What is Unlicensed Driving?

unlicenced driving at night
A person can be charged with unlicensed driving if they do not hold a valid licence while driving. There are a number of reasons why a person might not hold a valid licence, including:

  • They were disqualified from holding a licence by a court;
  • Their licence was suspended by the State Penalties Enforcement Registry;
  • Their licence was suspended due to accumulating too many demerit points; or
  • They simply forgot to renew their expired licence.

It is also an offence to allow another person to drive if the person knows the other person does not hold a valid driver’s licence.

Unlicensed driving offences are heard in the Magistrate Courts.

Unaware Of Your Driver Licence Suspension?

At Harper Finch Lawyers, we repeatedly hear from clients who did not know that they were driving while unlicensed. Unfortunately for them, they often find out when it’s too late and are charged with unlicensed driving.

There are many reasons why a person may not be aware of their current licence status, however in our experience the main reason is because they simply did not receive the suspension notice in the mail.

A notice outlining a licence suspension is sent to an address recorded in a database by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (also known simply as Queensland Transport). This means that mail can be sent to old or incorrect addresses, with the intended recipient never receiving this important information about their licence. This is why it can come as such a big shock for a driver to be told that they are not legally allowed to drive until their licence is valid again.

In other cases, someone may have legitimately been confused about the period of their existing court ordered disqualification, leading to them to be charged yet again with disqualified driving.

Every day, hardworking members of the community are caught in these situations despite honestly believing that they were permitted to drive. The unfortunate fact however is that not knowing about your licence suspension or disqualification is no defence.

To make matters worse, the punishment for unlicensed driving usually includes a lengthy disqualification period and significant fines. In these instances, people get hit with a double whammy of bad news when they find out that they are suspended or disqualified and then that they will face a further court ordered disqualification.

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, you need to ensure that you have expert legal representation to put your case forward effectively. It goes a long way in securing the best possible outcome.

Unlicensed Driving Penalties

The penalties for unlicensed driving depend on the reason why you were suspended or disqualified:

Reason for Suspension or Disqualification:Maximum Penalties:
Driving on expired licenceDisq: No mandatory

Fine: $4,000

Jail: 12 months

Driving while SPER suspendedDisq: 1-6 months

Fine: $4,000

Jail: 12 months

Driving while Demerit Point suspendedDisq: 6 years

Fine: $4,000

Jail: 12 months

Driving while Disqualified by courtDisq: 2 -5 years

Fine: $6,000

Jail: 18 months

As can be seen, almost all unlicensed driving offences carry mandatory licence disqualifications and significant fines. Jail sentences are also a possibility for the more serious offences. You will therefore want to make sure that you are properly represented so that you get the best outcome possible.

Brisbane Unlicensed Driving Lawyers

A licence suspension or disqualification can have a serious impact on a person’s life. It can prevent you from driving for work or driving your children to school. We can therefore help you to minimise the impact of being charged with unlicensed driving while expertly guiding you through the whole process from start to finish.

If you have been charged with unlicensed driving when you were unaware of the status of your licence due to never receiving notification, make sure your case is properly handled by specialised traffic lawyers, Brisbane professionals, Harper Finch Lawyers.

Get in contact with us today for an obligation free discussion on how we help you get the best result so you can get back to driving on the road and living your life normally again.