There are various driving offences and New South Wales (NSW) has an extensive system of rules regulating driving offences. You commit a driving offence when you drive unlicenced or while your licence has been disqualified or suspended or cancelled or when you obtain your licence by misrepresentation or false declaration.

Under Sections 25A (1), (2) and (3) of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act, 1998 (the Act), a person who is disqualified by or under any Act from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence must not:

Drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area(s) during the period of disqualification; or

Make an application for a driver’s licence during the period of disqualification and must not state his or her name falsely or incorrectly or omit to mention the disqualification while making such application.

The maximum penalty for driving unlicenced varies depending upon whether you ever held a licence or not. As per Section 25(4) of the Act a person is considered not to be licenced in connection to an offence if the person did not hold a driver’s licence for a period of at least 5 years immediately before the commission of the offence. Offences for driving unlicensed occur in the following circumstances:

Driving while licence disqualified, suspended and cancelled: When you drive while your licence has been disqualified by a Court of competent jurisdiction or suspended or cancelled by the Roads and Traffic Authority (the RTA) you commit an offence. The law specifies penalties if you have been convicted of the offence of driving while your licence remained disqualified or suspended or cancelled for the first time and more serious penalties if you have been convicted of driving during disqualification for a second time within 5 years or have previously been convicted within 5 years for a major offence. 

Penalties for 1st offence include:

A maximum fine of $3,300; and/or

Imprisonment up to 18 months; and

A mandatory minimum disqualification period of 12 months.

While penalties for 2nd offence within a period of 5 years include:

A maximum fine of $5,500; and/or

An imprisonment up to 2 years; and

A mandatory minimum disqualification period of 2 years.

Driving while licence cancelled or suspended under the Fines Act 1996: Your licence may be suspended or your motor vehicle registration may be cancelled by the RTA owing to non-payment of fine(s). If you are a first time offender, you will be liable to penalties including a maximum fine of $3,300and/or imprisonment up to 18 months and a mandatory disqualification period of 3 months. Whereas, for a subsequent offence within a period of 5 years, you will be liable to a maximum fine of $5,500 and/or an imprisonment for a term up to 2 years and a mandatory minimum disqualification period of 2 years.

Driving in situations where you never held a licence: Where you have never held a licence and have been convicted of driving unlicenced, you will be liable to penalties including a maximum Court imposed fine of $2,200and a disqualification period as per the Court’s decision in case you are a first time offender. Whereas, for a subsequent offence, you will be liable to a maximum fine of $3,300 and/or an imprisonment for a term up to 18 months and a mandatory disqualification period of 2 years.

Licence obtained by misrepresentation or false declaration: Section 22 of the Act prohibits a person from obtaining or attempting to obtain a driver’s licence or renewal of a driver’s licence by a false statement or any misrepresentation or by other dishonest means such as using fake name, providing incorrect address and declaring wrong date of birth.

Other driving offences also include dangerous or negligent driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, predatory driving, illegal use of motor vehicle or when a learner driver is unaccompanied by a person having full licence.

If you are facing any issue in this regard, you may contact our team of experts at Owen Hodge Lawyers for assistance.

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