Driving without a valid drivers’ licence is one of the most common traffic offences. Under the law, there are two different offences which fall into this category:
- Drive while unlicensed/never licensed – s 53 Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW)
- Drive while suspended, disqualified, cancelled or refused – s 54 Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW)
Driving without a valid licence can result in harsh penalties that affect your ability to work, travel and obtain a licence in the future.
However, with the help of Sydney’s traffic law experts, you can give yourself the best possible defence in your “drive while unlicensed, suspended, cancelled or disqualified” matter so that you can move on with your life and get your licence back sooner.
Our expert defence team is highly experienced in fighting and winning serious driving matters and can give you the advice and representation necessary to secure a positive outcome in your case.
Driving whilst unlicensed, or when you don’t have a licence, can give rise to onerous penalties that can have a negative impact on your life.
But when it comes to fighting the charges, the right legal team can make all the difference.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® specialises in traffic matters – so you can trust our highly-respected expert lawyers to have the knowledge and skills to help you achieve the best outcome in your case.
Over many years, we have developed tried and tested methods to help you avoid harsh fines and lengthy disqualification periods.
Pleading Not Guilty
If you disagree with what the police are alleging, you should consider pleading ‘not guilty’ and fighting the matter in court.
Before you can be found guilty of driving whilst unlicenced or never licenced, the prosecution must prove two ‘essential elements’ beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That you drove a vehicle on a public road
- That you did not hold a valid or appropriate licence at the time that you drove, OR that you have never held any type of driver’s licence.
If you therefore believe that the prosecution will not be able to prove these two elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you can plead ‘not guilty.’
Our highly experienced traffic advocates will then thoroughly examine all the evidence to find problems with the prosecution case. We are frequently able to have charges dropped by raising these issues early on.
As a criminal law firm that specialises in traffic matters, we have the knowledge and experience to effectively fight the charges.
Where the prosecution does not withdraw the charges, our exceptional traffic lawyers can help you share your side of the story in court, as well as any evidence that may help your case.
We can also advise you of any defences that you can raise to explain your actions, for example:
- Where you were coerced or threatened into driving without a licence (duress)
- Where you drove unlicenced to avoid serious injury or death – for example, driving someone to hospital in a medical emergency (necessity)
- Where you honestly and reasonably mistakenly believed that you had a valid licence (honest and reasonable mistake of fact)
Remember, before entering a plea to any charges, you should always speak to an experienced traffic lawyer who you can trust to accurately advise you about your options and what to do next.
The following penalties apply if you wish to plead guilty.
|Offence||Penalty if it’s your first major traffic offence in the past 5 years||Penalty if it’s your second or later major traffic offence in the past 5 years|
|Drive while unlicensed (never licensed)||Fine of $2,200.||
However, it’s important to bear in mind that a good lawyer may be able persuade the court to impose ‘no conviction’ – which will mean there is no disqualification from driving, no fine and no other penalties.
Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time – but those mistakes don’t have to seriously impact your life or cost you your freedom.
At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we understand how important it is to have a clean criminal record – which is why we fight to ensure that our clients get the best result in every case.
Our lawyers appear in court on a daily basis in relation to “drive unlicenced, suspended, disqualified or cancelled” matters.
From our decades of combined experience winning some of the most serious traffic matters, we have developed and refined a range of skills and techniques to win your case, no matter how serious the charges are.
Often, going to court can be a lengthy and costly process – which is why we always push to have matters resolved outside of court, by finding problems with the prosecution case and asking for the charges to be dropped early on.
We also offer attractive fixed fee arrangements for these types of matters – so you know right from the start how much it’s going to cost you.
If you do go to court, you can count on our highly-respected Accredited Criminal Law Specialists to put forth the most compelling argument.
These senior criminal defence lawyers have been recognised for their expert knowledge of the law, as well as their ability to win the most complex criminal cases.
If you choose to plead guilty, our experts will fight to secure you a ‘section 10,’ where no conviction is recorded on your criminal record, leaving you free to work and travel as you please.
