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Driving Without a Licence

The police can stop your vehicle and ask to see your driving licence at any time. If you do not have it with you, you may be asked to present it at a police station. It is an offence to drive a vehicle without the appropriate licence, and the penalties can include a £1,000 fine, discretionary disqualification and between three and six penalty points.

There are many circumstances that can lead to prosecution, including having the incorrect licence for the class of vehicle you are driving, driving while disqualified, driving after a licence has been revoked on medical grounds or simply never having passed a driving test.

As with driving without insurance, it is up to the defendant to prove they did have a licence at the time of the alleged offence, and there are sometimes complexities surrounding the class of vehicle and whether a particular licence covers its use. There may be ‘special reasons’ a court will consider in mitigation when deciding a case.

At Nelson Guest & Partners, we have successfully defended numerous clients in respect of road traffic offences driving licence related matters, and we are vastly experienced in this area of UK law.

If you think you have been unfairly prosecuted, then it is important to contact us as soon as possible for a free assessment of your circumstances and an assessment of how you can receive the fairest outcome. If you have already been sentenced, then it may be possible to appeal your case.

Talk to our road traffic offences solicitors in London

If you have been charged with or convicted of driving without a licence, our London road traffic offences lawyers can help.

For immediate advice and representation, call our experts now on 020 8309 5010 or use our contact form to request a call back.

For a guide to the resources available to help you, see road traffic offences resources

How our team can help with a driving without a licence charge or conviction

We routinely deal with all aspects of driving charges and convictions, providing expert representation and advice to ensure your rights are safeguarded. Our services include the following:

Police station representation for driving without a licence

If you have been asked to attend a police station interview, we can accompany you to give you guidance and protect your interests. It can be a stressful event, and having a solicitor by your side can ensure you do not inadvertently damage your case and that the correct procedure is followed by the authorities.

Advice if you have been released under investigation

If you are released under investigation, it means that an investigation into your conduct is ongoing. The police may not have sufficient evidence to charge you with an offence at this time, but they will continue to look at your case to see whether a case can be made against you.

You will be left to wait to find out whether anything further will happen or whether the case will be dropped. If you ask us to represent you at this time, we can contact the police to request updates and liaise with them to provide further information that has been requested, where it is in your interests to do so.

Representation for court proceedings

If you have been charged with driving without a driving licence or a combined offence such as driving without a licence and insurance and you have been notified of a court date, we can prepare a strong defence on your behalf.

While driving without a licence is referred to as an ‘absolute’ offence, meaning there is not any viable excuse, there may be a defence available to you. For example, if you were not driving the car yourself or if there is a valid reason why you did not know that your licence was not valid or your employer had told you that you were licenced to drive a particular type of vehicle, then we can defend you on this basis.

If there are mitigating circumstances for your offence, then we will put these forward on your behalf. This could result in a lesser sentence, for example, fewer points added to your licence. If you or your family would suffer exceptional hardship in the event that you were to lose your licence, we may also be able to argue this on your behalf.

Appealing a conviction for driving without a licence

If you believe you should not have been convicted for driving without a driving licence, then you have 21 days in which to make an appeal. This could be in respect of the offence or against the sentence that has been imposed.

We can advise you as to whether you have sufficient grounds on which to appeal your conviction, and where you do, we will put together a strong case on your behalf.

Our driving without a licence defence fees

We take driving without a licence cases on a fixed fee basis, meaning you will know from the outset how much the costs will be for our work throughout the process, to include representation at the police station, during the investigative stage and at court and advice to you throughout.

For more information about our fees and the work included, see our Road Traffic Offences Fees page.

If you have any questions or you would like a quote for legal assistance with a driving without a licence case, please feel free to call us for a confidential, no-obligation discussion.

Is driving without a licence a criminal offence?

It is a criminal offence to drive without a licence. You are required to hold a full, valid driving licence unless you are a learner with a provisional licence.

It is also a criminal offence to drive a vehicle other than one that you have a licence to drive. For example, if you have driven a large van that is over the maximum authorised mass (MAM) for your licence, then you will be breaking the law.

If the police believe that you have falsely declared that you are fit to drive, you can also be charged. This includes failing to notify the DVLA of a disability that you have. Similarly, it is also an offence to drive after your licence has been refused or revoked on medical grounds.

Is driving on a provisional licence without a qualified driver a crime?

If you have a provisional licence because you are learning to drive, it is a criminal offence to drive without being accompanied by someone who is aged over 21 and who has a full, valid licence which they have held for at least three years. The vehicle must be properly insured and display ‘L’ plates while the learner is driving.

What is the penalty for driving without a licence?

There is a range of penalties for driving without a licence or as an unaccompanied learner, as follows:

  • A fine of up to £1,000
  • Up to six points on your licence
  • Disqualification from driving

Driving without a licence and insurance involves a further offence, for which you will accrue more penalties.

What are the penalties for driving while disqualified?

Driving while disqualified is a more serious offence than driving without a licence and consequently carries more serious penalties, as follows:

  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • Six points on your licence
  • A further period of disqualification
  • The possibility of being ordered to carry out community service
  • Up to six months in prison

If you have been charged with driving while disqualified, it is strongly recommended that you seek expert legal representation, given the seriousness of the penalties that could be imposed on you.

Get in touch with our team about a driving without a licence charge or conviction

If you have been charged with, or convicted of, driving without a licence, our London road traffic offences lawyers can help.

For immediate advice and representation, call our experts now on 020 8309 5010 or use our contact form to request a call back.