​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Driving offences

This section has information to help you when you go to court for a driving offence, when your licence has been suspended or when your car or number plates have been confiscated. 

    ​​​What is a driving offence?

    A driving offence occurs when someone driving a vehicle, or someone in a vehicle, breaks a law. A driver includes a rider, for example a person riding a motorbike or bicycle.

    For some driving offences, the driving needs to have taken place on a 'road or road related area'. A road or road related area is more than just a public road, it includes:

    • a public street
    • the area that divides a road
    • a footpath or nature strip next to a road
    • a public area designed for cyclists or animals
    • a public area that is not a road, but is open for the use of the public to drive, ride or park vehicles.

    Icon - alertIf you are not sure if your driving offence took place on a road or road related area, you should get legal advice.

    What can you be charged with?

    If you commit a driving offence, you may be fined or charged. If you have received a fine, see the Fines section of this website.

    If you have been charged with a more serious driving offence, you might receive a CAN, and you will have to go to the Local Court.

    Some of the more serious driving offences include:

    • negligent driving, occasioning death or grievous bodily harm
    • exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 km/hr over the limit
    • driving with the prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) in your blood or breath (including low range, mid range and high range)
    • driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    • refusing to undergo a breath test
    • driving while your licence is suspended or you are disqualified from driving.

    Icon - alertIf you are found guilty and convicted of a more serious driving offence, you may get heavy fines, lose your licence and be given a term of imprisonment. If you are charged with a serious driving offence, you should get legal advice.

    Who can charge you?

    You may be charged with a driving offence by:

    • NSW Police
    • Roads and Maritime Services (RMS, previously the RTA).

    RMS is often involved in camera offences (such as red light camera or speed camera) or heavy vehicle (truck and bus) offences.

    The organisation who charges you will usually be the organisation that prosecutes the case. This means they will run the case against you when you go to court. If NSW Police charged you, a police prosecutor will usually represent the police. If RMS charged you, a RMS prosecutor will usually prosecute, however, sometimes they may ask the police or a private solicitor to appear for them in court.

    What do the prosecution have to prove?

    The court deals with a driving offence as a criminal case. In criminal cases, the prosecutor must convince the magistrate that you committed the offence 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. This means that the magistrate must be sure that you:

    • did what the prosecution alleges you did and
    • have no lawful excuse or defence for doing so.

    What the prosecutor has to prove depends on the offence and the evidence they have. Many driving offences are known as 'strict liability' offences. This means the prosecutor must prove that you committed the offence, but does not need to prove that you meant (intended) to break the law. For example, for a charge of mid range PCA, the police don't need to prove that you drove knowing you were intoxicated. They only have to show that:

    • you drove your car (or tried to), and
    • you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of between 0.08 and 0.149.

    What is a defence?

    A defence is an explanation or reason that suggests you should not be found guilty of a charge.

    A defence may be:

    • a denial that you did what the prosecutor says you did. For example, for a charge of drive while disqualified, a defence would be that you did not drive, or that you were not disqualified from driving at the time.
    • that you have a legal excuse or justification for your actions.

    Some common examples of a legal excuse or justification for your actions include:

    • accident - that the driving offence was the result of an accident and you didn't mean to do it.
    • reasonable efforts - that you did all that you could to avoid committing the offence.
    • honest and reasonable mistake of fact - that you mistakenly believed that you were not committing an offence.
    • necessity or duress - you had to drive because it was an emergency situation, or someone was forcing you.

    Icon - alertWorking out whether you have a defence to a driving charge can be very difficult. You should get legal advice about the circumstances of your case as soon as you can.

    For more information about what happens after you are charged, see Responding to a charge.

    Losing your licence

    For some serious driving offences, the police can suspend your licence on the spot. RMS can also suspend your licence if you are caught speeding.

    For more information, see Losing your licence.

    Losing your car or number plates

    For some serious driving offences, the police can:

    • impound your vehicle, and/or
    • confiscate your number plates.

    For more information, see Losing your car or number plates.

    FAQs

    For answers to frequently asked questions, see Frequently asked questions. ​​