Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Thursday, 21 September 2023 17:54

Driving under a police suspension

Written by


Driving under a police suspension are very serious charges in Queensland. The Courts take a very dim view of the offences and the consequences of driving while suspended by police are severe.

When a person is pulled over for a roadside random breath test, they return a positive reading of alcohol or an indication that drugs are present in their saliva. That person will then be (usually) transported to a local police station for a further test and if positive, charged and typically released with a Notice to Appear.

Among the paperwork the person is given, will be a form titled a “Notice of Suspension or Disqualification”. This form will have one of two sections filled in depending on the reading of alcohol or level of impairment.  This results in one of two options in terms of immediate suspension:




What happens if I drive during a police suspension?

Where a person drives during a 24 hour suspension, they have committed an offence against section 22D of the Transport Operations (Road-Use Management) Act (TORUM).  This offence attracts a disqualification of 6 months from holding or obtaining a driver licence.

If a person drives while they are suspended when they have been suspended for greater than 24 hours, they have committed an offence against TORUM, namely Unlicenced Driving whilst s79B suspended. This offence is treated as severely as Unlicenced Driving court order disqualified, meaning the disqualification range is a minimum of 2 years up to 5 years disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver licence.


How will this matter be heard in Court?

This matter will be heard in a similar manner as a drink driving charge is heard.


What are the likely penalties for driving during a police suspension?

There are two distinct offences and as such two vastly different penalty ranges.


Disqualification ranges

Drive during 24-hour suspension

Minimum disqualification of licence for 6 months

Drive during 79B suspension

Minimum of 2 years disqualification up to 5 years.










What adds complexity to these disqualifications is the corresponding drink or drug driving offence. There are complex rules relating to cumulative disqualifications which need to be considered. Our office has written a fantastic article on it here.


What are some examples of driving under a police suspension?

  1. Phillip was caught with a BAC of .060% and given a 24 hours suspension at 8.00pm on Friday. Phillip returns to his car the next morning and decides to collect his car. Phillip is caught by a police officer who scanned his licence plate which revealed there was a suspended driver at that address. Phillip is breath tested and does not return a positive reading, however given he is driving during his suspension, he is charged with a fresh offence.

If Phillip waited until 8.01pm on Saturday to collect his car, he would not have been committing an offence.


  1. Elizabeth was caught with a BAC of .153% and given an immediate suspension of her licence. She was informed that she is unable to drive until her matter has been finalised in court. Elizabeth’s court date is a month away. Elizabeth decides she cannot wait that long and drives 2 weeks later to the shop. Elizabeth is pulled over for a licence check and it is discovered that she is currently 79B suspended. Elizabeth is now liable to lose her licence for a minimum of 2 years.


  1. William was caught with a BAC of .175 and given an immediate suspension of his licence. He was given the relevant warnings that he cannot drive until the matter has been finalised in court. William decides that his car wasn’t too far from his house, so he returns to his car and commences driving home. The officers who initially arrested him were driving by coincidentally and spot his car. They pull him over and give him a new breath test. William had a BAC of .165. William will now be charged with two counts of driving under the influence of liquor and one charge of driving whilst s79B suspended. There will now need to be consideration to how these offences will run i.e. cumulatively or concurrently.  What started out as a minimum 6 month disqualification, will now run potentially greater than 2 years as a minimum.


NOTE – all of the above examples have all occurred in our experience, however all relevant names, and details have been changed to protect privacy.


Are there any defences to driving under a police suspension?

In certain and very limited circumstances, a defence of necessity or emergency may be available e.g driving a person to hospital to receive emergency care.

Other possible defences are you were not driving on a road, the suspension had in fact ended (for the 24 hour suspension) or you were having to drive under duress (such as fleeing violence).

These defences are limited, however an initial avenue we explore during the early stages of your matter.


Is there ANYTHING I can do to keep driving during a suspension?

Provided a person is eligible, a person subject to a 79B suspension may be able to apply for an emergency licence, under section 79E of TORUM. If you want more information on this licence, please see our article here.


Do I really need a lawyer?

In short, yes. It is not advisable to attempt to represent yourself in these matters, given there is a risk of imprisonment for driving while 79B suspended, especially if this is not your first offence of the like.

What adds complexity in the situation is that you will have a corresponding drink or drug driving offence and how this impact how the disqualifications must be served.


How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message


We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on our traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:


What our clients say about us

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 October 2023 22:00
Jack Marshall

Jack is a former soldier and now a traffic lawyer with Clarity Law.  Jack appears in courts throughout South East Queensland.

https://www.drivinglaw.com.au/about-us/our-team/281-jack-marshall.html | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.