Unlicensed Driving - Never Held/Expired Licence

What Is Unlicensed Driving with An Expired Licence or Never Held a Licence?

Driving without a valid driver’s licence in Queensland is an offence. There are many types of unlicensed driving offences depending on the circumstances.

This page is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice. The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of the interpretation of the contents of this page. It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem.   

At the low end of the scale, unlicensed driving applies to people who have forgotten to renew their licences. At the high end of the scale, unlicensed driving also applies to people who have been disqualified from driving by a Queensland Magistrate and have been caught driving before their disqualification period ends. The scale of the offence and whether a person’s licence will be disqualified depends on the circumstances of the charge.  

Unlicensed Driving – never held a licence applies in the circumstance where the driver is not authorised to drive on the roads because they have failed to obtain a licence. It does not include a person unauthorised to drive due to disqualification.

If you have been charged with unlicensed driving or driving with an expired license, it is best to get legal advice. Contact our expert lawyers at Brooke Winter Solicitors today for more information.  

The Law Regarding Driving Without a Licence

Section 78 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act (Qld) states; 

(1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road unless the person holds a driver’s licence authorising the person to drive the vehicle on the road. 

 (3) If the court convicts a person of an offence against subsection (1) and any of the following circumstances apply, the court, whether or not any other sentence is imposed, must disqualify the person from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver’s licence for the period mentioned in relation to the circumstance 

  • (k) if, at the time of committing the offence, the person had never held a driver’s licence for at least 3 months. 

Elements of Driving with an Expired Licence

It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant has committed the offence. Every charge has a number of elements that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. For the charge of unlicensed driving either with an expired licence or if you’ve never held a licence the prosecution must prove; 

  1. Defendant – The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender;
  2. Did Drive;
  3. A Motor Vehicle;
  4. On a Road Or Road Related Area
  5. and they were Not the Holder Of A Valid Driver’s Licence (never held one or expired) 

Maximum Penalties for Unlicensed Driving

There is a mandatory minimum disqualification period of 3 months as set out in legislation. The actual disqualification period you will receive depends on the severity of the breach and the Magistrate’s discretion.  

Further to a disqualification period, the court may impose the maximum penalty of $4712 fine or 1 year imprisonment.  

It is not possible to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence or any other type of authorisation to drive if you are found guilty of disqualified driving. 

Driving Without Licence Fines and Convictions

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of unlicensed driving due to an expired license or because they’ve never held a licence then the court could impose one of the following penalties in conjunction with the disqualification period: 

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time);
  • Intensive Corrections
  • Order;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service Order;
  • Fines.

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the defendant. 

Possible Defences for Unlicensed Driving

There are a number of defences available to unlicensed/expired licence charges. Not every defence is available for every charge. You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge. Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are; 

  • Necessity;
  • Mistake of Fact;
  • Public Safety;
  • Self Defence or defence of another person;
  • Intoxication;
  • Provocation;
  • Accident;
  • Duress;
  • Compulsion;
  • Insanity;
  • Automatism

The charge of unlicensed driving will be heard in the Magistrates Court of Queensland.  The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty. There is no jury in the Magistrate’s Court.    

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer. 

Brooke Winter Solicitors

Call an Expert

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert criminal lawyers and can represent you in court.  

Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court. 

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