P1, P2 and Learner Licence Suspensions
A llicence suspension can take a toll on the whole family, especially when parents would spend their evenings and weekends driving their teenage children to and from school, sports and social engagements.
Transport for NSW has 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. 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.
Appealing a suspension
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 by Transport for NSW. 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 and 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 either:
- allow the appeal (i.e. the driver gets to keep their licence);
- dismiss the appeal (i.e. the driver must serve the three-month suspension); or
- vary the suspension (i.e. reduce the period of suspension).
Driving while suspended
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 $3300 in fines and/or an 18 months’ imprisonment. Upon conviction, the court must impose the automatic disqualification period of 12 months. A criminal conviction, the penalty imposed by the court and long disqualification periods can place a huge burden on those charged, especially for teenagers and young adults on their provisional licence.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.