Drive While Unlicensed Or Never Licensed – s 53 Road Transport Act (NSW)

Charged with a driving while unlicensed/never licensed offence is daunting, with prospects of your licence being disqualified, loosing your job & the impact on family commitments.

Our traffic lawyers have over 20 years experience, with a proven track record, in successfully helping people avoid disqualifications. This is achieved by getting a s.10 non conviction in court.

Our expert team are confident in maximising your chances at success through their significant experience and thorough preparation.

Your Options in Court

You can only be guilty of driving unlicensed if police can prove each of the following 2 elements in court:

  • You drove a motor vehicle on a road; and
  • You were not licensed to drive at the time.

You can only be guilty of driving while never licensed if police can prove each of the following 2 elements in court:

  • You drove a motor while on a road; and
  • You have not held a driver licence in Australia in the last 5 years

You will be not guilty, and your charge dismissed, if police are unable to prove any one of the 2 elements of those offences.

Defences to this charge

You will be Not Guilty if:

  • Where you are exempt from this offence i.e. You are a visiting driver and you hold a current foreign driver licence that is written in english or accompanied by english translation, or you hold a foreign driver licence and international driving permit.
  • Mistaken identity: Where you were not the person driving.
  • Honest and reasonable mistake defence: Where you honestly believed you were entitled to drive, if the court believes that your belief was reasonable in the circumstances.
  • Duress or Necessity: Where you did it due to coercion or threat, or where you did it to avoid serious harm.

Your charge will be dismissed if any one of the above defences apply to your case.

Our senior traffic lawyers are expert leaders in traffic law. They have won countless hearings in court for over 20 years.

With a proven track record of getting charges dropped early, their lawyers are leading experts capable of advising you on your best defence.

If pleading guilty to an offence of driving unlicensed or never licensed, the below tips and pointers will help you best prepare your case, and maximise your chances at avoiding a disqualification, by achieving a s10 non conviction.

25% Discount on punishment

Pleading guilty at the earliest possible time in court will result in a 25% discount on your punishment. This means you get more leniency with a better chance at avoiding a licence disqualification.

The later the plea of guilty is entered in court, the less that discount gets. This is why it’s important to get early advice from an experience traffic lawyer.

Traffic Offenders Program

Completing an accredited traffic offenders program often leads to a much more lighter punishment, and better chances at s10 to avoid a disqualification. Completing the program allows the Judge to take into account your insight and understanding of the road rules.

Our traffic lawyers will guide you into enrolling into an accredited course recognised by the courts in NSW.

Good character references

Gathering letters from family, friends, work, charity and a letter of apology from you, for the Judge to read, generally helps the Judge consider giving you a lighter penalty. This will often cause a better result in court.

To make the most of this, the letters should express your need for a licence, effect of losing your licence, impact on your job, effect on family commitments, your good character, remorse, insight and shame.

Our traffic lawyers can guide you in this process.

Negotiate to drop charges

By analysing the police evidence relating to your unlicensed or never licensed offence, you can pick out and point to all the holes in it. You can then tactfully approach police, to negotiate with the purpose of getting them to drop the charges early.

This is something our lawyers specialise in, with great success for over 20 years.

Negotiate facts

The police set of facts is read by the Judge in considering your punishment. It expresses your offending behaviour, your manner of driving, what you said to police at the time and other details which may be inaccurate, and one sided. This can result in a heavier punishment.

To avoid this occurring, you can pick out the holes in the evidence, and use this when negotiate with police to change those facts to something more favourable to you. This often then results in a more lenient penalty, and better chances of avoiding a licence disqualification.

Our traffic lawyers have a proven success record in this for over 20 years.

Psychologist reports

Getting a highly experienced and respected psychologist or psychiatrist to draft a court report for the Judge to read can drastically improve your court result, giving a much lighter punishment to avoid a licence disqualification.

For best chances at achieving this, the report should comment on any mental condition at the time, your explanation for driving, your remorse, insight and shame.

Our traffic lawyers can hand select the best suited psychologist or psychiatrist for your case.

Maximum penalty

The maximum punishments are only generally given to the most serious offenders who commit this offence.

For an offence of driving unlicensed, the maximum punishment is a fine of up to $2,200.

For an offence of never been licensed, where you haven’t held a driving licence in the last 5 years, the maximum punishment is a fine of $2,200.

If you have previously committed the offence of never been licensed in the last 5 years, the maximum punishment is a fine of up to $3,300 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months. There is also an automatic licence disqualification of 1 year, with the option for the Court to reduce this to a minimum of 3 months disqualification.

You will completely avoid a licence disqualification if the Court gives you a section 10/conditional release order, non conviction.

Types of penalties

Depending on how you prepare and present your case as discussed above, the Judge will give you any one of the below kinds of punishment for this offence:

  1. Section 10 Dismissal
  2. Conditional Release Order
  3. Fine
  4. Community Correction Order
  5. Intensive Correction Order
  6. Full Time Imprisonment

More information

If you’re a visiting driver from another country, its important to know that you must obtain a NSW driver licence if:

  • You’re a visiting driver (other than NZ), and you hold a permanent visa and have lived in NSW for a continuous period of more than 3 months from the time your visa was granted.
  • You’re a visiting driver (other than NZ), and you are an Australian citizen, and have lived in NSW for a continuous period of more than 3 months.

For the best chances to avoiding a licence disqualification for your drive while unlicensed or never licensed offence, speak to one of our highly experienced traffic lawyers.

Our expert team hold a proven track record of successfully achieving s.10/CRO, non convictions for over 20 years on countless occasions. Allowing you to continue driving.