Drive Whilst Suspended


It is an offence under the Road Safety Act to drive whilst suspended. There are two sections under which offending behaviour may be charged.

Under section 30AA, it is an offence to drive a vehicle on a road or road related area whilst your licence is suspended because of unpaid fines.

Under section 30, it is an offence to drive a vehicle on a road or road related area after your licence has been suspended by a court or VicRoads.

To be found guilty of an offence under this section, the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  1. Drove a motor vehicle on a road or road related area;
  2. Whilst your licence was suspended.

Penalties

If you are found guilty of an offence against section 30AA

The maximum penalty is a fine of 10 penalty units. There are no minimum or maximum periods a court can disqualify you from driving. The court may record a conviction against you.

In addition, the court can cancel your licence (if you still have one) and disqualify you from getting a licence for a further period of time. There is no limit on this period. You cannot get a licence to drive to work or some other special permit.

If you are found guilty of an offence against section 30

The maximum penalty for an offence against section 30 depends on whether it is a first or a repeat offence. The court may record a conviction against you.

For a first offence: the maximum penalty is 4 months imprisonment or a fine of 30 penalty units.

For a repeat offence: the maximum penalty is 4 months imprisonment or a fine of 30 penalty units.

In addition, the court can cancel your licence (if you still have one) and disqualify you from getting a licence for a further period of time. There is no limit on this period. You cannot get a licence to drive to work or some other special permit. For offences against section 30, the court can also order VicRoads to cancel the registration of the vehicle that the offence was committed in, and not register the vehicle for a further period of time.

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 your licence was suspended. For example, this might be because you were not notified by VicRoads. In order to successfully raise the defence you have to prove that your belief that you were not disqualified from driving was both honest and reasonably held.

In Victoria, the court can still disqualify you even if it is satisfied that you did not know you were suspended at the time of the offence and finds you not guilty. The court may order that you serve the entire original period of suspension or the period until you became aware you were suspended, whichever is earlier.

 

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.

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