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If you don’t want to get caught up in the legal web of penalties from hefty fines to imprisonment,  make sure that your license is always up to date and not expired. Penalties for driving with an expired license varies from case to case, but in most cases, the police and the courts regard driving with an expired license as a blatant disregard for the law and other road users.

The offences of driving with an expired or cancelled licence are covered under sections 53 and 54 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), and different penalties apply to those offences if you:

  • drive a motor vehicle on a road without holding a valid NSW drivers license to do so, or you employ or permit another person to do so;
  • drive a motor vehicle on a road and you have never been licensed to do so; or
  • drive a motor vehicle on a road whilst you are disqualified from driving, or your licence is suspended or cancelled.

If you are caught driving without a current license, you need an experienced traffic lawyer by your side.

 

What are the penalties you could face?

The range of penalties start from traffic infringements and lead up to prison.  The kinds of penalties you could face depending on whether you are a first-time offender or a repeated offender, as well as the circumstances surrounding the offending behavior. For example, if you are a first-time offender, your penalty wouldn’t be so harsh. Or if your license is only just expired, you may not even be charged at all, but given a police warning instead. However, if you are a repeat offender driving with your license cancelled, you might not be so fortunate.

Offence Minimum disqualification Default * disqualification Maximum fine Maximum gaol sentence
Driving unlicensed s.53(1)(a) ** Court decides Court decides $2,200 No gaol
Driving never licensed-first offence. s.53(3) Court decides Court decides $2,200 No gaol
Driving never licensed-second offence. s.53(3) 3 months 12 months $3,300 6 months
Driving while disqualified, cancelled or suspended-first offence. S.54(1),(3) or (4)

(except if suspended for non-payment of fines)

3 months 6 months $3,300 6 months
Driving while disqualified, cancelled or suspended-second offence***

(except if suspended for non-payment of fines)

6 months 12 months $5,500 12 months
Driving while cancelled or suspended for non-payment of fines. s54(5)-first offence 1 month 3 months $3,300 No gaol
Driving while cancelled or suspended for non-payment of fines. s54(5)-second offence 3 months 12 months $5,500 6 months
* If the court does not impose a specific period, then the default disqualification period will apply

** The section numbers refer to the Road Transport Act 2013

*** A ‘second offence’ is when you are convicted within 5 years after you were convicted of either the same or an ‘equivalent’ offence-s.9(2)

 

THINGS TO REMEMBER IF YOU ARE PULLED OVER BY POLICE

If you are charged with a traffic offence, there are certain things that you can do in order to ensure that you make the best of the situation you are in.

Firstly, be polite. If you are found to be driving with an expired license by a police officer, your behaviour will be recorded and may be used in court a lot of things. So be courteous and respectful towards the officer.

Secondly, don’t say too much.  The more you talk, the greater the chance you talk yourself into an admission.

Thirdly, speak to an experienced Traffic Lawyers and obtain some advice on how to best approach your matter.