The right legal team can be the difference between winning and losing your case. So don’t settle for second-best – call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and let us help you win your drive while unlicenced case.
Driving while your licence is suspended, cancelled or disqualified is often treated seriously by the courts.
But you can count on the experts at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® to fight for you every step of the way and secure you the best outcome.
Pleading Not Guilty
If you don’t agree with what the police are alleging, you can plead ‘not guilty’ and fight the matter in court.
Before you can be found guilty of an offence, the prosecution has to prove the ‘essential elements’ of that offence.
In the case of driving whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified, the prosecution must prove:
- That you drove a vehicle on a public road
- At the time that you drove the vehicle, your licence had been suspended by the RMS or police, cancelled by the RMS, OR disqualified by the court.
If the prosecution is unable to prove both of these elements, you will be found ‘not guilty.’
In these situations, our expert traffic lawyers can help you fight the charges by highlighting problems with the prosecution case at an early stage and requesting that the charges be dropped.
Alternatively, if the matter proceeds to court, our Accredited Criminal Law Specialists will give you the strongest possible defence to the charges by effectively examining all witnesses and raising all relevant evidence in a persuasive manner.
Our lawyers can also help you identify whether you had a “reasonable excuse” for your actions – these are commonly known as defences. If accepted, they will result in a finding of “not guilty.”
Examples of defences for driving whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified include:
- Where someone coerced or threatened you to drive whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified (duress)
- Where you drove whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified to avoid serious injury or danger (for example, driving someone to the hospital in a medical emergency) – this is known as necessity
- Where you honestly but mistakenly believed that your licence was not suspended, cancelled or disqualified (reasonable mistake of fact)
If you want to plead ‘not guilty’ to driving whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified, it’s important to seek advice from an experienced traffic lawyer, who will be able to accurately advise you of your options when fighting the charges.
If you wish to plead guilty, the penalties for driving without a valid licence are as follows:
|Offence||Penalty where it’s your first major traffic offence in the past 5 years||Penalty where it’s your second or more major traffic offence in the past 5 years|
|Drive while suspended, disqualified, cancelled or refused||
|Drive while suspended due to a fine default||
It is important to be aware that the magistrate will have discretion to impose ‘no conviction’ – which will mean there is no disqualification, fine or other penalty.
A good lawyer will fight hard to achieve the best possible result in the circumstances, including a non-conviction where appropriate.
Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
When your licence and freedom is on the line, you want only the best traffic lawyers representing you in court.
For many years, the experts at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® have been successfully defending clients who have had their licence suspended, cancelled or disqualified.
Our experience has helped us develop tried and tested techniques to help protect your reputation and freedom.
Our in-depth knowledge of traffic law, combined with the excellent courtroom skills of our lawyers, means that you are guaranteed the best possible result in your case, no matter how serious the charges are.
If you want to plead ‘not guilty’ and fight the charges in court, our lawyers can help you win your case by raising any possible defences – for example, where you drove due to a medical emergency, or where you reasonably believed that your licence was still valid.
We will carefully examine all the evidence to determine whether there are any problems with the prosecution case, and push to have the charges dropped if there are any issues found.
Our lawyers can also assist you in achieving the best outcome if you choose to plead guilty. By putting forth your case in the most favourable light in a compelling sentencing submission, we can help you avoid the more serious penalties that can apply – such as imprisonment.
In many cases, we have been able to help our clients obtain a ‘section 10,’ which is where you are found guilty of the offence but no conviction is recorded on your criminal record.
We can obtain these types of excellent results due to the hard work and dedication of our lawyers, who appear in court on a daily basis and are highly respected by magistrates, judges and other members of the legal profession.
Going to court? Get the best lawyers on your side by calling us on (02) 9261 8881 and booking your FREE first conference today.
The law changed on 28 October 2017 to allow disqualified drivers to apply to the local court to remove their disqualifications and thereby get their licences back early.
Who can apply?
