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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
You have not been guilty of a driving offence in 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:
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:
Persuading the court
The relevant information can be communicated to the magistrate through:
What if my application fails?
If the local court rejects your application, you can make another after at least 12 months.
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.
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.
Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.
Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.
We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.
Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia. Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities. We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.
We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running. The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004. We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.
Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.
Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers. We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court. This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases. And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists. All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005. An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field. Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.
Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet. The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’. Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.
No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.
The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide. Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes. A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.
In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state. Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at email@example.com.