Often the terms “licence suspension” and “licence disqualification” are used interchangeably. However, there are some important differences between them that you should be aware of.
The obvious similarity is that you are not permitted to drive. The differences lie in how and why they are imposed, and the consequences if you are caught driving.
A licence suspension is imposed by the RMS or police. It prohibits you from driving, and can be issued for a number of reasons, including:
Importantly, a suspension is not issued by a court, because it is not imposed as part of a sentence. However, you can appeal the decision of the RMS and police, and apply to have your licence suspension lifted or varied by a court.
If you are caught driving, you will be charged with a criminal offence of driving while suspended.
A licence disqualification can only be imposed by a court and will be given as part of a sentence. This means that a licence disqualification will only be given for a traffic related offence which is heard by a magistrate or judge.
Accordingly, if you drive after having your licence disqualified, you are in breach of a court order.
Additionally, a licence disqualification has the effect of cancelling your licence. This means that at the end of your disqualification period, you will need to reapply for a new licence with the RMS and cannot simply start driving again.
A licence disqualification will usually remain in place until it concludes. However, in certain circumstances you can apply to have the disqualification removed.
Photo by Jackson David