Drive Unlicensed / Never Licensed / Expired

Driving unlicensed is a serious offence. The penalties that can be imposed by a Magistrate for this offence depend on whether you have previously held a licence or not.

The prosecution have to prove the following:

  1. That you were the driver of the vehicle; and
  2. That you do not possess a licence; and
  3. That you were not exempt from holding a licence.

These elements must be proved beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution.

If you have never held a licence and are convicted of driving unlicensed, the potential penalties are as follows:

  • First offence –
    • Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN): $677
    • Fine: $2,200
    • Automatic Disqualification period: none, but the Court has the discretion to impose a disqualification period.
  • Second or subsequent offence –
    • Fine: $3,300
    • Gaol: 18 months
    • Automatic Disqualification period: 3 years

If you are caught with unlicensed driving relating to driving a vehicle of a class you are not authorised to operate the penalties are as follows:

  • Class C, R, LR or MR –
    • PIN first offence: $441,
    • PIN subsequent offences: $677
  • Class HR, HC, or MC –
    • PIN first offence: $530,
    • PIN subsequent offences: $1059
  • *Motorcyclist –
    • PIN first offence: $441,
    • PIN subsequent offences: $677
    • *Refers to a provisional rider licence holder driving a motorcycle with capacity greater than 660 ml or a power to weight ratio greater than 150 kilowatts per ton.

If you are caught driving unlicensed due to your licence being expired the penalties are as follows:

  • Licence expired for under 2 years –
    • PIN first offence: $441
    • PIN subsequent offences: $677
  • Licence expired for 2 or more years –
    • PIN first offence: $530
    • PIN subsequent offences: $1059

You should also be aware that if you are licensed in another state, but have been living in New South Wales for at least 3 months you can also be fined for driving unlicensed. For your first offence the PIN fine is $441 and for any additional offence the fine PIN fine is $677.

It is important to note that there are several defences that can you can use when defending yourself against the charge of unlicensed driving such as:

  • You were under duress;
  • You were driving as a result of necessity;
  • You had a honest and reasonable belief that you still possessed a valid licence; or
  • You were not the driver.
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