1st Offence Drive While Suspended

  • A maximum fine of $3,300.00
  • An automatic disqualification period of 6 months
  • A Minimum disqualification period of 3 months
  • A maximum jail term of 6 months

2nd or Subsequent Offence within 5 Years

  • A maximum fine of $3,300.00
  • An automatic disqualification period of 12 months
  • A Minimum disqualification period of 6 months
  • A maximum jail term of 12 months

Possible Defences

The most common defence for this offence is the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact. You must give evidence that you were unaware at the time of driving that you were either cancelled or suspended because you were not notified by the RMS (RTA). In order to successfully raise the defence you have to prove that your belief that you were not cancelled or suspended was both honest and reasonably held.


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.


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