Disqualification or cancellation of licence

Losing your licence can really make life difficult. You can get into serious trouble if you drive when you are disqualified from driving or your licence is cancelled.

Find out:

  • What being disqualified means
  • What does cancellation of licence mean?
  • How to check if your licence is qualified or cancelled
  • What being under fines suspension means
  • When you can apply for an extraordinary licence
  • What might happen if you get caught driving with a disqualified or cancelled licence

What is disqualification from driving?

Disqualification from driving is a penalty that the court can give you for an offence that is related to driving or a motor vehicle. The police can also immediately disqualify your licence if you are charged with certain drink or drug driving offences.

This means that you are not allowed to drive for the period of time that the court tells you. You are also not allowed to apply for a licence during that time.

Disqualification is similar to being 'suspended' from driving. Once the disqualification ends, you are normally able to drive again using your current licence.

What is cancellation of licence?

Cancellation of licence means that your licence is no longer valid, even once a disqualification has finished. In order to be able to drive again, you need to apply for a new licence. You can find our more about the process of applying for a new licence from the Department of Transport website.

If you are convicted of certain traffic offences, your licence can also be automatically cancelled. Before you can re-apply for a licence, you will need to wait until any period of licence disqualification or suspension has finished. 

You should be aware that cancellation is done by the Department of Transport. Your licence can be cancelled, even if the magistrate or court only imposed a licence disqualification and did not mention cancellation.

If you are P-plater, your licence can be automatically cancelled when you are convicted of some offences, or if your licence is under a demerit point suspension.

What does being under fines suspension mean?

If you have unpaid fines or infringements, the Fines Enforcement Registry can issue a Licence Suspension Order. This is sometimes called 'fines suspension', to make it clear that it is different to a demerit point suspension or licence disqualification from a court.

If you have a Licence Suspension Order, it can be complicated to work out when you can drive again if your licence is also disqualified by a court.

Does my disqualification run while I am in prison?

No, in most cases your disqualification will not run while you are in prison. However it depends on the date you were disqualified and the law you were disqualified under. Get legal advice if you are unsure.

How can I check if I am under disqualification or cancellation?

You can check the status of any disqualification or demerit point suspension against your licence on the Department of Transport website. This does not show Licence Suspension Orders.

To check whether you are subject to a Licence Suspension Order for unpaid fines or infringements, you can check with on Department of Justice website.

What about interstate disqualifications?

Each state and territory has its own driver's licence, but Australia has a system so you can only hold one driver's licence at a time. 

If your driver's licence has been disqualified in another state or territory, this disqualification will also be recognised in Western Australia. Similarly, if you are disqualified from holding a driver's licence in WA, the disqualification will apply to any driver's licence you have from anywhere else in Australia.

Can I apply for an extraordinary driver’s licence?

If you have been disqualified, but there is a good reason why you need to be able to drive, you may be able to apply for an extraordinary driver’s licence (an EDL). If your licence is disqualified and cancelled, you can apply for an EDL but will need to re-sit your test before you can drive under the EDL. 

If you licence is cancelled, but you were not disqualified from driving (or the disqualification has ended), you cannot apply for an EDL. Instead, you can just re-apply for a driver's licence.

What can happen if I drive when my licence is disqualified or cancelled? 

This is a serious offence and your licence will be disqualified from driving again for at least another 9 months, on top of any existing period of disqualification. If you repeatedly drive when your licence is suspended, disqualified or cancelled, you can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

Can I ever ask for a licence disqualification to be lifted?

If the court has disqualified you from holding a driver's licence for 3 years or more for a single offence (including life disqualification), you may be able to apply to have the disqualification lifted. There are waiting periods before you can make the application. You usually need to show evidence that you have changed your behaviour.



More information

Department of Transport


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.