Can the Police Suspend my Driver’s Licence before I go to Court?

If you have been charged with certain driving offences that involve alcohol or drugs, the police do have power to immediately suspend your drivers licence.  They are required to give you a notice about the suspension of your licence as soon as practicable after you have been charged.  Usually, this will occur at the time you are charged and either bailed to appear for court or served with a notice to appear. 

It is very important you read that document carefully because it will set out whether your licence is immediately suspended, and whether that is a 24 hour suspension of your licence, or whether it is until your charge is dealt with by a court or is otherwise withdrawn or discontinued.

A suspension of this kind has the same effect as the cancellation of the licence and disqualifies that person from holding or obtaining a licence.  If a person does apply for or obtains a licence while subject to this suspension they will be charged with an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment.

The immediate suspension of the licence until the court matter has been dealt with will apply if a person has been charged with one of the following offences:

  • Drink driving where the BAC alleged is 0.10% or higher; or
  • Failure to provide a specimen of breath or blood; or
  • Low range drink driving offence while you have another low range drink driving offence still pending before the court; or
  • Driving while under the influence of liquor (reading of 0.15% of higher) or Driving while under the influence of a drug
  • Charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance. 

If you require your licence for employment purposes, you can apply to the court for an order allowing you to continue to drive for stated circumstances until your court matter is finalised. Generally, you can only make that application if you would otherwise be eligible for a restricted licence on the pending charge.


The maximum penalty for driving while subject to this type of suspension is 40 penalty units or 1 years imprisonment and licence disqualification of at least 2 years but not more than 5 years.