If your licence has been suspended by the RMS or by a police officer, you may be able to appeal to the Local Court to have that suspension lifted.
What is a licence suspension?
A licence suspension is an order imposed by the RMS or by a police officer which means you cannot drive on your licence for the period of the suspension. The main difference between a licence suspension and a licence disqualification is that one is imposed by the RMS or Police (suspension) the other is by the Courts (disqualification)
Can I appeal a licence suspension in NSW?
If your licence has been suspended by Roads and Maritime Services for a serious speeding offence (more than 30km/h over the speed limit) or has been suspended by a police officer on the spot for certain other offences (e.g. drive with alcohol present in blood or breath), you can apply to the Local Court to have your suspension lifted. Furthermore, drivers on provisional and learner licences can apply to have their suspensions lifted if they have exceeded their demerit point limit.
What is the process for appealing a licence suspension in NSW?
Below is a step by step process for appealing a licence suspension in NSW, as well as the main factors the court will take into account in deciding whether to quash the suspension, decrease the length of the suspension and in rare case, increase the length of the suspension. An experienced traffic lawyer will be able to guide you through this process as well as represent you in court for the final hearing of the matter.
Step 1: File an appeal form
You will have to file at a Local Court registry or on the Online Registry a form to begin the process and get a listing date for your appeal. The specific form you file will depend on whether it is an RMS suspension or a police suspension. The current filing fee is $95.00.
Step 2: Prepare for court
Once you have filed your appeal form, you will be notified of the date your matter will be listed for hearing of your appeal. This will usually be a number of weeks or months away. You should focus on preparing documents which demonstrate your need for a licence. Evidence relating to your employment, medical conditions and/or a lack of public transport options in your area will help to demonstrate your need for a licence. It also will be in your interests to demonstrate that you are a person of good character. This can through the preparation of character references by people who know you well. Remember to bring multiple photocopies of the documents you intend to rely on.
Step 3: Attend court
Make sure you leave yourself enough time to arrive at court early on the day that your appeal has been listed. You can check online usually the day before what courtroom your matter is listed in, otherwise, there will usually be a list somewhere in the court precinct showing where your matter will be heard or you can ask a staff member at the registry where your matter is listed. Make sure you remain in the courtroom, as your matter could be called at any time. Once your matter is called, the Magistrate will consider any documentation you hand up and will call on you to make some further submissions if you wish to do so. The Magistrate will then make a decision to either allow your appeal and quash the suspension, reduce the suspension period or dismiss the appeal.
Considerations for RMS Appeals:
The court will not be considering whether you are guilty or not guilty of the offence that brought about your suspension or the extent of the fine. In considering the appropriate decision to make in your case, the court will consider your prior traffic record, your demonstrated need for a licence and the seriousness of the offence that led to your suspension. It is in your interests to seek legal advice on these considerations and how they may affect the prospects of you succeeding on an appeal.
Considerations for Police Suspension Appeals:
In determining an appeal from a police licence suspension, the court must be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances to justify making an order quashing or varying the suspension. Police suspensions are treated differently to RMS suspensions as police suspensions are generally made with considerations of public safety being paramount, and are intended to continue until your offence is heard by the Local Court and a disqualification period can be imposed. Some factors that may justify a finding of exceptional circumstances include that the police’s case against you is particularly weak and/or you have a pressing and immediate need to drive.
Book a Free Consultation to appeal a licence suspension.
The process of applying to lift a licence suspension can be daunting and complicated. The expert traffic lawyers at First Offence Legal have represented many clients who have successfully applied to have their suspension periods quashed or reduced. First Offence Legal understands how important it is to be able to keep your driver’s licence, and will be happy to help you through the process.
If you or anyone you know has had their licence suspended and you believe you may be eligible to apply to have that suspension removed, do not hesitate to contact us at First Offence Legal.
Remember, you should always make First Offence Legal your first defence.