Licence and speeding offences are the two most common but serious traffic offences committed by people and these include dangerous driving, fatally injuring someone while driving, driving without a licence or driving while your licence has been disqualified and/or suspended. In New South Wales (NSW), laws relating to licence and speeding offences are significantly stringent. The Demerit Point Scheme introduced in NSW to encourage safe and responsible driving allocates penalty points (demerits) for a range of driving offences.

Licence Offence

Your licence is liable to get cancelled or disqualified owing to accumulation of demerit points, speeding beyond limit, dangerous driving and commission of drink driving and/or other driving offences. When you drive without a licence or while your licence has been disqualified or suspended, you are said to have committed an offence. You commit an offence when you drive while your licence has been:

  • Cancelled by the Road and Traffic Authority (RTA);
  • Disqualified by a Court for a stipulated period;
  • Suspended by the RTA;
  • Suspended by the RTA for non-payment of fine; or
  • Obtained by misrepresentation or false declaration or by any other dishonest mean.

Furthermore, under Section 25A (1), (2) and (3) of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act, 1998 (the Act), a person who is disqualified by or under any Act from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence must not:

  • Drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area(s) during the period of disqualification; or
  • Make an application for a driver’s licence during the period of disqualification and must not state his or her name falsely or incorrectly or omit to mention the disqualification while making the application.

The maximum penalty for driving varies depending upon whether you ever held a licence or not.

Speeding Offence

Speeding offence commonly refers to an offence where a vehicle travels faster than the sign-posted speed limit designated for a given area. Nonetheless, it can also be defined as driving at a speed inappropriate for the existing road conditions. The extent of the applicable penalties will depend upon how fast you were driving. Your licence may be suspended for a period of either 3 or 6 months depending upon the seriousness of the following speeding offences:

  • Driving more than 45 km/h above the speed limit.
  • Driving more than 30 km/h but not more than 45 km/h above the speed limit.

These offences can also carry demerit points added to your record. In case, these demerit points exceed the demerit point threshold, then an additional suspension or refusal period may apply under the Demerit Points Scheme. A conviction for speeding may appear on your criminal record. If someone is killed or seriously injured while you are driving a car, you may be charged with manslaughter or dangerous driving. These are serious offences which can result in imprisonment. If you are a learner or a provisional licence holder, your licence will be immediately suspended and confiscated for speeding more than 30km/h over the speed limit.

Licence and Speeding Appeals

Any licence holder can prefer an appeal to the local Court against a decision of the RTA or the police for suspension of licence owing to loss of demerit points or for exceeding speed limit beyond 30 or 45 km/h within 28 days from the date of receipt of a suspension notice from the RTA. In considering the merits of your appeal, the Court will take into account the circumstances of the offence, your traffic record and your need for a licence. If you are a full licence holder, you will not have a right to appeal against a suspension of your licence owing to exceeding the demerit point threshold. However, you can take up a good behaviour bond for a period of 12 months. Any further loss of points during the subsistence of the good behaviour bond will result in a longer suspension.

Contact our expert Sydney-based criminal lawyers at Owen Hodge on 1800 770 780 for more information or advice.

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