Driving While Suspended

Driving While Suspended

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle while your licence is suspended.

Summary Offence

This is a summary offence and will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.

What the prosecution must prove

The prosecution must prove that:

  • you were driving a motor vehicle;
  • your driver's licence was suspended; and
  • you knew you were suspended from driving a motor vehicle.


There are a range of possible defences including, but not limited to, the following:

  • You weren't driving;
  • You weren't driving on a road;
  • Honest and reasonable mistake of fact (Proudman v Dayman defence);
  • Duress;
  • Necessity/Emergency;
  • Mental impairment.

Pleading guilty

Deciding whether or not to plead guilty to driving whilst suspended has important implications and should be made after you have discussed your case with one of our lawyers. If you decided to plead guilty to the offence, our lawyers can assist you to get the best possible result.


For a first offence of driving while suspended, the maximum penalty is 6 months imprisonment. For a subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment. South Australian case law indicates that even first offenders must ordinarily be sentenced to a period of imprisonment. It is therefore vital that you seek legal advice if you have been charged with this offence.

If you are found guilty of an offence and are also sentenced to a term of imprisonment, we may be able to obtain a suspended sentence on your behalf under section 38 of the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988. If you receive a suspended sentence you will be required to enter into a good behaviour bond and will also be required to comply with any other conditions the Court deems fit to impose.

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