Licence Suspensions (WA)
In Western Australia, a person can have their driver’s license suspended if they have failed to pay an infringement or a court-imposed fine for driving offences. Driving while suspended is an offence that attracts different penalties depending on the way the licence was suspended. This article outlines the law with regard to licence suspensions in WA.
Licence Suspension Orders
A driver in WA can receive a Licence Suspension Order if they have failed to pay an infringement or a court-imposed fine for a driving offence. When a person receives a License Suspension Order, their driver’s licence remains suspended until they:
- Pay the fine;
- Apply for a time to pay arrangement;
- Apply to the Fines Enforcement Register to have the order cancelled;
- Make an election to dispute the infringement in court;
- Apply to the court to have the order set aside.
Driving under licence suspensions
If a person drives while a Licence Suspension Order is in place against them, they are committing a criminal offence under section 49 of the Road Traffic Act. However, if a person is charged with driving under a suspension order and they did not know that they had been issued a Licence Suspension Order, they may rely on the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact.
Penalties for driving after licence suspensions
If a person is found guilty of driving while not licensed to do so and it is their first offence, they face a fine of 6 penalty units. If it is their second or subsequent offence, they face a fine of 12 penalty units.
If a person is found guilty of driving after their license has been suspended because of unpaid fines, they face a fine of between 4 and 30 penalty units and imprisonment for up to 12 months as well as disqualification from driving for up to 3 years.
If a person is found guilty of driving after their licence has been suspended or disqualified for another reason, they face a fine of between 8 and 40 penalty units and imprisonment for up to 12 months if it is their first offence. If it is their second or subsequent offence, they face a fine of between 20 and 80 penalty units and imprisonment for up to 18 months as well as disqualification from driving for between 9 months and 3 years.
A police officer in WA may serve a driver with an immediate Disqualification Notice in some circumstances. One a Disqualification Notice is served, the driver may not hold or apply for a license for a period of two months unless the Notice is revoked. Immediate Disqualification Notices in WA are known as immediate license suspensions in other states.
A person may be given a Disqualification Notice for:
- Driving with a blood alcohol content of over 0.08 (mid-range drink driving);
- Driving with a blood alcohol content of over 0.15 (high range drink driving);
- Refusing to provide a breath or blood sample.
A Disqualification Notice can be revoked if the recipient applies to a Magistrates Court setting out the exceptional circumstances that justify the revocation of the Notice.
If a person is found guilty by a court and a period of disqualification from driving is imposed, this period will be backdated to the date the Disqualification Notice was issued.
If a person drives after receiving a Disqualification Notice, they may be charged with driving while disqualified and the vehicle used may be impounded.
If you require legal advice or representation in relation to licence suspensions or in any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.