Driving whilst Unlicensed/Suspended/Disqualified

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What is Driving whilst Unlicensed/Suspended/Disqualified ?

Driving whilst without a licence, or whilst your licence is cancelled, suspended or disqualified is a serious offence for which there are significant penalties and periods of disqualification from driving. See section 53(1), section 53(3); or section 54 of the Road Transport Act 2013 NSW

The Law
Driving whilst disqualified
Driving whilst disqualified is an offence under section 54(1) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

The offence of driving whilst disqualified covers:

those who drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area whilst their licence is disqualified, and

those who make an application for a driver’s licence whilst their licence is disqualification and state their name falsely or fail to mention that their licence is disqualified

Driving whilst cancelled,

Driving whilst cancelled is an offence under section 54(4) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW). However, if your licence was cancelled due to non-payment of fines, you will be charged under section 54(5)(b) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

The offence of driving whilst cancelled covers:

those who drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area whilst their licence is cancelled, and

those who make an application for a driver’s licence whilst their licence is cancelled and state their name falsely or fail to mention that their licence is cancelled.

Driving whilst suspended

Driving whilst suspended is an offence under section 54(3) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW). However, if your licence was suspended due to non-payment of fines, you will be charged under section 54(5)(a) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

The offence of driving whilst suspended covers:

those who drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area whilst their licence is suspended, and

those who make an application for a driver’s licence whilst their licence is suspended and state their name falsely or fail to mention that their licence is suspended.

Driving whilst Never licensed

The offence under section 53(3) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) states that a person has never been licensed in connection with an offence if the person has not held a driver licence of any kind in Australia for the period of at least 5 years immediately before the commission of the offence.
Driving with a cancelled or suspended licence under the Fines Act 1996 (NSW)
If you were driving with a suspended or cancelled licence under the fines act of 1996, the potential periods of disqualification are different for the first offence. Rather than a 12-month minimum disqualification, the minimum disqualification is only three months.

If you are charged with A DRIVING Offence what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Driving charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of the offence. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Driving charges.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with a licence offence

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining a non-conviction or section 10.

Maximum Penalties

Driving whilst disqualified, cancelled, suspended or refused

PenaltyFirst offenceSecond or subsequent offence
Maximum court-imposed fine$3300$5500
Maximum prison term6 months12 months
Minimum disqualification3 months6 months
Default period of disqualification6 months12 months

Driving with a cancelled or suspended licence under the Fines Act 1996

PenaltyFirst offenceSecond or subsequent offence
Maximum court-imposed fine$3300$5500
Minimum disqualification1 month3 months
Default period of disqualification3 months12 months

Never licensed

PenaltyFirst offenceSecond or subsequent offence
Penalty Notice$796Not applicable
Maximum court-imposed fine$2200$3300
Maximum prison termNot applicable6 months
Minimum disqualificationNot applicable3 months
Default period of disqualificationNot applicable12 months

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended thousands of people charged with Driving whilst without a licence, or whilst your licence is cancelled, suspended or disqualified and are experts at these hearings.

Defences

Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Driving whilst without a licence, or whilst your licence is cancelled, suspended or disqualified can include:

  • The defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact. You must give evidence that you were unaware at the time of driving that you were either cancelled, disqualified or suspended because you were not notified by the RMS (RTA). In order to successfully raise the defence, you have to prove that your belief that you were not cancelled or suspended was both honest and reasonably held.

There are three general components to this:

  • The belief must be an honest belief (this is a subjective assessment)
  • It must have been reasonable in the circumstances for the defendant to hold that belief (this is an objective assessment)
  • The belief must relate to a mistake of fact and not law
  • An example of an honest and reasonable mistaken belief for a charge or drive whilst disqualified may be if the defendant was unaware that a conviction was entered in their absence and they continued to drive even after their licence was disqualified by the court

Statistics

75% of offenders who drove while unlicensed for their first offence received a fine and disqualification. For the second or subsequent offence 88% of offenders received a fine and disqualification

73% of offenders who drove while never licensed for their first offence received a fine. For the second or subsequent offence 71% of offenders received a fine and disqualification

41% of offenders who drove while disqualified for their first offence received a fine and disqualification. For the second or subsequent offence 22% received a sentence of full time imprisonment

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Driving whilst without a licence, or whilst your licence is cancelled, suspended or disqualified charge.

  • Prison sentence
  • Home Detention
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention)
  • Suspended sentence
  • Community service order (CSO)
  • Good behaviour bond
  • Fine
  • Section 10
  • Licence Disqualification

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO)
  • Fine
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)
  • Licence Disqualification

Case Studies

Our client was charged with driving without a licence after driving her husband to his workplace without a licence. Our client pleaded guilty. She received a lenient s10 non-recording of a conviction and avoided losing her licence.

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any driving offence our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

Book your first free appointment with National Criminal lawyers now.
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