Traffic Law > Traffic Offences > Drive Whilst Unlicensed Never Licensed

Drive Whilst Unlicensed/ Never Licensed

Driving whilst unlicensed/ never licenced- section 53 of Road Transport Act 2013

Maximum Penalties


First offence

Second or subsequent offence




Maximum court-imposed fine

$2,200 (Maximum 30 penalty units)

$3,300 (maximum 50 penalty units)

Maximum prison term


12 months

Minimum disqualification


3 months

Default period of disqualification


12 months

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

You should consider pleading ‘not guilty’ and fighting the matter in court if you disagree with the allegation.

The prosecution must prove two ‘essential elements’ beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be found guilty.

The elements as follows:

  • That you drove a vehicle on a public road
  • That you did not hold a valid or appropriate licence at the time that you drove, OR that you have never held any type of driver’s licence.

Our expert defence lawyers will also advise you of any defences that you can raise to explain your actions, for example:

  • Where you were coerced or threatened into driving without a licence (duress)
  • Where you drove unlicenced to avoid serious injury or death – for example, driving someone to hospital in a medical emergency (necessity)
  • Where you honestly and reasonably mistakenly believed that you had a valid licence (honest and reasonable mistake of fact)

Before you enter a plea to any charges, you should always speak to an experienced traffic lawyer who you can trust to accurately advise you about your options and what to do next.

Pleading Guilty

It is important that you speak to an experienced traffic lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options.

If you decide or have been advised to plead guilty to driving unlicensed/ never licensed after receiving legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer, it is crucial that your case is sufficiently prepared to maximise your chances at obtaining a lenient sentence. 

Utilitarian Value or 25% discount on punishment

The discount for the utilitarian value of the plea of guilty will be determined largely by the timing of your plea entered. That means, the earlier you enter a plea of guilty, the greater discount you receive on your punishment and also the type of sentence you receive.

The utilitarian value of a delayed plea is less and consequently the discount is reduced.

Types of Penalties

Types of penalties the Judge can impose on you include any one of the following:

Our expert defence team at Criminal Lawyers Sydney may be able to negotiate the police ‘facts’ to reduce the seriousness of the offence.

Our team will guide you on obtaining materials which can be handed-up to the court during your sentencing – including a letter of apology, character references and any documents from counsellors or health care professionals you have consulted.

These materials, together with persuasive verbal submissions by your lawyer in the courtroom, can help to ensure you receive the most lenient penalty that is possible in the circumstances.

If you have been charged with AVO or contravene AVO, call Criminal Lawyers Sydney anytime on (02) 91528619 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced AVO lawyers who will review the allegations and advise you of your options and the best way forward.