Ask LH: Do I Need To Apply For A New Licence After My DUI Suspension?

Ask LH: Do I Need To Apply For A New Licence After My DUI Suspension?

Dear Lifehacker, I recently copped a 30-day driving suspension for a DUI in Queensland while on a road trip to Western Australia where I’m staying for work. Does my suspension also apply here in WA or can I still drive? My other question is when my suspension is over. Can I just start driving again, or do I need to pay for another licence? (The one I have expires in 2017.) Thanks, Justin

DUI picture from Shutterstock

Dear Justin,

We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve answered a variation of this question. The short answer is: you’re boned. A licence suspension applies in all states and territories. Furthermore, you won’t be able to apply for an interstate licence until your current suspension is lifted.

Australia’s road and traffic authorities are independently run by each state and territory. However, the systems are all interconnected via the Australian Road Rules agreement and the Demerit Points Scheme. The latter is a national program that allocates penalty points (demerits) for a range of driving offences, including DUIs. This means that your suspension will be instantly flagged while driving interstate if a cop happens to pull you over.

If you drive a motor vehicle while your licence is suspended, you will be charged with unlicensed driving. This may result in your licence being disqualified for a maximum of five years. In some circumstances, you could also face fines and even jail time.

As to your second question, you should be able to resume driving on your current licence once the suspension period has ended. A suspension is different to a disqualification, which does require the motorist to apply for a probationary licence.


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  • Make sure you get the date when you can drive again in writing from police/courts or get a letter for Dept of Transport after the suspension date saying you can drive, otherwise the police database might not be updated when police ANPR/RBT or you could find yourself arrested until paperwork gets sorted out.

    • QLD Systems are linked between Dept. of Transport and QPS, if you are pulled over and license checked the data QPS has is live straight off the Dept. of Transport’s licensing system.

      Also – you can check license status on the TMR website now –

      • All/most government depts are linked, but sometimes wrong dates are entered, systems are down, power outages.

  • And as a reader I am bored of the number of times I’ve seen this question… I know, how about lifehacker doesn’t answer this question anymore.

    • I know, how about you just don’t click on the articles any more?
      Just keep on scrollin’ buddy. Keep on scrollin’.

  • What a stupid question. Answers to mysteries like this are cleverly hidden on the relevant road authority’s web site.

    Actually, scratch that, yeah keep driving they’re only joking the first time around…

    • Also DUI offenders should be disqualified forever.
      That would reduce congestion. I like it

  • We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve answered a variation of this question.
    So why do you keep answering them? It seems like nearly every Ask LH question is licence related. Are you not getting any other questions worth publishing?

    • I just checked back on the Ask LH archives. There have been three licence-related posts (including this one) from the past 50. I think you might be overstating the issue somewhat.

  • Licence suspensions aren’t all nationalised. I’ve known a few people who’ve managed to have their licence suspended only within NSW for unpaid fines. Which in the ACT, means you’re basically trapped, but still, it didn’t apply in ACT. Plus points carrying over between states seems to be luck of the draw, it’s more common than it used to be, but still not guaranteed.

    • That used to be the case, but not anymore. Licence suspensions are national. The only way you can be suspended in one state and not in the other is if there has been a cockup in interstate reporting.

      • How recently? Because points were meant to be nationalised 5-8 years ago, and I can tell you right now they still don’t carry over very often.

  • I don’t think the NSW double demerit points for holiday periods apply to interstate drivers

    • Absolutely it does. The issue is the number of demerit points against you, not how they have been assigned.

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