Do you have a question about drink drive law offences?



The suspension or cancellation of the drink-driver’s license is not the end of everything. There is still a way for a drink-driver whose license to drive was suspended or cancelled to get a license to drive again. But he has to be careful and act fast before it is too late.

The drink-driver has a remedy to appeal the suspension or cancellation within the period provided by the Road Transport Act 2013.

There are instances that a decision by the decision-maker may be questioned on appeal. This is what the Road Transport Act 2013 refers to as the “appealable decisions”. These appealable decisions, as provided by Section 266 (1) include, among others:

  • the decision of the Commissioner of the Police refusing to grant approval to the holding or making of a race;
  • a decision of the police officer to give the drink-driving offender an immediate license suspension notice; the refusal of the Authority to issue, variation or renewal of a driver license;
  • a decision to suspend or cancel the person’s driver’s license; or a decision of the Authority to suspend or cancel the learners license or provisional license.

For purposes of this article, we will focus to the appealable decisions that are related to or in connection with drink-driving.

A police officer is given the authority under the law to issue an immediate license suspension notice for causing death or serious bodily harm to the victim. It has the effect of immediately prohibiting the offender from further driving. However, this is not the end of the story. The law has given him the chance to drive again. He is allowed to appeal the decision within the period provided by law and indicating the reasons or grounds for the appeal.

Where to appeal?

A person may appeal to the Local Court against the appealable decision made in relation to the person by another person by filing a notice of appeal to the Court. (Section 267 (1), Road Transport Act 2013).

The application will be listed at court. This may be on the same day that you lodge the application or it may be another day and you will have to come back. The Registrar of the Court will notify you, and any other person affected by the decision, when and where the application will be heard. (Legal Aid New South Wales, Reviewing Local Court Decisions 2012, p. 4)

When to appeal drink driving charges?

It is imperative to take note of the period to appeal because a lapse a certain number of days will bar you to take the appeal, unless you have a justifiable reason for failing to appeal within the period prescribed by the law.

The notice appeal must be filed with the Local Court (a) not later than 28 days after the date on which the decision-maker notifies the person of the appealable decision, or (b) within such other period as may be prescribed by the statutory rules (whether for the class of decision concerned or generally). (Section 267 (2), Road Transport Act 2013)

Appeal to District Court

A decision of the Local Court affirming the decision of the decision-maker to disqualify a person to drive may be appealed to the District Court within the period prescribed by the on appeals.

The decision may be reversed on the ground that the period for disqualification is not reasonable or long enough considering the severity of the violation. It may also be alleged in your notice of appeal that you should not have been disqualified in the first place. (Legal Aid New South Wales. (2014) Appealing to the District Court)

A Notice of Appeal is provided by the court which must be filled out by the driver. Along with the Notice of Appeal, the driver should also prepare the pertinent documents that need to be submitted.

For example, since the court will be considering the character of the driver, it is recommended to prepare commendable character references and attach those to the Notice of Appeal. It is best that the driver hires a solicitor to assist him in his defence. Most importantly, never drive to court or anywhere for that matter during the period of disqualification.

If you have been charged with a traffic offence or are under Police investigation, it is important that you seek legal advice.

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