Driving Whilst Suspended, Breach Suspended Sentence – Fine

Our client was a 50-year old man who previously had a serious drinking problem and was very socially isolated, having no family in Australia and no real support network. He was a self-employed painter and required his licence to maintain his employment. He had been unable to obtain new jobs because he could not get to many of the sites by public transport carrying all his painting tools.

His licence was suspended due to accumulating too many demerit points. When offered a job he could complete in a single day, he did not resist the temptation to drive.

He was intercepted by police for driving whilst suspended. This breached a suspended jail term that had previously been imposed for his last offence when the law mandated a jail term for driving whilst suspended. This law has since been repealed.

He was charged with:

  • Driving whilst suspended
  • Breach of a suspended sentence

We represented the client at the Geelong County Court.

Were were able to successfully appeal the Magistrates’ decision to re-impose the suspended sentence, and argue via both written and oral submissions that exceptional circumstances existed in our client’s case.

His diagnosis of depression (which we obtained evidence of through an expert forensic psychological report) and his social isolation was used to contextualise the offending together with legal argument about the change in the law that may have affected whether he would have received a suspended jail term in the past which now stood to be re-imposed.

As a result, the Judge accepted those submissions and found that exceptional circumstances did exist. The Judge did not re-impose the suspended sentence, fined our client for the fresh offence, and did not interfere with his driver’s licence so that he could again be gainfully employed.


DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 25/02/2013