Offences attracting immediate loss of licence
Police have the power to impose immediate licence disqualification or suspension for drink driving offences [s 47IAA Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) ]. They require only a reasonable belief that a person has committed an offence in one of the following categories:
- category 2 (0.08-0.149) offence; or
- category 3 (0.15 or over) offence; or
- refusal to submit to drug test [s 47EAA Road Traffic Act 1961(SA)]; or
- refusal to submit to an alcotest or breath analysis [s 47E(3) Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) ]; or
- refusal to comply with a compulsory blood test [s 47I(14) Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) ].
When does the immediate disqualification commence?
Suspension or disqualification for offences in the above categories commences from the time the notice is issued by police (i.e. at the time the offence was committed) until proceedings for the offence are determined by a court, or are withdrawn or discontinued, or the Magistrates Court makes an order that would have the effect of ending the period of suspension or disqualification. In the event that a conviction occurs the suspension/disqualification continues until the sentenced period has been served.
Can they be enforced nationwide?
A nationwide agreement exists to enforce these suspensions so they are effective in all states. For example, if a driver with a NSW licence is charged with a category 3 drink driving offence whilst driving in South Australia (e.g. exceed Prescribed Concentration Alcohol - 0.15), their resulting suspension will apply within South Australia and any other state immediately.
Conditions for appeal
A person can apply to have a disqualification or suspension lifted or to have the period of disqualification or suspension reduced. Applications must be in writing in the form prescribed and are made to the Magistrates Court.
The Magistrates Court may make the following orders under the conditions specified:
- where there is a reasonable prospect that the applicant would, in proceedings for the offence, be acquitted of the offence and the evidence before the Court does not suggest that the applicant may be guilty of another offence under s 47IAA — an order that the person is not disqualified or suspended
- if the offence to which the notice relates is a category 2 or category 3 offence and it is a first offence and the Court is satisfied, on the basis of evidence given by or on behalf of the applicant, that there is a reasonable prospect that the applicant might, in proceedings for the offence, successfully argue that the offence was trifling — an order that the period of disqualification or suspension be reduced to a period of 1 month
- if the offence to which the notice relates is a category 3 offence and the Court is satisfied, on the basis of evidence given by or on behalf of the applicant, that there is a reasonable prospect that the applicant would, in proceedings for the offence, be acquitted of the offence but the evidence before the Court suggests that the applicant may be guilty of a category 2 offence — an order that the period be reduced to 6 months
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