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Driving without a license

Traffic Lawyers for Drive Whilst Suspended or Disqualified - ss 53 and 54 Road Transport Act 2013

Driving without a valid drivers' license 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
  • Drive while suspended, cancelled or disqualified - s 54 Road Transport Act 2013
Driving without a valid license can result in harsh penalties that affect your ability to work, travel and obtain a license 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 license 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. 
Drive while unlicensed/never licensed - s 53 Road Transport Act 2013

Driving whilst unlicensed, or when you don’t have a license, 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.

Your Options

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 unlicensed or never licensed, 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 license at the time that you drove, OR that you have never held any type of driver’s license.

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 license (duress)
  • Where you drove unlicensed to avoid serious injury or death – for example, driving someone to hospital in a medical emergency (necessity)

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.

Pleading Guilty

If you wish to accept the allegations against you, you can simply choose to plead guilty at the outset.

Pleading guilty early on may help you get a better result in your case, because it shows to the magistrate that you have accepted fault for your actions.

This remorse and honesty can often encourage the court to deal with the matter more leniently than if you had been found guilty after a trial or defended hearing.

However, before pleading guilty, you should speak to a lawyer to find out whether there is any way to fight the charges in court.

You should also be aware of the maximum penalties that you could face. These will depend on the charges and whether it’s your first offence, or whether you have committed other offences.

Offence

Max penalty if first offence (or first offence in the past five years)

Max penalty if second or subsequent offence (in the past five years)

Drive while unlicensed (not having the appropriate license, or having an expired license)

Fine of $2,200.

Fine of $2,200.

Drive while never licensed (never having a driver’s license, or having a driver’s license that expired more than five years before the offence)

Fine of $2,200.

Fine of $3,300 and/or imprisonment for 18 months. Automatic disqualification from obtaining a license for 3 years.

While these penalties may seem harsh, it’s important to remember that they only apply in the most serious cases.

In fact, our highly experienced traffic lawyers can often help you avoid these harsh penalties by persuading the magistrate to issue you with a ‘section 10,’ which is where you are found guilty of the offence but no conviction is recorded on your criminal record.

We are able to secure these positive outcomes as a result of our considerable experience defending traffic matters, which has enabled us to develop tried and tested methods of obtaining excellent outcomes in these cases. 

Other penalties that the court can impose include:

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 unlicensed, 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 unlicensed case.

Drive while suspended, cancelled or disqualified - s 54 Road Transport Act 2013

Driving while your license is suspended, cancelled or disqualified is treated seriously by the courts and can result in onerous penalties, such as large fines or even imprisonment.

The potential for these serious consequences to impact your life can leave you feeling upset and alone.

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, irrespective of how serious the charges are. 

Your Options

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 license had been suspended by the RTA or police, cancelled by the RTA, 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

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.

Pleading Guilty

If, on the other hand, you simply want to accept the charges against you, you can plead guilty at the beginning of the case and go straight to sentencing to have your penalty determined.

Pleading guilty at an early stage can help you get a better result in your case as it will show the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions, which can encourage the magistrate to give you a more lenient penalty.

However, before pleading guilty, you should speak to an experienced traffic lawyer who will be able to advise you of whether there is some way to fight the charges and be found ‘not guilty.’

If you want to plead guilty, you may be wondering what type of penalties you could face.

If it is your first ‘major driving offence’ in the last five years, the maximum penalty for driving whilst suspended, cancelled or disqualified is a fine of $3,300 and/or 18 months imprisonment.

Furthermore, if you are found guilty, you will also be disqualified from driving for at least a further 12 months, however the court can impose an unlimited disqualification period.

If you have committed one or more ‘major driving offences’ in the past five years, the penalties are harsher. You could face a fine of $5,500 and/or imprisonment for two years.

In addition to this, you will face a mandatory disqualification period of two years, however the court can impose an unlimited disqualification period.

It is important to remember that these are maximum penalties only – so while you will be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months, you will only face imprisonment and/or heavy fines in the most serious cases.

Plus, with the help of our specialist traffic lawyers, you may be able to avoid harsh penalties by persuading the magistrate to impose a more lenient penalty, for example:

In some cases, our expert lawyers may even be able to convince the magistrate to deal with the matter by way of a ‘section 10,’ which is where you are found guilty of the offence but not convicted.

This means that you won’t end up with a criminal record, which can affect your work and travel plans.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

When your license 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 license 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 license 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.  

So don’t settle for a junior lawyer. Get the best lawyers on your side by calling us on (02) 9261 8881 and booking your FREE first conference today. 

More Information

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 license has expired in the last five years, or where you do not have the appropriate license to drive a particular vehicle (for example, driving a heavy vehicle when you only have a car license.
  • Driving whilst never licensed is where you drive a vehicle despite never having a driver’s license, or where your license expired more than five years before the offence.
  • Driving whilst suspended is where you drive while your license 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 license suspended if you fail to pay fines.
  • Driving whilst cancelled is where you drive while your license 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 license.
  • 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. 

Penalties for Unlicensed Driving in NSW



What should I do next?

Driving without a license

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Driving without a license
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