Appealing a Licence Suspension: Explained

Which licence suspensions can be appealed?

Learner, Provisional P1 or P2 drivers

  • Transport for NSW licence suspensions for exceeding the demerit point limit
  • Transport for NSW licence suspensions for speeding 30km/h or 45km/h over the limit (camera detected only)

 

Unrestricted drivers

  • Transport for NSW licence suspensions for speeding 30km/h over the limit
  • Transport for NSW licence suspensions for speeding 45km/h over the limit (camera detected only)

If you receive a notice of suspension for exceeding the demerit point limit or breaching a good behaviour licence you cannot lodge an appeal.

“You can also appeal against a Police suspension of your licence. However, the test applied by the Court in determining the merits of the Appeal is different to Transport for NSW Suspensions and is much more onerous. Again, the 28 day time limit applies from the date of Police Suspension.”

What is the time limit for an appeal?

Suspension notices issued by the Transport for NSW are subject to a strict timeframe of 28 days. The 28 day period begins when the notice of suspension is posted to you at the most recent address record on the Transport for NSW records. This date can be found in the top left corner of your suspension notice.

If you attempt to file an appeal outside of the 28-day timeframe, it will most likely be rejected. If you are able to file the appeal, the court may determine that it has no jurisdiction for the court to hear the matter and dismiss your appeal.

Steps in a Transport for NSW licence suspension appeal

The licence appeal process can be a difficult one if you are unprepared. It can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Receive an infringement notice for an excessive speed and/or an infringement that will result in you exceeding your demerit point threshold
  2. Pay the infringement in full or enter into a payment plan.

Note: if you elected to have the matter heard by a court and were convicted, Transport for NSW will send you a notice of suspension.

  1. Receive notice of suspension from Transport for NSW indicating that Transport for NSW has made a decision to suspend your drivers licence
  2. Draft and lodge an appeal against the decision of Transport for NSW to suspend your licence within 28 days. A court location and date will be allocated.
  3. Attend court and proceed with the licence appeal hearing. After your case is heard the Magistrate will deliver their decision immediately.

Note: There is no avenue of appeal if you are unhappy with the court’s decision.

How is a Transport for NSW licence suspension appeal determined?

Transport for NSW licence suspension appeals are heard in the Local Court of New South Wales.

When you appeal the decision of the Transport for NSW to suspend your drivers licence, the court considers many things including:

  • Whether or not you are a fit and proper person to hold a drivers licence,
  • The circumstances of the Offence;
  • Your traffic record and
  • Whether you have a need for a licence.

In considering the circumstances of the offences which have caused the suspension however they cannot redetermine your guilt or innocence.

 

Possible outcomes of a Transport for NSW licence suspension appeal

The Local Court has ability to exercise the same powers that Transport for NSW had when they made the decision to suspend you. The three outcomes of a licence appeal are:

 

That the appeal is allowed:

This means that you do not spend any time off the road, at all. If you are a provisional licence holder or learner appealing a demerit point suspension, the demerit points remain on your record, and they have the ability to count towards future suspensions.

 

The appeal is dismissed and varied:

This means that the court has seen fit to impose some period of suspension. The court can vary the period of suspension as much or as little as it deems appropriate.

If you are a provisional licence holder or learner appealing a demerit point suspension, the relevant demerit points are reset after the period of suspension imposed and will no longer have the ability to count towards future suspensions.

 

The appeal is dismissed:

This means that the court has not seen fit to show leniency to you. You will be required to serve the period of suspension indicated on your notice of suspension. The suspension period will commence immediately unless the court specifically orders otherwise.

Transport for NSW and court will not send you another notification warning you that your licence is suspended. If you are caught driving after being suspended, you will not be able to defend the matter on the basis that Transport for NSW did not send you another letter notifying you of the suspension period.

If you are unhappy with the court’s decision, you are unable to appeal the decision.

 

Driver knowledge tests

If you have had two or more suspensions in the last 5 years, regardless of the length of that suspension, Transport for NSW may require you to sit the Driver Knowledge Test before you are able to recommence driving.

 

Extension of provisional periods

At a minimum, everyone must hold a P2 licence for 24 months. Every suspension period you receive (either from Transport for NSW or Police) will add an extra 6 months to that 24 month period.

Additionally, any time your P1 or P2 licence is suspended, the period of suspension is not counted towards the total minimum time required for that class of licence. This means, that if you are a P1 licence holder who is suspended for 3 months, that 3-month period does not count towards the 12-month total minimum period that you have to hold that licence.

If you or someone you know needs advice or representation for a licence appeal, contact the team at Hamilton Janke Lawyer 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 4038 1666.

Written By
James Janke
James Janke

James Janke is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers, and has more then decade of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. Admitted to both the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia

Reviewed By
Drew Hamilton
Drew Hamilton

Drew Hamilton is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers. Admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales as a Solicitor and also listed on the High Court of Australia register.

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