Driving Without a Licence
To drive in the state of Queensland, you must hold a valid drivers licence. If you do not have a valid drivers licence and continue to drive, this is known as unlicensed driving. Typically, unlicensed driving occurs where individuals have lost their licence due to loss of demerit points, failing to obey fine orders by the court or having been found guilty of high-speed driving offences.
Unlicensed driving is different from driving while disqualified. The offence for driving while disqualified applies only where a person continues to drive after disqualification. The penalties imposed for the different offences are therefore separate.
Penalty for Unlicensed Driving
Typically, if you are charged with the offence of unlicensed driving you are sentenced to a fine or a term of imprisonment. Both the maximum fine and term of imprisonment vary from case to case and are usually determined by the basis for which the person’s licence was originally suspended.
Is my Licence Going to be Disqualified?
Ultimately, yes. When you are sentenced for the offence of unlicensed driving, the Court must impose a mandatory period of disqualification, unless you have never previously held a driver’s licence. The period of disqualification will be with the Court’s discretion, however will usually range between 1 and 6 months.
Essentially, this means your licence must be disqualified for a minimum of 1 month and a maximum of 6 months. If you are charged with a unlicensed driving offence, we recommend you seek legal advice in relation to the disqualification period, as there may be various circumstances which limit or extend this period.
Is There Any Way I Can Continue Driving?
There are two “special licences” which allow you to continue to drive throughout the period of disqualification. These are known as the Restricted Licence (otherwise known as a “work licence”) and a Special Hardship Order. However, the eligibility criteria to obtain these licences are very narrow. Consequently, an application for these licences can only be made in particular circumstances.
Unfortunately, unlicensed driving offences fail to meet either criteria and will therefore not apply in any circumstance. Therefore, depending on the sentence passed, you will not be able to drive during the period of disqualification. Due to the failure to apply for special licences, it is important to seek legal representation to assist you to receive the lowest possible mandatory minimum period of disqualification.