Licence disqualifications

Receiving a Notice of Disqualification for an offence that happened a long time ago

The notice of disqualification is a result of an expiation notice (fine) received up to two years prior. Some time after July 2009, if you applied to the Magistrates Court for relief and entered into a payment arrangement to pay the fine.

In June 2009, the Courts Administration Authority undertook a major software upgrade and due to a system error, the system ceased automatically supplying some demerit point and offence information to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

The error has been corrected and the offence information and associated demerit points have in August been sent to the Regisitrar are being correctly applied.

The Motor Vehicles Act requires that where the offence results in a breach of a conditional licence or the demerits point scheme, the Registrar must disqualify the person from driving. The Registrar does not have any discretion to remove or vary any disqualification required by the Act.  

If you didn’t apply to the Magistrates Court for relief or enter into a payment arrangement to pay the fine, contact the Courts Administrative Authority at the EasyPay fines contact centre on 1800 659 538 or if calling from a mobile 8207 6288.

The original expiation notice issued contained a warning that demerit points may apply.

The Demerits Points Scheme is based on the concept of “any three year period”. E.g. an offence in 2009 can count towards whether a person has accumulated 12 demerit points in "any three year period". You don't have to be in that period now e.g. you could have accumulated 12 points between 2007 and 2010 and can be disqualified now.

Serving the disqualification and appeals

Not everyone’s circumstances are the same however all of the options that would have been available to you had you received the Notice of Disqualification earlier are still available.

If you are eligible to enter into a Good Behaviour Option, a Safer Driver Agreement or Appeal the disqualification to the Magistrates Court, you still have the same options. The options available to you are written on the notice.

The disqualification period does not start until you have personally attended a Service SA centre or an Australia Post electronic point of sale outlet and acknowledged receipt of the notice and paid the fee.

Any period where you have chosen not to drive cannot be recognised in the period of disqualification associated with your current notice. 

Licence holders currently overseas

The notice can only be acknowledged by the person who is disqualified (by attending a Service SA centre or Australia Post and signing to acknowledge and paying the prescribed fees). This cannot be done by any other party, including a Power of Attorney.  The licence holder will need to deal with this when they return to Australia.

Licence loss/job loss

Being disqualified often has a greater impact on some people than others. The delay in disqualifying licence holders is regrettable but as stated above the Registrar does not have the discretion to remove or vary a disqualification.

Court disqualifications and Motor Vehicle Act disqualifications

If you have already been disqualified for the offence and now received a notice about another disqualification. Some offences result in the Court imposing a disqualification as part of the penalty and when the Registrar is notified of the offence, the Motor Vehicles Act requires another disqualification period to be imposed. These disqualifications cannot be served concurrently and must be served one after the other. 

Raising this with the Ombudsman's Office

The law has not changed – i.e. if the notice of disqualification states you are not entitled to appeal, you are not entitled to appeal. You can not make an application to the Court. In cases of 'regression', no exceptions will be made to any person.

You should be aware that, raising your case to a lawyer or the Ombudsman etc may place you in jeopardy of you missing the Safer Driver Agreement or disqualification acknowledgement due date. It should be stressed that the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 provides for no leniency in these instances.  Any advice you may receive that suggests you not respond to their disqualification notice may result in you missing the due date and therefore having to sit out your disqualification and/or face higher costs.

Learner Permit holders

If you were the holder of a Learner’s Permit when you committed the offence you are subject to the Graduated Licensing Scheme and will be required to regress to a learner’s permit.

If you regress to a learners permit you will have to re-sit the practical test and pay the fees. These are fees charged by private sector driving instructors.  If the notice had been sent out earlier you would have incurred the cost in the same way you are now, therefore no financial disadvantage has occurred.

Provisional licence holders

If you were the holder of a provisional licence when you committed the offence you are subject to the Graduated Licensing Scheme and will be required to regress to the licence stage prior to what you held at the time of the offence.

You must surrender your licence. You will be reimbursed for the unused period of your licence.

Since committing the offence, if you have progressed from P1 to P2 via the Hazard Perception Test you will have to do another HPT.

High-powered vehicles

The notice of disqualification will not permit you to drive a high-powered vehicle.

If you are under 25 the restrictions will apply to you when you regain your provisional licence. 

You can apply to the Registrar for an exemption from the High-powered vehicle restrictions. Applications to apply for an exemption can be obtained at http://mylicence.sa.gov.au and can be marked to the attention of the Licence Review Coordinator.

Exemptions may be approved in special circumstances. Your driving offence history, the availability of public transport and of other vehicles that may be available to you will be taken into account when determining your application.

Probationary licence holders

If you were on a probationary licence when the offence was committed, after the period of disqualification is served you will be issued a further probationary licence for the prescribed period.


 

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