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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...

Drive Whilst Suspended


It is an offence under the Road Safety Act 1986 to drive whilst suspended. 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. 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.

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

  • drove a motor vehicle on a road or road related area;
  • while 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 in which the offence was committed, 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.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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