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Criminal & traffic law

Losing your licence: Suspensions and disqualifications

Driver licence stop orders for unpaid fines

What is a “driver licence stop order”?

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 91A-91H

The Ministry of Justice can make a driver licence stop order against you if you have overdue fines or reparation (compensation to victims) for traffic offences. The order suspends your licence, or disqualifies you if you don’t have a current licence, and prevents you from driving until you pay the unpaid amount or come to a repayment arrangement with the courts.

When and how driver licence stop orders are made

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 91D, 91E

If you have overdue fines or reparation, the Ministry of Justice will send you a warning notice, explaining that if you don’t pay the unpaid amount or come to a repayment arrangement within two weeks (14 days) a driver licence stop order can be made against you.

If you haven’t dealt with your unpaid fines after the 14 days are up, the Ministry of Justice or a police officer at the roadside can make the order against you. When driver licence stop orders were first introduced in 2013, the government said the orders would be specifically targeted at people who have a number of unpaid fines.

What if I drive while the stop order is in force?

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 5(1)(c), 32, 96(1)(b)

It’s a criminal offence to drive while a drive licence stop order is in force against you. You can be imprisoned for up to three months or fined up to $4,500, and you’ll also get an additional disqualification for at least six months. Your vehicle will also be impounded for 28 days (see: “Automatic 28-day impounding for some traffic offences”).

How do I get rid of a driver licence stop order?

Land Transport Act 1998, s 91H

You’ll need to contact the Ministry of Justice on 0800 4 FINES to make a repayment arrangement for your fines or reparations. You can arrange to pay them off over time.

Note: Another option is to apply to the courts to have your unpaid fines replaced by a community work sentence. In that case, you’ll need to pay a licence replacement fee.

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Driving and traffic law

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres/

For Community Law’s guide to applying for a limited licence and template application forms: communitylaw.org.nz/resources/legal-letters

Waka Kotahi – New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi’s site provides a wide range of driving and road safety information, including on topics covered in this chapter.

Website: www.nzta.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 699 000
Email: info@nzta.govt.nz

Search your question on Waka Kotahi’s resources section: www.nzta.govt.nz/resources

New Zealand Police

The New Zealand Police’s “frequently asked questions” section provides helpful information, particularly the “Driving/road safety” and “Tickets/infringements” section.

Website: www.police.govt.nz/advice-and-services/faqs

New Zealand Government

The New Zealand government website sets out more information about driving fines and penalties, including how to pay for infringement notices.

Website: www.govt.nz/browse/transport/driving-fines-and-penalties

Consumer Protection

The Consumer Protection website has useful information on a range of consumer topics, including private parking tickets and the towing and clamping of cars.

Website: www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/help-product-service/cars/parking-clamping-towing

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