Driving whilst Suspended, Disqualified or Unlicensed
Driving Whilst Suspended
Driving whilst suspended often relates to driving during a demerit point suspension. The suspension is often initiated by RMS, whereby RMS send the driver a letter alerting them to the fact that their points have been exceeded and a suspension is pending.
The most common defence in relation to driving whilst suspended and driving whilst disqualified is that of “honest and reasonable mistake”. Other available defences include Duress, Necessity, Emergency or Factual Dispute.
If you didn’t know that your licence was suspended or disqualified then you may have a defence. If you didn’t, whether that belief was a reasonable one to have in all the circumstances is a question that can only be answered after speaking to an experienced legal practitioner who routinely handles these types of cases.
Driving Whilst Disqualified
Driving whilst disqualified usually relates to a situation where an offender has previously been disqualified by the Courts for drink driving, dangerous driving or culpable driving and is caught driving. This is considered to be the more serious offence because it has the added sting of relating to contempt of Court.
Possible defences include (but are not limited to) Duress, Necessity, Identification, Factual Dispute and Honest and Reasonable Mistake (as to the status of your driver’s licence), however a Magistrate will be more strict on an individual who has disobeyed an order of the court than just someone who has driven during a demerit points suspension.
As this is a very serious offence, it is important you contact a legal professional who knows what your best defence will be.
Similar defences apply to driving unlicensed, however it is the lesser of the licensing offences first time offenders usually receive a fine and potentially some period of loss of licence, however there is no mandatory minimum period that an offender must be taken off the road.
In conjunction with other offences however, this offence can become more serious and you should speak to a lawyer about potential defences, and the reasonableness and likelihood of being successful.