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Unlicensed / Disqualified Driving

In Queensland a person must possess a valid driver licence before operating a motor vehicle on a road. Unlicensed drivers are those who lack this authorisation because their licence has expired, been disqualified or suspended, or they never obtained a licence at all.

Firstly, if your feel your case is urgent however, please get in contact with us immediately.

Disqualified driving is an aggravated form of unlicensed driving because that person was actually disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence by court order.

Anyone charged with unlicensed driving needs to seek legal advice immediately as the penalties may range from a fine to imprisonment. The period of disqualification can also vary significantly and as such it is imperative you seek legal advice to achieve the best possible outcome.

If you have been charged with an offence of unlicensed / disqualified driving in Queensland you may find the following information helpful:

Police Requirements

First and foremost, the person must have been caught driving or operating a motor vehicle on a road and without having the necessary licence. Furthermore, the police must show why the person does not have a licence, whether it be because they never obtained one, or their existing licence has been suspended, disqualified or has expired.

When A Court Appearance Is Mandatory

Individuals presented with an infringement notice need not appear in Court (unless they contest the charge). Others, however, will be required to go before a Magistrate. This includes those who have never obtained a driver licence but were caught operating a motor vehicle on the road. The same is true of people who have been disqualified from driving as a result of a high range drink driving offence (or are a repeat offender within five years) and have failed to obtain the interlock ignition device as a result of not being granted a licence after the disqualification period ended. The only exception to this is when the licence expired within four weeks of when the offence was committed.

Factors Considered By The Court

The Court takes many factors into consideration when handing down penalties. The interest of the public, along with the criminal and traffic history of the accused. The driver’s physical and mental capacity, along with their medical history, will be taken into account. Any further or associated offences that are committed while the person is unlicensed to drive play a role in the penalties imposed, and the Court retains the right to take into consideration any other factors they believe are relevant to the case.

Why Legal Representation Is Needed

Lawyers understand the nuances of the law and work to reduce the consequences a driver will face when charged and convicted of this offence. For example, a lawyer may bring up a person’s medical history to explain why they were driving in a certain manner or will examine the case to ensure law enforcement acted appropriately. The average citizen isn’t well versed in appropriate defences, thus they cannot craft an appropriate case.

Potential Defences That May Be Used

A lawyer reviews available defences to determine which should be used based on the facts of the case. In some situations, the person was caught driving as a result of an extraordinary emergency or they were under duress.

Mandatory Penalties

Penalties for unlicensed driving vary depending on the reason why you were unlicensed. The Court upholds the view that unlicensed driving while disqualified by Court Order to be a particularly serious offence and as such the range of penalty is much more severe than if you were unlicensed due to a suspension or an expired licence.

Certain circumstances mandate the Court impose a particular penalty. Any driver who has never obtained a driver licence, yet is found to be driving, will be disqualified from obtaining a licence for three months.

In Queensland, the maximum penalty for unlicensed driving simpliciter is one year imprisonment or forty penalty units. Additionally, individuals who have not been convicted of a previous offence of unlicensed driving within the previous five years may find that law enforcement only issues an infringement notice. That said, the maximum penalty still is in effect.

There is no mandatory disqualification of a person from holding or obtaining a driver licence unless a circumstance of aggravation occurs. For instance, individuals who have been convicted of a prior related driving offence within the previous five years will find they are disqualified for a minimum of one month and a maximum of six months.

If a person is convicted of unlicensed driving while they were on a demerit point suspension, the court must disqualify them from holding or obtaining a driver licence for at least 6 months. This is mandatory.

Individuals who are convicted of unlicensed driving, and lost their licence as a result of a suspension imposed by the State Penalties Enforcement Register will have their driver licences disqualified for a minimum 1 month and maximum of 6 months.

If a person is convicted of unlicensed driving while disqualified by Court Order, the maximum penalty is 60 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment. There is also a mandatory minimum 2 years disqualification period with a maximum 5 years.

You should contact a lawyer to determine which range of penalty applies to you. It is important to note that Restricted Work Licences or Special Hardship Orders are not available to people who have been charged or convicted of Unlicensed Driving.

Contact our firm today for assistance with this matter. This is of great importance, especially for those who are repeat offenders and may be facing imprisonment.

We are on call 24 hours 7days.  If you need a Lawyer, call us any time on 1800 465 569 or 0411 881 030


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Brisbane CBD QLD 4000

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Suite 30610, Southport Central 3 9 Lawson Street Southport QLD 4215

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Maroochydore QLD 4558

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