If you are a disqualified driver, you may apply for the removal of all disqualification periods where:
- Any of your existing disqualification periods relate to one or more of the following offences:
- Drink driving (driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol),
- DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs),
- Drug driving (driving with an illicit substance in the bloodstream)
- Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30km/h or 45km/h,
- Driving recklessly, furiously, in a manner or at a speed dangerous, or
- Menacing driving
- You have not been guilty of a driving offence in the past 4 years.
- Your remaining disqualification periods relate to a habitual offender declaration/s
You have not been guilty of a driving offence in the past 2 years.
- In any other case, you have not been guilty of a driving offence for the past 2 years.
Parking fines are not considered to be driving offences.
Is anyone ineligible to apply?
You will not be eligible to apply for the removal of your disqualifications if you’ve ever been guilty of one or more of the following offences:
- Any Crimes Act offence which includes death, grievous bodily harm or wounding by the use of a motor vehicle,
- Predatory driving,
- Police pursuit (Skye’s law),
- Negligent driving causing death or grievous bodily harm,
- Intentional menacing driving, or
- Failing to stop and assist after a collision.
How do I apply?
The application is filed in a NSW local court specifying that it is made under section 221B of the Road Transport Act 2013.
The application should be accompanied by an up-to-date driving record and particulars of any ‘pending proceedings’ for alleged driving offences.
A court date will be allocated at the time of filing.
What will the court look at?
On the court date, a magistrate will determine whether it is “appropriate” to remove all of your existing licence disqualifications.
In making that decision, the magistrate will need to take into account:
- The safety of the public,
- Your driving record, including any pending proceedings for driving offences,
- Whether you drove or were in a position to drive during the offence free period (ie the applicable 2 or 4 years outlined above),
- Your conduct after you were disqualified,
- The nature of the offence/s which gave rise to your disqualification/s,
- Any other relevant matters, including the availability of alternative forms of transport and the impact of the disqualification/s on:
- your capacity to travel for employment, business, education or training purposes,
- your ability to carry out carer or family responsibilities,
- your health, and
- your finances.
Persuading the court
The relevant information can be communicated to the magistrate through:
- character references from your employer or prospective employer, your business partner/s or work colleague/s, and/or anyone you provide care for, which should explain your need for a driver licence,
- a letter from you explaining your situation, including the hardship you experienced whilst disqualified and your need for a licence,
- any relevant medical letters from your doctor/s, or the doctor/s of anyone you are caring for, explaining the need for a licence,
- any relevant financial documents, and
- verbal submissions from you (if you are self-represented) or your lawyer inside the courtroom.
What if my application fails?
If the local court rejects your application, you can make another after at least 12 months.
What’s the difference between driving whilst unlicensed, suspended, cancelled or disqualified?
The law can be hard to navigate and understand, especially when it comes to complex legal terminology.
However, we have put together some information to help you understand the difference between driving whilst unlicensed, suspended, cancelled and disqualified.
- Driving whilst unlicensed refers to situations where your driver’s licence has expired in the last five years, or where you do not have the appropriate licence to drive a particular vehicle (for example, driving a heavy vehicle when you only have a car licence.
- Driving whilst never licensed is where you drive a vehicle despite never having a driver’s licence, or where your licence expired more than five years before the offence.
- Driving whilst suspended is where you drive while your licence has been suspended by the RMS or Police – for example, after you have accumulated demerit points, where you have been caught speeding by more than 30 kph, or where you have been charged with an offence such as mid or high range drink driving. You can also have your licence suspended if you fail to pay fines.
- Driving whilst cancelled is where you drive while your licence has been taken away or confiscated by the RMS. This may be done because you have committed an offence. Before you can legally drive again, you will have to apply for a new licence.
- Drive whilst disqualified is where you drive after the court has disqualified you from driving for a certain amount of time. You won’t be able to drive legally until the disqualification period ends. Usually this will occur if you have appeared in court charged with an offence such as drink driving or drive dangerously.
Each of these offences carries different penalties depending on what you have been charged with. If you are unsure about your charges, you can call us on (02) 9261 8881 and arrange a FREE conference to have our expert lawyers explain the charges to you.