Driving Unlicensed / Disqualified in QLD

The Offence

Unlicensed Driving

Driving Unlicensed / Disqualified in QLD can occur in a number of ways, when an individual’s driver’s licence is suspended (or deemed suspended) for one of the following reasons:

  1. Expired licence – You have forgotten to renew your licence
  2. SPER suspended – You have a debt with the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) and they have suspended your licence until the debt is paid
  3. Demerit Points suspension – You have accrued too many demerit points on your licence and your licence is suspended for a set period of time. Queensland Transport would have sent a letter about exceeding your demerit points with a ‘Notice to Choose”, electing for a 3 month disqualification, or having failed to elect the 12-months good driving behaviour period

Disqualified Driving

Disqualified driving means you have been disqualified by a court. This is a very serious charge, as it shows a blatant disobeying of an order of a Magistrate. You can be disqualified for driving for a number of offences, including:

If your licence has been suspended or disqualified in Queensland it is illegal to drive on a road or road related area in a vehicle class to which the suspended licence relates to. It may be in your best interest to contact a Brisbane Driving Defence Lawyer for accurate legal advice and representation.

If you didn’t know that your licence was suspended or disqualified then you may have a defence. However, your belief must have been honest and reasonable in all the circumstances. The question of reasonableness is a question that can only be answered after speaking to an experienced legal practitioner who routinely handles these types of cases.

The Penalty

Driving Unlicensed

Driving unlicensed is a much less serious offence than driving disqualified, and does not hold a mandatory licence disqualification. The court will likely impose a fine for the offence and depending on the severity of the circumstances, may impose a period of disqualification.

Driving Disqualified

If you drive a motor vehicle in Queensland while disqualified from holding a driver licence, you will be dealt with by a court for disqualified driving.

If convicted of this offence, the court must disqualify you from holding a driver licence for an additional period of at least 2 years – up to a maximum of 5 years. You may also receive a fine of up to $6600 or be imprisoned for up to 18 months.

It is however unlikely that a first time offender will receive a term of imprisonment, and on most occasions discretion will be exercised by the Magistrate to impose an additional disqualification, together with a fine.

Unlicensed/Disqualified Driving – Penalty Table

Can I defend the charge?

The most common defence in relation to driving whilst unlicensed is that of “honest and reasonable mistake”. Other available defences, including those applicable to driving disqualified, include Duress, Necessity, Emergency or Factual Dispute.

If you didn’t know that your licence was suspended or disqualified then you may have a defence. If you didn’t, whether that belief was a reasonable one to have in all the circumstances is a question that can only be answered after speaking to an experienced traffic law expert who routinely handles these types of cases.