What is a licence appeal?
Licence Appeals are an appeals to the Roads and Maritime Service for a suspensions of a driver’s licence to be waived or reduced. You may lodge a licence appeal where your licence will be suspended for:
- Speeding 30km or 45km over the speed limit;
- Your licence will be suspended on account of an accumulation of demerit points and you are a P Plater.
Please note that full licence holders can not appeal for the suspension to be reduced or waived but may have the option of going on a good behaviour licence or having a charge dismissed pursuant to section 10.
Licence Appeals must be lodged within 28 days of receiving a notice of suspension from the RMS. If your licence is going to be suspended, contact our office for advice as to your prospects of having the suspension set aside.
What happens at a licence appeal?
A Licence Appeal proceeds before a Magistrate in the Local Court of NSW. The Magistrate is conferred a broad power when a Licence Appeal is heard and may do one of three things:
- Uphold the Appeal, meaning you licence will not be suspended (however, you will keep the demerit points you have accrued); or
- Reduce the suspension period e.g. from 3 months to 3 weeks (causing your demerit points to reset); or
- Dismiss the Appeal and direct you to serve the three month suspension, usually from the date of court.
There is no legal test that a Magistrate must undertake in determining how you are dealt with. However, a court will typically give weight to the following factors:
- Your traffic record (the better your record, the better your prospects of success);
- Your character generally;
- Your need for a licence;
- The circumstances of your offending.
What will my criminal lawyer need to prepare my case?
To prepare your case to the highest standard and speak on your behalf on your behalf, evidence supporting submissions on the above factors is usually supplied to your traffic lawyer and then tendered to the court. Examples of evidence that may assist in an Appeal includes:
- References from employers, family members and health professionals stating why you have a need for a driver’s licence e.g. for work, to pick up and drop off children from school, a chronic back condition, etc.
- Employment contracts stating that having a driver’s licence is a condition of employment.
- Medical documentation about any medical conditions.
- Trip planner documents showing geographic isolation or unavailability of public transport from your residential address to your place of employment.
- A letter of apology or affidavit stating what happened.
- Certificate of completion of the Traffic Offenders Program.
What should be in my references?
In order to give you the best chance of keeping your licence, it is recommended that you work closely with one of our solicitors to prepare your case. Your criminal lawyer will request you obtain references. Below are some reasons a court may invoke for not recording, or reducing, a suspension period.
Loss of employment is a classic reason for a court not disqualifying a person. If a person will lose their job if they lose their licence then the referee should put forward that assertion with absolute certainty. The court will see straight through waffle such as “his position may be reviewed”. For example:
A licence disqualification will prevent Joe Blog’s from fulfilling his duties and hence, if this occurs, he will be asked to temporarily leave his post until the disqualification lapses or if the disqualification is for more than 3 months, his employment will be terminated as per clause 8.2 of his contract enclosed herein. There is no discretion in this situation. He is a sales representative and our clients cannot be serviced by public transport.
Lack of public transport
No viable alternative transport is a matter the court may consider when deciding whether to impose a disqualification. This mainly applies to people in the country, but may apply if you are a shift worker, reside or work in an area not serviced by public transport, or to females who work late. For example:
Joe Blog’s works at Marayong Chickens in an industrial area where there is no public transport. He wakes up at 3am, leaves at 4am, and starts his shift at 5am. We have explored all options and, as he is the only licenced driver in our family, he has no way to get to work if he loses his licence. We have a mortgage and two school age children. Without a licence, he cannot get to work. Worse still, we’d have no way to get to the Richmond shops, a 20 minute drive from where we live on acreage.
Family reasons such as care for a child or elderly parents, sickness of yourself or another who relies upon your ability to drive, are matters a court may consider. For example:
Joe Blogs resigned from his job to look after our sick son as he is the only licenced driver in our family who could take him to his daily medical appointments. When he stopped working, I started a lower paying job. Even though it meant less money, it was the only way we could ensure our son received the treatment he needed. Joe is with our son 24 hours a day in case his conditions worsens and he needs to be taken to hospital. We simply cannot look after our son without a car.
A detailed guide to reference writing can be viewed here.
Why choose AC Law Group?
Our solicitors are experts at Licence Appeals. In fact, a number of our senior solicitors have never been unsuccessful in applying for a suspension to be set aside or reduced. For Licence Appeals, we offer fixed fees with no hidden extras.
To read more about AC Law Group, click here, and call us at Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern or make a website inquiry today.