I’ve lost my driver’s licence, can I get it back?
Being disqualified from holding a driver’s licence can be a frustrating and confusing time. Opportunities to reinstate your licence apply to some, but do not necessarily apply to all, and figuring out exactly what you’re entitled to can sometimes be difficult.
The team at Johnston Withers Lawyers believes in giving their clients an informed choice when pursuing legal avenues. If you’ve recently lost your licence, and are trying to decipher what may apply to you, read on.
What is the difference between a licence disqualification and cancellation?
Driver’s Licence disqualification: A driver is disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence or permit for a period of time.
Driver’s Licence Cancellation: Imposed in addition to a driver’s licence disqualification, the cancellation of a driver’s licence or permit means that at the end of the disqualification period, a driver will need to apply for a new licence or permit. If your driver’s licence has been cancelled, any previously paid for time on your licence is then lost, without the possibility of a refund.
So … can I get my driver’s licence back?
Depending on what licence you hold there may be options available to you to obtain your licence following a disqualification/cancellation.
I’ve lost my licence whilst subject to a learner’s permit
Unfortunately, you must sit out the disqualification period.
However, any Learner Permit logbook hours that are accumulated before disqualification, may still be used to add towards your mandated 75 hour minimum driving hours once your disqualification has ended.
In the same token, time spent completing mandatory time on your Learners Permit (that is, 12 months minimum if under the age of 25, and 6 months minimum if 25 years or older) will still be attributable to completing the requirements of your Permit, once your disqualification has finished. It is a requirement; however, that the permit is held continuously for 3 months after your qualification is finished.
I’ve lost my licence whilst subject to a provisional licence
Depending on the circumstances following your licence loss there are a number of options available to you:
You may sit out the disqualification, enter into a Safer Driver Agreement, or appeal the disqualification to the Court. The latter 2 options are often subject to conditions.
Choosing a Safer Driver Agreement
Entering into a Safer Driver Agreement is an option that could be available if you were disqualified for an offence that occurred while you hold a P1 or P2 licence, so long as the offence that caused you to loose your licence isn’t considered “serious”.
However, exclusions for eligibility do apply. If you are already under in a Safer Driver Agreement, have been disqualified for breaching a Safer Driver Agreement in the past five years, or have successfully appealed a disqualification in the Court in the past five years, this option is not available to you, and you must sit out the disqualification.
The Safer Driver Agreement will apply for the duration of your provisional licence, and a breach of the Agreement will result in 12 months mandatory licence disqualification.
Choosing a to appeal the disqualification in Court
In some cases, the courts may grant leniency on a disqualification applicant, under conditions of ‘severe and unusual hardship’. In these circumstances, the driver’s previous driving history will be considered.
I’ve lost my licence whilst on a full drivers licence
Depending on the reason for licence disqualification, there may be an opportunity for the disqualified driver to be eligible for a 12 month ‘good behavior option’ in lieu of serving the disqualification.
This option may be available to fully-licenced drivers who have had their licence disqualified due to an accumulation of demerit points. Conditions around driving on a good behavior option include not incurring two or more demerit points during this 12-month period. If 2 or more demerit points are incurred during this period, the driver will be disqualified from driving for twice the initial disqualification period, with no right of appeal or further good behavior application.
Remember if you choose to sit out your disqualification period you must reapply for your licence at the end of your disqualification period.
Driving whilst unlicenced or whilst disqualified is an offence and can carry significant fines and/or imprisonment.
Johnston Withers Lawyers: We’re here to help!
Please note information in this article is general in nature. Johnston Withers Lawyers’ criminal lawyers have a wealth of experience assisting clients with disqualified licences. If you’d like advice or direction from a lawyer, please contact Nic Kernahan on (08) 8231 1110 or get in touch online. We have offices in Adelaide, Clare, Murray Bridge, Roxby Downs, Port Augusta and Whyalla.