Driving Whilst Suspended

Charges: Driving Whilst Suspended. Dandenong Magistrates’ Court.

Facts: The client was close to exceeding his demerit points. His partner had driven his car and incurred one point. She claimed responsibility for the point and filled out the appropriate paperwork. That was the end of the matter as far as the client was concerned.

Three months later the client received a letter from VicRoads, telling him his licence was being suspended. Alternatively, he could take the option of a 12 month bond period without licence loss.

The client immediately contacted VicRoads and asked why the point relating to his partner had not been removed. He was told that they had not received the nomination letter and subsequently the point accrued on his total, putting him over the limit.

VicRoads advised that he re-submit the nomination, explaining what had happened. The client did so and kept driving. Two months later he was picked up by police for driving whilst suspended.

Results: The client potentially had a defence of ‘honest and reasonable mistake’ in relation to the status of his drivers licence. His only problem was that even though he had communicated his intentions to VicRoads, they denied having received the second set of papers, and he could not provide original paperwork. Further, the client did not make a followup call to VicRoads within the period they had given him to make the choice between the bond or licence revokation.

As is often the case, what was most important to the client was his ability to continue driving. By the time the matter came to Court he was licenced to drive again. On the client’s instructions, we sought an indication from the Magistrate in relation to the client’s drivers licence. The Magistrate’s view was that he should receive a fine, but no time off the road. This was acceptable to the client and the matter was finalised that day.