The Penalties for Driving Without a License or Recently Expired Driver License

Under Queensland law, if you are charged with driving without a licence or driving on a recently expired licence you may face a number of penalties including imprisonment, fines or disqualification of drivers license.  


Driving without a License 

What happens if you are caught driving without a legally valid licence? 

You will be charged with an offence under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) 


What is the Penalty for driving without a licence? 

Under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act the maximum penalty for driving without a licence is: 

    • 60 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment or  
    • 40 penalty units and 1 year’s imprisonment. 

You may alternatively receive an infringement notice if:  

    • The person has not been convicted of driving without a licence in the preceding 5 years; and 
    • The person has not had their driver licence disqualified in the previous 2 years for drink driving; and 
    • The person has been the holder of a valid driver’s licence previously. 

If given an infringement notice, you must not be:  

    • An interlock driver whose driver licence was not granted after a disqualification period for drink driving; 
    • An interlock driver who did not hold a valid Queensland driver’s licence (or had it expire over 4 weeks ago) at the time of the offence and the person’s interlock period has not ended. 


What does the court take into account? 

The court will consider a few things when deciding on what penalty you will receive including:  

    1. Aggravating or Mitigating factors   
    2. Public interest; 
    3. Criminal and Traffic history; 
    4. Relevant Medical history, Mental or Physical Impairment or Physical Capacity; 
    5. Other Relevant Matters  
    6. If the offence was committed in the prosecution or attempted prosecution of another offence and what the nature of the offence is; 


Driving with a recently expired license 

What happens if you drive with a Recently Expired licence? 

You may be subject to an infringement notice under the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999. 


What is a Recently Expired Licence? 

A licence which expired less than a year before the offence was committed. 

It could also be a licence which was withdrawn less than 1 year previously because the holder of that licence had a mental or physical incapacity which made it unsafe for them to drive a car. 


What is a Recently Expired Licence? 

If you have been charged with driving on a recently expired driver licence, a police officer may grant you a permit authorizing you to drive to a stated place to safely store your vehicle. 

The permit must:  

    1. Be in an approved form; and 
    2. State the number of the infringement notice; and 
    3. State the term, not longer than 24 hours, for which it is issued; and 
    4. State the conditions, if any, on which it is issued. 


Will my license be suspended?  

In some circumstances, the court must automatically disqualify a person from driving including:  


Been caught driving without a valid licence? Seek legal advice 

There are serious ramifications if you are being charged with driving without a licence. This is the same if you are driving on a recently expired driver’s licence.  

If you unsure of your legal rights and options you should speak to an experienced Brisbane Traffic lawyer 

If you would like to make an appointment to discuss your situation, please call us on 07 3252 0011. 


Links for further resources: