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Probationary licence


Probationary licences are granted whenever a person applies for the issue of a driver’s licence following a period of disqualification which resulted in the cancellation of their licence.

A probationary licence will be issued as a result of the following disqualifications:

  • drink driving offences [Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 81C]
  • by order of a Court (whether in SA or any other State or Territory of the Commonwealth)
  • breach of probationary licence conditions.
Time Held

A period of 12 months or, if the court orders, for a longer period [Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 81AB(3)].

  • driver must carry licence at all times while driving a motor vehicle [s 81AB(1)(a)];
  • must not drive a motor vehicle or attempt to put a motor vehicle in motion on a road while the prescribed concentration of alcohol* is present in his/her blood, or a prescribed (i.e. illicit) drug is present in his/her oral fluid or blood [s 81AB(1)(b)].

* prescribed concentration of alcohol in this context means any concentration of alcohol in the blood.

Breaches of Probationary Licence Conditions

Where a person breaches the probationary licence conditions they commit an offence [Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 81AB(5)] and also face the following penalties:

  • Disqualification for a period of 6 months [s 81B(1)(d)]; and
  • Cancellation of licence [s 81B(1)(e)].

For the maximum penalty (fine or expiation fees) for a breach of probationary licence conditions see the penalty summary.

Exceeding Prescribed Number of Demerit Points

Where a person holds a probationary licence and incurs two or more demerit points while holding that licence, they will face the same consequence as if they had breached a condition of their probationary licence:

  • disqualification for a period of 6 months; and
  • cancellation of the licence.

See section 81B(1)(c)(ii) Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA).

Appeals - Breach of Conditions

Where a driver on a probationary licence breaches conditions and successfully appeals he/she will be on probationary conditions for a period of 18 months rather than 12 months [Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 81BB(7)(g)].

The specific steps that apply following a successful appeal for a probationary licence are:

  • the existing licence is cancelled and the licence holder is entitled to a refund (on application to the Registrar) as if they were surrendering the licence [s 81BB(7)(a)];
  • the disqualification is removed and the person is entitled to apply for the licence afresh [s 81BB(7)(b)];
  • the provisions under section 81AB apply when the person is making the application for the licence as if, despite the removal of the disqualification, they had been disqualified as a consequence of the offence or breach and were making an application at the end of the disqualification period [s 81BB(7)(c)];
  • when the licence is issued probationary conditions are imposed for a period of 18 months [s 81BB(7)(g)].

See also Appealing disqualification for breach of conditions.

Breach of Conditions following a successful Appeal

Where a driver has successfully appealed a disqualification for breach of conditions and subsequently breaches a prescribed condition or exceeds a total of 2 demerit points, he/she will be disqualified from holding a licence for a period of 12 months and have their licence cancelled.

No further appeals can be made for a period of 5 years from the date of the last successful appeal.

Probationary licence  :  Last Revised: Wed Nov 1st 2017
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