P1, P2 and Learner Licence Suspensions - For Offenders and Parents
A licence suspension can take a toll on the whole family, even where only months before parents would spend their evenings and weekends driving their teenage children to and from school, sports and social engagements.
The RMS have several powers to suspend a provisional drivers licence. The most common examples are:
- Learner or P1 drivers committing any speeding offence (as speeding offences incur 4 points, as a minimum, for any provisional driver);
- Learner or P1 drivers committing a mobile phone offence (as the offence incurs 4 points, as a minimum, for any provisional driver);
- P1 drivers otherwise exceeding their 4 demerit point limit;
- P2 drivers exceeding their 7 demerit point limit;
- Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30km/h; or
- A determination that they are medically unfit to hold a licence or that they are not a ‘fit and proper’ person to hold a licence.
A typical licence suspension will last for three months, however it can be longer for more serious speeding offences, if there is a combination of offences or if the demerit point limit is exceeded significantly.
A suspension can be appealed to the Local Court. This must be done within 28 days of receiving the notice of suspension and cannot be filed out of time.
Once an application is filed a court date will be allocated whereby a Local Court Magistrate will review the decision of the RMS. The Magistrate will take into account the circumstances they consider appropriate in determining the appeal. Typically, the court will be guided by:
- The circumstances of the offence;
- The need to promote and ensure public safety on the roads by allowing the RMS to suspend driving privileges of unsafe drivers;
- How long the person has held a licence;
- The person’s traffic record;
- Any education or rehabilitation programs completed; and
- The person’s personal circumstances and need for a licence.
The Magistrate will usually be provided with evidence from an RMS Prosecutor, evidence from the appellant (i.e. the provisional driver) and will hear arguments from the prosecutor and the Solicitor appearing for the provisional driver, or if they are unrepresented, the driver themselves.
- After reading and hearing all the evidence and submissions, the Magistrate will make a decision and has the following options:
- Allowing the appeal (i.e. the driver gets to keep their licence);
- Dismissing the appeal (i.e. the driver must serve the three month suspension); or
- Varying the suspension (i.e. reducing the period of suspension).
If a provisional driver is caught driving while suspended it’s very likely they will be charged with a criminal offence and issued with a court attendance notice. The offence carries a maximum sentence of $3,300 in fines and/or an 18 months’ imprisonment. Upon conviction, the court must impose the automatic disqualification period of 12 months.
Most Police cars are fitted with automatic licence plate scanners resulting in more and more charges for people driving without valid licences. A criminal conviction, the penalty imposed by the court and lengthy disqualification periods can place a huge burden on those charged, especially for teenagers and young adults only on their provisional licence.
We recommend exploring all available options before making a decision. Our team of Criminal and Traffic Lawyers are here to answer questions and provide you with advice about the options available to you and your family.
Whether you an offender or the parent give us a call on 1300 038 223 to discuss your matter.
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.