Drive Whilst Disqualified, Cancelled, Suspended or Refused – Section 54 of Road Transport Act 2013

Maximum Penalties

PenaltyFirst offenceSecond or subsequent offence
Maximum court-imposed fine$3,300 (Maximum 30 penalty units)$5,500 (maximum 50 penalty units)
Maximum prison term6 months12 months
Minimum disqualification3 months6 months
Default period of disqualification6 months12 months

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

you can plead ‘not guilty’ and fight the matter in court If you don’t agree with what the police are alleging.

 the prosecution has to prove the ‘essential elements’ of the offence before you can be found guilty of the charge as follows:

  • That you drove a vehicle on a public road
  • At the time that you drove the vehicle, your licence had been suspended by the RMS or police, cancelled by the RMS, OR disqualified by the court.

If the prosecution is unable to prove both of these elements, you will be found ‘not guilty.’

Our expert defence lawyers can also help you identify whether you had a “reasonable excuse” for your actions – these are commonly known as defences. If accepted, they will result in a finding of “not guilty.”

Examples of defences for driving whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified include:

  • Where someone coerced or threatened you to drive whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified (duress)
  • Where you drove whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified to avoid serious injury or danger (for example, driving someone to the hospital in a medical emergency) – this is known as necessity
  • Where you honestly but mistakenly believed that your licence was not suspended, cancelled or disqualified (reasonable mistake of fact)

If you want to plead ‘not guilty’ to driving whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified, it’s important to seek advice from an experienced traffic lawyer, who will be able to accurately advise you of your options when fighting the charges.

Pleading Guilty

It is important that you speak to an experienced traffic lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options.

If you decide or have been advised to plead guilty to driving with whilst disqualified, cancelled, suspended or refused after receiving legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer, it is crucial that your case is sufficiently prepared to maximise your chances at obtaining a lenient sentence. 

Utilitarian Value or 25% discount on punishment

The discount for the utilitarian value of the plea of guilty will be determined largely by the timing of your plea entered. That means, the earlier you enter a plea of guilty, the greater discount you receive on your punishment and also the type of sentence you receive.

The utilitarian value of a delayed plea is less and consequently the discount is reduced.

Types of Penalties

Types of penalties the Judge can impose on you include any one of the following:

  • Conditional Release Order
  • Fine

Our expert defence team at Criminal Lawyers Sydney may be able to negotiate the police ‘facts’ to reduce the seriousness of the offence.

Our team will guide you on obtaining materials which can be handed-up to the court during your sentencing – including a letter of apology, character references, and any documents from counsellors or health care professionals you have consulted.

These materials, together with persuasive verbal submissions by your lawyer in the courtroom, can help to ensure you receive the most lenient penalty that is possible in the circumstances.

It is important to be aware that the magistrate will have discretion to impose ‘no conviction’ – which will mean there is no disqualification, fine or other penalty.

Our lawyers at Criminal Lawyers Sydney will fight hard to achieve the best possible result in the circumstances, including a non-conviction where appropriate.

If you have been charged with the above driving offences Criminal Lawyers Sydney anytime on (02) 91528619 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced traffic lawyers who will review the allegations and advise you of your options and the best way forward.