Non-renewal or suspension of licence & registration
Under Part 8 of the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic) (FRA), the Director of Fines Victoria may direct VicRoads to suspend or not renew a driver licence or vehicle registration, or not transfer a registration, whether or not the infringement relates to a motor vehicle offence (see ss 88(1) and 89(1) of the FRA).
Non-renewal or suspension of driver licence or vehicle registration
The Director of Fines Victoria can direct VicRoads to not renew, or to suspend, or not transfer a driver licence or vehicle registration without issuing a seven day notice if a notice of final demand has been issued for:
an infringement offence, whether or not the infringement offence involves a vehicle; or
an offence for which a court fine was imposed, whether or not the offence involves a vehicle; or
an infringement offence or an offence in respect of which a registered collection and enforcement order was made, whether or not the infringement offence or the offence involves a vehicle (s 88 of the FRA).
If a direction has been made not to renew a vehicle registration, VicRoads must not transfer the registration to any other person pursuant to s 89(1)(c)(iii) of the FRA and s 9AE of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) (RSA).
Ending Driver and Vehicle Sanctions
The Director of Fines Victoria must direct VicRoads to cease the suspension or non-renewal of a driver licence or registration or non-transferral of registration if any of the following occurs:
payment in full of the outstanding amount;
a payment arrangement has been made;
an attachment of earnings or debt order has been made;
an application for enforcement review results in enforcement cancellation;
property has been seized which is sufficient to satisfy the outstanding amount;
the person is arrested;
the relevant enforcement warrants have been recalled and cancelled;
infringement warrants have expired;
the Director of Fines Victoria, in the Director’s discretion, considers that the application of any sanction being imposed is no longer an appropriate enforcement mechanism (see s 91 of the FRA).
Options for your client
It is extremely important to advise your client to take immediate action if a direction has been made to VicRoads to suspend or not renew your client’s driver’s licence or vehicle registration or not transfer vehicle registration.
It is critical that your client is advised that they must not drive, during the period of the cancelation of their license or registration under Part 8 of the FRA
Pursuant to s 7(1) of the RSA driving in a vehicle that is not registered will attract an infringement penalty of up to 25 penalty units (or $4,029.75 as of 1 July 2018) for the first offence and up to 50 penalty units (or $8,059.50 as of 1 July 2018 for the second and subsequent offence.
Similarly driving without a license can attract an infringement penalty of up to 10 penalty units (or $1,611.90) pursuant of s 30AA of the RSA.
These infringements are at the higher end of penalties that can be imposed and Police are unlikely to equivocate about issuing these infringements where the client is engaging in conduct that is both an offence under the RSA and which is circumvent enforcement measures being taken against them to force them to deal with their infringements.
If the warrant has not yet been executed and the seven-day notice has not yet expired, your client should also take, subject to instructions and circumstances, one of the following options:
Contact the sheriff: subject to the client’s instructions, it is worthwhile contacting the sheriff to inform them that you are assisting the client to prepare an enforcement review application and to ask for enforcement to be put on hold and a note of this to be made on their system. The sheriff will not usually guarantee that they will not execute the warrant but the sheriff may try to delay based on this request. It is imported that you do not disclose your client’s current address in these conversations.
Apply for an enforcement review under s 32 of the FRA for the cancellation of the enforcement of the infringement fine and withdrawal of the infringement fine if there are sufficient grounds (including on the basis of enforcement review for special circumstances or because your client was not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence).