Driving Whilst Suspended in Tasmania
Updated on Dec 01, 2022 • 3 min read • 328 views • Copy Link
Driving Whilst Suspended in Tasmania
The Vehicle and Traffic Act 1999 makes it an offence to drive whilst your licence is suspended or disqualified in Tasmania. There are many reasons why a licence may be suspended or disqualified. If you are caught driving on a public road in Tasmania, without a valid licence you will be guilty of an offence. Penalties for the offence of driving whilst suspended in Tasmania include disqualification, fines or even imprisonment.
A driver’s licence may be suspended in Tasmania or be disqualified for the following reasons;
- The offender has never held a licence in Tasmania.
- The offender has a licence that has expired and not been renewed.
- The individual has a licence that is under suspension for administrative reasons (i.e. medical grounds).
- The offender has accumulated demerit points that warrant a suspension/disqualification.
- The offender has accumulated speeding or other traffic offences that require a suspension/disqualification period to be imposed.
- The offender has committed a criminal offence i.e. drug driving and a suspension/disqualification period has been ordered by the court.
In the event that you have already been suspended or disqualified from obtaining a licence, and are caught driving on any public road within Tasmania, you will be guilty of an offence.
Driving whilst suspended in Tasmania
Under section 9 of the Vehicle and Traffic Act 1999, it is an offence to drive on a public road whilst your licence is subject to a suspension. This offence covers local licenses as well as foreign licences subject to a suspension period. Further, this section of the Act makes it an offence for a person to employ an individual and permit them to drive a motor vehicle on a public street if their licence is subject to a suspension.
The maximum penalty for a first offence is a fine of 30 penalty units or imprisonment for three months. For a second or subsequent offender, a fine will generally be imposed of up to 300 penalty units as well as a term of imprisonment of up to six months. The courts, depending on the severity of the case, may choose to impose a fine or imprisonment, or both. It is important to note that the court will also impose a period of licence disqualification.
Driving whilst disqualified in Tasmania
Under section 13 of the Vehicle and Traffic Act 1999, it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a public street in Tasmania whilst your licence is subject to a disqualification. A person’s first offence carries a maximum penalty of a fine of 40 penalty units or imprisonment for six months, or both, and a licence disqualification period of up to three years. A second or subsequent offence can attract a fine of up to 80 penalty units, imprisonment for up to 12 months. or both, and licence disqualification for a period of up to five years.
In rare circumstances, a person may succeed in defending a charge of driving while suspended or disqualified. The most common defence is that the offender did not know, or could not have known that their licence was subject to a suspension/disqualification. However, this defence will only be available in limited circumstances and is subject to many exceptions.
In some circumstances, a defence of duress or sudden and extraordinary emergency may also be available.
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