Driving is a privilege that we sometimes take for granted. It is always the driver’s responsibility to ensure that he or she has a valid licence before starting the engine. Victoria has very stringent traffic laws and one of the easiest ways for an otherwise upstanding individual to end up in gaol is by repeatedly driving whilst their licence is suspended.
Your driver’s licence can be suspended for a number of reasons including exceeding the demerit points limit. Whilst many offences allow the Magistrate to apply their discretion as to whether your licence should be suspended, certain offences in the Road Safety Act 1986, provide automatic suspension periods.
If your driver’s licence has been suspended, it is an offence to drive your motor vehicle during this suspension period, either in Victoria or interstate. For a first offence, the maximum penalty is 4 months imprisonment, though a fine is the most likely penalty. If you are caught subsequently, the maximum penalty climbs to 2 years imprisonment. These penalties are harsh because the Government wants to emphasize the seriousness of this offence.
When your licence is suspended, it can be very tempting to drive a short distance to pick the children up from school, or to take the back streets to work hoping that the Police would not catch you. But if and when you are intercepted by the Police, you will find yourself before the Court staring at a large fine or possible term of imprisonment. In addition, your licence could be suspended for a further period of time.