You will be charged for drive whilst suspended if you are caught driving a motor vehicle during the time in which you have been suspended by the RMS.
However, just because you drove whilst your licence was suspended by the RMS, this doesn’t mean that you are automatically guilty of the offence!
If you were not aware that you were suspended by the RMS, you may be NOT guilty of the offence.
The law recognises this defence as an ‘honest and reasonable mistake of fact’. You must prove on the balance of probabilities that you were not aware of the suspension or disqualification. You may have changed addresses at the time the RMS sent you a letter advising of the suspension, or may for some other reason not received the letter. In these circumstances, if the court finds that your explanation was honest and reasonable, the charges will be dismissed. To find out more about the defence of honest and reasonable mistake, click here.
The maximum fine for drive whilst suspended is $3,300. The mandatory disqualification period for drive whilst suspended is 12 months, unless the matter is dealt with pursuant to Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act in which case you will not be disqualified from driving. To find out more about a section 10, click here.
If it is the case that you were suspended because you did not pay your fines, the mandatory disqualification period is 3 months. If this is the case, the courts will quite often deal with you by way of a section 10.
Generally, penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are: