Did you know that if you don't vote at a local election and then don't pay your fine your driving licence can be suspended? This can happen even if you don't pay the fine because you didn't receive the notice. It can also happen because it takes so long for the notice to reach your letter box that by the time you receive it you are too late.
There are other licence related penalties as well, for instance the Court can extend your Learner or Provisional Licence as a penalty for graffiti, but in this article we will deal with penalty notice offences.
Examples of Penalty Notice Offences
There are a number of fines or penalties that, if unpaid, can result in the issue of a penalty notice that can result in the suspension of your driving licence. Many people are surprised because the offences have nothing to do with driving. Some examples of these penalty notice offences include issuing fine due to:
- A person handles food intended for sale in an unsafe manner, including for instance someone making cakes or cookies to sell from home
- A person supplies liquor to a minor on licensed premises, for instance buying a beer at the pub for your 17 year old friend
- Possessing a firearm in a forestry area without the appropriate permit
- An employee of Clubs NSW who fails to provide information about gambling counselling services
- Dumping rubbish in a public place
- A person who leaves an animal unattended (for instance a dog) in a public place
- Being paid to do building work when you are not a licensed contractor
- A landlord who provides a residential tenancy agreement that is not in the approved form, or that has a banned clause added to it
- A conveyancer who operates their business without the appropriate licence
- A real estate agent who fails to produce a copy of their licence on demand
Now all of these may appropriately be behaviours that should be penalised, what most people are probably unaware of is they are behaviours that can result in licence suspension if you don't pay your fine on time.
My Licence is Suspended
If your licence is suspended do not drive, I repeat, do not drive. It doesn't matter if your licence was suspended for the wrong reason, or if you later prove that it should never have been suspended and get your licence back. If you drive while suspended then you are liable for criminal penalty regardless of the reason, or lack of reason, for the suspension.
If you do drive while suspended you can receive a fine of $3,300 and a jail term of 18 months for your first offence. It is worth noting that the penalty notice issued, the NSW Courts information and other government websites might list lesser penalties, but the maximum penalty pursuant to the legislation is $3,300 and a jail term.
If your licence has been suspended and you have been charged with driving while suspended, you should make an appointment to speak with Bruce Coode urgently.
How do I know if my licence is suspended?
You can check your licence online, if you have received a penalty notice and you are confused about whether or not your licence has been suspended yet. It is easy to create an account online, a little too easy I suspect.
Should I pay the fine?
The short answer is, if you want your licence back yes pay the fine, this is the quickest way to get your licence back. Once you have the payment receipt number you can contact RMS the next day and arrange to have your licence re-instated.
The issue with paying the fine is that typically paying a fine is an admission of guilt. This won't be the case in all circumstances, there are many different reasons that you can be issued with a penalty notice, but generally if you want to object to the notice you have to do that before you pay the fine. If your licence is already suspended though the objection won't get you your licence back, you need to not drive until your licence has been re-issued.
If you would like more information about our firm, or about driving laws in NSW, then read some of our other articles.