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Unlicenced Driving - Unlicenced Or Expired - QLD

What the law says

Section 78 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act Queensland states:

  1. A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road unless the person holds a driver licence authorising the person to drive the vehicle on the road.

* Note that an unlicensed driver is a driver who is not authorised to drive on the roads by virtue of suspension, expiration or failure to obtain a licence for the vehicle driven.  It does not include a person unauthorised to drive by virtue of disqualification.

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

The accused:

  1. Was a driver of a motor vehicle on the road; and
  2. Did not hold a driver licence authorising the person to drive the vehicle on the road; and
  3. Did not hold a driver licence as:
    • (a) They never have been granted a driver licence; or
    • (b) They have previously been granted a driver licence but it has expired or has been suspended.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.

Maximum penalty

Maximum penalty- 40 penalty units or 1 year's imprisonment.

For offenders have not had a prior related offence in the past 5 years, the police have the discretion to issue you with an infringement notice only.  The maximum penalty of 40 penalty units applies.  

In the event you are charged with the offence, you will be imposed with a licence disqualified as follows:

  1. If you have a prior unlicensed driving offence in the past 5 years: minimum disqualification of 1 month and maximum disqualification 6 months (section 78(3)(h) Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act;
  2. If you have accumulated 4 or more demerit points in a single 12 month period, during which you were unlicensed: 3 month disqualification (section 28 Transport Operations (Road Use Management - Drivers Licensing) Regulation;
  3. If you are pulled over or fined via mail for committing the offence of speeding for than 40km/hr over the speed limit and found to have been unlicensed at the time of that offence: 6 month disqualification (section 30C Transport Operations (Road Use Management - Drivers Licensing) Regulation;
  4. If you are charged with unlicensed driving, where you were unlicensed by virtue of a suspension that was imposed as a result of an accumulation of demerit points: 6 month disqualification section 78(3)(c) Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act;
  5. If you are charged with unlicensed driving, where you were unlicensed by virtue of a suspension that was imposed as a result of a prior high speed offence (driving 40km/hr plus over the limit): 6 month disqualification section 78(3)(e) Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act;
  6. If you are charged with unlicensed driving, where you were unlicensed by virtue of a suspension that was imposed by SPER (the State Penalties Enforcement Register): minimum 1 month and maximum 6 month disqualification section 78(3)(g) Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act.

Penalty unit = $100.00

Which court will hear the matter

Under section 3(5) of the Criminal Code Act  Queensland this offence is classed a simple offence and therefore may be heard in the Magistrates Court pursuant to section 19 of the Justices Act Queensland.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused held a valid licence authorising him/her to drive
  2. The accused did not hold a valid licence but was not driving on the road
  3. The accused was not in fact disqualified from driving due to a high speed conviction
  4. Duress - example: there was a threat of violence against the accused or some other person that the accused reasonably believed would be carried out if they did not drive.
  5. Necessity - example: there was an extraordinary emergency
  6. Insanity
  7. Identification i.e. the accused was not the driver
 

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