The penalties handed down for unlicenced driving charges can vary greatly depending on the circumstances on how you came to be unlicenced in the first place.
If you forgot to renew your licence or you have never held a licence
The penalty for this type of unlicenced driving charge is at the Magistrates discretion and in most circumstances, depending how long your licence had been expired or your traffic history, can result in no suspension being put on your licence and you just receiving a small fine. There are however circumstances where if you were never licenced that the court will impose a 3 month disqualification.
However, if you have received an unlicenced driving charge in the past 5 years and are caught again then there is a penalty of between 1 to 6 months.
If you had a SPER debt and failed to pay it
Often people refer their fines to SPER to pay off. When SPER received the debt a payment agreement is made between SPER and yourself. Should you fail to honour the agreement and make the agreed payments your licence will be suspended for anywhere between 1 to 6 months. The mandatory minimum suspension time is the 1 month if you were caught driving on a SPER suspended licence and the Magistrate has no choice but to suspend your licence. In these types of unlicenced driving charges the fact that you did not receive the letter from SPER advising that your licence was going to be suspended on a certain date is not an acceptable defence. The Legislation states that Queensland Transport only need to show they sent the letter to you, not that you received it.
If you are demerit point suspended
If you exceed your demerit point limit (12 points in 3 years) you will be sent a letter from Queensland Transport. This letter will give you the option to have your licence suspended for a 3 month period or to go on a good driving behaviour period. If you do not reply and advise them which option you would like to select by the nominated date you will automatically be given the 3 month suspension. If you are caught driving during the 3 month period the penalty is a mandatory 6 month licence suspension. With this one particular charge, unfortunately engaging a Lawyer cannot achieve a lesser disqualification period.
Failing to have your licence re-issued by QLD Transport after serving a suspension period
If your licence is suspended by the Court you should have handed your licence in when the penalty was handed down in Court. Upon completion of the suspension period you must attend Queensland Transport and have your licence issued again. Until you do this you are deemed suspended still and if you are caught driving the penalty can be between 1 to 6 months.
Driving during your Court or Police ordered licence disqualification period
If you are disqualified from driving in a Court or are on a licence suspension period by the Police and are caught driving within the time you were ordered not to, it is classed as disqualified driving which holds a licence disqualification anywhere from 2 to 5 years. For more information on disqualified driving charges see - http://drivinglaw.com.au/services/disqualified-driving.html
Many people are unaware that they are unlicenced when they are charged with the offence. This can be due to multiple reasons. Some ways to avoid being expectantly charged with unlicensed driving are:
- Always ensure that your current residential address is known to Queensland Transport Department and SPER, if you have a debt with them.
- If you work away from home you should have someone monitor your mail in case any correspondence comes to you advising you have an overdue SPER debt, you have exceeded your demerit point limit or you receive a fine.
- If you have a SPER debt that is direct debited from a bank account always ensure there are funds available for the payments to come out from. Also, if you change banks or close a bank account ensure the SPER payments were not connected to that account. If so you need to advise SPER of the bank account detail change immediately.
Here at Clarity Law we represent unlicenced drivers in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients. Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do. We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice. If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
For more information visit our drink driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week
Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.