Drivers licence appeals in NSW

Posted on Mar 13, 2018 by Matthew Wicks   |   Categories: Criminal & Traffic Law

In NSW your licence may be suspended by either the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) or the NSW Police.

It is possible to appeal the suspension of your licence however, and the most common offences for which such appeals are made include:

– The RMS suspending your licence for exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 kph;
– The RMS suspending a P1 or P2 provisional licence for loss of demerit points; and
– The Police issuing an on the spot suspension for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45kph.

Unfortunately, you cannot appeal the suspension of your licence for an accumulation of demerit points on a full licence.

The police have the discretion to suspend your licence on the spot for some more serious offences such as drink driving and serious speeding offences.

It is important that you frame your appeal in the right way to avoid unnecessary costs and Court appearances as the current appeals system can be confusing.

Usually if you have been pulled over for a speeding offence as described above you will be issued with an on the spot fine by the Police however your licence will not be suspended. The penalty notice which the fine is written on will usually set out an option for you to appeal.

However, what many people do not understand is that if you exercise your right to appeal here you are appealing the Police’s decision that you have committed a speeding offence. This is a difficult appeal to be successful in as you must establish that the Police were incorrect in detecting you speeding. Such a defence would need to rely on something like the equipment used by the Police being faulty or possibly the speedometer reading in your vehicle being faulty. This is a difficult and expensive argument to run and the Magistrate only has the power to find you guilty or not guilty of the ticketed offence. Unless the Magistrate finds that you were not guilty of the offence, the RMS will later issue a letter suspending your licence in any event.

Your licence is not suspended until such time as you receive a notification from the RMS advising you of your suspension. As a result, in circumstances where your licence is not immediately suspended by the Police you should wait until your suspension letter from the RMS arrives in the mail to lodge your appeal. The letter will set out why you have been suspended and how to lodge your appeal.

You have strictly 28 days to file an appeal to the Local Court of NSW from the date of service of the RMS letter (the date of service is legislated to be 4 days after the date the letter was sent).

When the matter comes before the Court you should then be prepared to provide reasons to the Magistrate as to why you need your licence and the suspension should be overturned. Such reasons often include:

– Traveling to and from work
– Unavailability of public transport
– Dependents
– Prior good driving record

You can also provide documents evidencing your attendance at the traffic offenders program and references of your good character to support your appeal.

The Magistrate has discretion as to how they deal with these matters and as a result no two cases are the same before the Court. It is important to understand that having a driver’s licence is a privilege and not a right and Magistrates have no obligation to show leniency on an individual before the Court.