Licence suspension and disqualification
Find out what happens if your licence is suspended by the police or you are disqualified from driving by a court.
If you commit a traffic offence, the police can suspend your licence immediately or you can be disqualified from driving by a court.
The police can suspend your licence on the spot if you:
- have a serious accident causing death or grievous bodily harm
- speed in excess of 45km/h over the speed limit (full licence holders)
- speed in excess of 30km/h over the speed limit (learner or provisional licence holders)
- drive with a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) or under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drugs
- take part in street racing and other hoon offences
- drive without supervision (learner licence holders).
If the police suspend your licence on the spot, you will not be able to drive away. Someone else will need to pick up your vehicle.
The police can decide not to suspend your licence immediately. They can choose to suspend it later, as long as it is within 48 hours of you being charged or receiving a penalty notice.
If you are charged with an offence, the immediate suspension will remain in place until your case is heard by a court. The court will take into account the time you have already spent on suspension.
Immediate suspension periods
Your licence can be immediately suspended for different periods of time, depending on the driving offence.
Serious driving offence causing death or grievous bodily harm
Until your case is heard in court
Speeding in excess of 45km/h over the speed limit (full licence holders)
Speeding in excess of 30km/h (learner or provisional licence holders)
Low-range driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI)
|Mid-range and high-range driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA)||Until your case is heard in court|
Street racing, aggravated burnout and other hooning offences
Until your case is heard in court
Learner driver licence holders driving without supervision
Note: If you are caught speeding by a speed camera, the police cannot suspend your licence. You will receive a Notice of Suspension later from Transport for NSW.
Appealing your licence suspension
You have the right to appeal an immediate licence suspension in court.
After receiving the Notice of Suspension, you have 28 days to lodge your appeal online or in person at a NSW local court. You will need to pay a fee to the court to lodge your application.
Unless the court orders otherwise you must not drive until your appeal is heard. If your appeal is denied you will not be allowed to drive until your suspension period ends.
A court can disqualify you from driving and your licence will be cancelled.
If a court disqualifies you from driving, you cannot drive until the period of disqualification ends. If your licence is cancelled you'll need to apply for a new licence.
There are heavy penalties for driving while disqualified, including imprisonment.
If you have committed multiple traffic offences, you may receive more than one disqualification period. The court will usually allow these disqualification periods to run at the same time. However, they can order multiple disqualification periods be run back to back. This means you could be off the road for a long time.
Appealing your disqualification
You can appeal to Transport for NSW to have your licence disqualification removed, provided you have not committed any offences within the last 2 to 4 years.
You cannot appeal if you have been convicted of one of these serious driving offences:
- murder or manslaughter caused by the use of a motor vehicle
- an offence that caused death, grievous bodily harm or wounding by a motor vehicle (under the Crimes Act 1900)
- predatory Driving or Police Pursuits (under the Crimes Act 1900)
- negligent driving causing death or grievous bodily harm
- intentional menacing driving
- failing to stop and assist after impact causing death or grievous bodily harm.
To find out more about your eligibility to appeal see Legal Aid NSW's Are you disqualified from driving brochure.
You can also contact any NSW Legal Aid Office. You may need legal advice to help you prepare your application.
Steps to appeal your disqualification
Apply for your driving record
Download and complete the Driving record application for disqualification removal order form or get a copy from any Service NSW centre.
Send your completed disqualification removal order form by email or post
You can email or post your completed disqualification removal order form.
Transport for NSW at Disqualification Removal Orders
Locked Bag 14
Grafton NSW 2460
Your driving record will be reviewed by Transport for NSW
You will then receive an eligibility status letter and a copy of your driving record. This letter will tell you if Transport considers you eligible to apply for the removal of your disqualification.
Complete the Local Court Application to remove driver licence disqualification form
After receiving your eligibility status letter, if you decide to continue with your application, you’ll need to complete the Local court Application to remove driver licence disqualification form [PDF].
Lodge your documents with the court
Lodge the following documents at any NSW Local Court:
- completed Local Court Application to remove driver licence form
- cover letter (use the cover letter to provide details about why you are seeking to have the disqualification removed)
- copy of your driving record (certified driving record issued by Transport for NSW).
You will need to pay a fee to the court to lodge your application. If you are on a Centrelink benefit, or experiencing financial hardship, you can ask the court to waive this fee.
Note: Your application must include a certified driving record, issued by Transport. Any other copy of your driving record will not be accepted.
If your application is rejected by the local court, you will not be able to make another application for 12 months. You may wish to seek legal advice before re-applying.
If you reach or go over your demerit point limit within a 3-year period, your licence will be suspended. Find out How demerit points work.
Impounding of vehicles
If you commit one of the following offences, the police can impound your vehicle or confiscate your number plates:
- some drink and drug driving offences
- street racing
- aggravated burnout
- involvement in a police pursuit
- speeding by more than 45km/h
- repeated unauthorised driving
- certain driving offences if you are driving while disqualified.
See Vehicle sanctions for more information.