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Licence Appeals

Licence Suspension Appeals

In NSW a persons drivers licence can be suspended by the Police or by the RMS. Police suspensions are immediate and usually follow a serious driving charge or a drink driving charge. An RMS licence suspension is sent to a licence holder when they have either exceeded their demerit point threshold, or if they have been fined for exceeding the speed limit by either 30km/h or 45km/h. In most cases a licence appeal can be lodged and a court may determine that you can continue to drive.

Not all suspensions can be appealed and some are more difficult to appeal than others. All licence appeals have two things in common:

  • There is limited time in which you can lodge an appeal – usually 28 days from when you receive the suspension notice.
  • You cannot appeal once the 28 days has lapsed so seek legal advice immediately.
  • Driving while suspended is a serious offence and can result in fines, imprisonment, and losing your licence for an even longer period of time. Don’t drive – seek legal advice immediately.

Which suspensions can be appealed

  • On the spot suspensions issued by police (usually relating to excessive speed or drink driving)
  • RMS suspensions for going 30km/h or more than 45km/h over the limit
  • RMS suspensions of P1 or P2 licences for exceeding the demerit point limit

Which suspensions cannot be appealed?

  • RMS suspensions of good behaviour licences
  • RMS suspensions of unrestricted licences for exceeding the demerit point limit

Although you cannot appeal the suspension of an unrestricted licence for loss of demerit points you can keep your licence if you have the charges dismissed or dealt with as a Community Release Order (CRO) without conviction (previously known as a Section 10)

Can I get a good behaviour licence?

If you are suspended for incurring too many demerit points, you can apply to the RMS to be placed on a good behaviour licence for one year instead of being suspended. This means you have only two points for a year. If you lose these two points you will automatically be suspended for double the original suspension period.

There is no way to appeal the suspension imposed from breaching a good behaviour licence, however you can plead not guilty to the offences which caused you to breach the good behaviour condition. If the court dismisses the charges without recording a conviction then you will not lose any points and will retain your good behaviour licence.

How do you prepare for a licence suspension appeal

Marsh Blom Lawyers have appeared in hundreds of licence appeals. We ensure each matter is thoroughly prepared and that we are aware of all of your personal circumstances that may assist your appeal.  If you are eligible to appeal the process is generally:

  • Drafting a notice of appeal and lodging this at court
  • Advising you when and at which court your appeal will be heard
  • Ensuring that you enrol in a traffic offenders program if required
  • Working with you to obtain all the information that we need about you, your matter, and your need for a licence.
  • Checking your character references to ensure they are appropriate
  • Drafting detailed submissions for the court
  • Preparation of your references and any other material to be handed to the court

What happens at a licence suspension appeal

One of our experienced lawyers will meet you at court on the morning your appeal is to be heard. They will explain the process to you in detail including how you need to behave in court, where to sit, when to stand, and how to address the court if you are asked a question.  With a lawyer representing you it is unlikely that you will need to speak in court.

When your matter is ready to proceed the prosecutor will hand the Magistrate all the documents that relate to your suspension. This will include your traffic record and copies of the infringement notices which have resulted in the suspension. Your lawyer will hand the Magistrate your references and anything else that we believe will support your appeal.

Then your lawyer and the prosecutor each address the Magistrate on why your suspension should or shouldn’t be reduced or set aside entirely. At the end of that process the Magistrate will make a determination about what will happen. It’s important to note that the Magistrates decision is final and cannot be appealed. For that reason it is important to obtain legal advice before deciding to represent yourself in a licence appeal.

What can the court do in a suspension appeal

The court can exercise one of three options in determining your licence appeal

  • Dismiss your appeal – meaning you serve the suspension period
  • Allow your appeal – meaning you avoid the suspension period
  • Reduce or vary the period of suspension

If you are P1 or P2 licence holder facing a demerit points suspension there is an important difference between having your appeal allowed or varied. If it is allowed you can continue to drive immediately however the points you incurred remain on your licence. If it is varied or reduced, those points are no longer taken into consideration once you get your licence back. Your lawyer can explain this to you in more detail.

How does the court determine a licence appeal

The matters that a court takes into consideration depend on the type of licence suspension that you have appealed.  Broadly speaking, there are two distinct ‘tests’. One for all RMS licence suspensions and one for immediate police suspensions.

RMS licence suspension appeals

Appeals against the decision of the RMS to suspend a drivers licence are the most common type of licence suspension appeal. In determining whether to vary, allow, or dismiss and appeal the court considers the following things:

  • If you are a fit and proper person to hold a licence
  • Your need for a licence
  • Your traffic history
  • Your character and personal circumstances

Immediate police suspensions

Appeals against an immediate police suspension are significantly more difficult to challenge. To vary or set aside the suspension the court must be satisfied that there are “exceptional circumstances”. That means that there must be something about your circumstances that is not common or usual.

If you have received an immediate police suspension contact us and speak to one of our lawyers about your circumstances. We offer a free 30 minute consultation and can advise you about the likely success of your appeal.

What should I do now?

If you suspect you’re going to be suspended, or have received a notice of suspension, contact us now. Our specialist traffic lawyers can advise you what to do now to ensure you are in the best position to successfully appeal your licence suspension. Our lawyers appear in all courts across NSW and can help you keep your licence.

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