Licence suspension and cancellation

Driver licence disqualification reforms

In late 2017, the penalties for driver licence disqualification will change.

Find out more.

Reaching or exceeding your demerit points limit

If you reach or exceed the limit for demerit points within a 3 year period, your licence will be suspended.

Read more about demerit points.

Immediate licence suspension

Police may immediately suspend and confiscate your licence for the following offences:

  • A serious driving offence causing death or grievous bodily harm
  • Speeding in excess of 45 km/h over the speed limit
  • Middle or high range prescribed concentration of alcohol or committing other serious alcohol-related offences
  • A street racing offence
  • An aggravated burnout offence. The definition of an aggravated burnout includes a hoon driver's mates who willingly participate in, urge others to participate in, photograph or film to promote or organise hoon activity
  • Speeding in excess of 30km/h over the speed limit whilst the holder of a learner or provisional licence
  • Driving unaccompanied by a supervising driver whilst the holder of a learner licence.

Police can suspend and confiscate a licence either on the spot or within 48 hours of a person being charged or issued a penalty notice for a relevant offence. This means that you may have to arrange for your vehicle to be collected by someone else.

Where a person is charged by Police with one of the offences, the suspension will remain until the offence is heard by a court. If you are convicted and disqualified by the court, the court may take into account the period you have served under suspension when imposing the disqualification period.

If you are issued a penalty notice for speeding in excess of 45 km/h over the limit, the suspension will apply for a period of six months.

If you are issued a penalty notice for speeding in excess of 30km/h but not more than 45km/h over the limit as the holder of a learner or provisional licence, or a learner driver driving unaccompanied by a supervising driver, the suspension will apply for a period of three months.

Camera-detected excessive speed offences are not included in the immediate licence suspension scheme. Roads and Maritime Services may apply a suspension following payment of the penalty notice.

Appeals against suspension

You have the right to appeal the suspension of your licence at a local court.

You must lodge the appeal with a court within 28 days of being issued the suspension notice. You can file online, or go to a NSW Local Court. A fee is payable to the Court when lodging an appeal.

Unless the court in the meantime orders otherwise, you must not drive unless the court upholds your appeal.

Drivers visiting NSW

If you are a visiting driver and do not hold a NSW driver licence, your permission to drive in NSW can be withdrawn under the same provisions.

See Visiting NSW for more information about driving in NSW on an interstate or overseas licence.

Licence disqualification

The law provides that your licence is automatically cancelled if you are disqualified by a Court from driving.

All driving is prohibited until the period of disqualification or cancellation has expired and a licence is reissued.

There are significant penalties for driving while disqualified or cancelled, including jail terms.

Driver licence disqualification reforms

The penalties for driver licence disqualification are changing.

Reforms are being introduced to reduce unauthorised driving. They have been designed to keep repeat offenders and dangerous drivers off our roads. At the same time, those who comply with their disqualification(s) will be provided with a road back to lawful driving.  Ultimately, the reforms will better protect community safety.

The reforms include:

  • Giving police greater powers to impose on-the-spot vehicle sanctions. This includes the ability to confiscate (for 3 or 6 months) the number plates or vehicles of repeat offenders and those who commit certain serious driving offences
  • Giving certain drivers who have complied with their disqualification period for at least 2 years the opportunity to apply to a local court to have their disqualification lifted early
  • Harsher penalties overall for unauthorised driving.

Who is eligible?

Following legislative changes, disqualified drivers will be able to apply to the Local Court to have their disqualification lifted early if they have been offence-free for at least 2 or 4 years, depending on their case.

To protect community safety, no disqualified driver ever convicted of driving offences involving death or grievous bodily harm will be eligible to have their disqualification period lifted early.

Drivers who have had their disqualifications lifted will still need to apply to Roads and Maritime or Service NSW, and complete standard road safety and knowledge tests to get their licence returned.

When do these changes start?

The scheme is expected to begin operation in late 2017. We will provide further information to potentially eligible drivers once the legislative changes come into effect.

See the NSW Justice website for more information.

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