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Driving Without A Licence – The Penalties That You Can Expect

Drivers in the UK are required to have the correct type of licence for the vehicle they are driving. Under the Road Traffic Act 1998, it is a serious offence to drive a vehicle without a licence or to drive a vehicle without a licence that is appropriate to the class of vehicle that is being driven, including learner drivers. If breaking this law, drivers can face fines, penalty points and a driving ban.

Caught Driving Without A Licence?

If you have been caught driving without a driving licence you will be sent a notice of intended prosecution letter and will need the services of an experienced motoring solicitor who can build a strong defence that could reduce the penalties you are ultimately likely to receive as a result of the offence.

Your case will be heard in Court where a magistrate will decide on the sentence to issue you based on the seriousness of the crime, your previous driving record if applicable, any mitigating circumstances or appeals, and the strength of your defence.

Caddick Davies Can Help

Caddick Davies Solicitors offer representation for individuals facing the charge of driving without a licence. Our expert team can help to keep any penalties issued to a minimum and have defended many cases in motoring courts throughout England and Wales successfully.

By working to establish the facts of your case, we build a strong defence or appeals case and provide a defence counsel that can be relied on in Court to give you the best chance of a positive outcome.

If being able to drive is important to your work, livelihood, wellbeing and family, then it’s important to ensure that you pass the relevant driving tests and that you have a valid driving licence that covers you to drive the types of vehicles that you need to drive. Failing to do this can have serious knock-on consequences to life and can be a costly mistake to make.

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Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly and reliable advice

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Read on to understand more about the offence of driving without a licence including the penalties involved, how it may affect your ability to drive in the future and how a solicitor can help.

The Offence In More Detail

Driver handing police officer driving licence out of car window

Driving without a licence is a serious offence that if committed can carry significant penalties. It can also be referred to as ‘driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence’ and covers the following scenarios:

  • Being caught driving without holding any kind of valid driving licence
  • Being caught driving a vehicle without having the correct classification for that vehicle as an entitlement on your driving licence. To operate any vehicle other than a standard car, drivers must pass further driving tests to obtain the correct licence. Examples include minibuses, heavy good vehicles and motorbikes.
  • Being caught driving an automatic car when only holding a driving licence for a manual car.
  • This law also covers learner drivers as individuals learning to drive must have a provisional licence and must be accompanied by a full licence holder aged 21 or over who have held their licence for a minimum of three years.

If you have received a notice of intended prosecution or court summons through the post as a result of driving without a licence offence, which can apply in any of the circumstances outlined above, you should contact Caddick Davies for a no-obligation consultation to discuss how we can help you to protect your driving licence and minimise any action taken against you.

What Are The Penalties?

Driving without a licence or driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence can lead to individuals being issued with between 3-6 penalty points and up to £1,000 in fines.

UK courts take a dim view of drivers caught driving a vehicle for which they don’t have the correct entitlement but the penalties issued will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and the strength of your defence in court.

We have included a summary of the most common reasons that a driver will be charged with this offence and the penalties and endorsements that can apply below:

Circumstances of offence  Penalties 
An individual has not passed a driving test but has been caught behind the wheel of a vehicle. 
  • Between three and six penalty points for when you do have a licence
  • A maximum fine of £1,000
  • A possible ban, enforceable when you do pass your test
An individual is a learner driver holding a provisional licence and is caught;

  •  driving without a supervisor who is over 21 and has held their licence for 3 years or more, 
  • Or driving without displaying L plates on the vehicle 
  • Between three and six penalty points for when you do have a licence
  • A maximum fine of £1,000
  • A possible ban, enforceable when you do pass your test
An individual has an ordinary full driving licence and is caught driving a class or type of vehicle they are not licenced to drive. For example a large goods vehicle, motorbike or minibus.
  • Between three and six penalty points for when you do have a licence
  • A maximum fine of £1,000
  • A possible ban, enforceable when you do pass your test
An individual has only passed an automatic car driving test and is caught driving a manual car. 
  • Between three and six penalty points for when you do have a licence
  • A maximum fine of £1,000
  • A possible ban, enforceable when you do pass your test
If an individual has passed the required test and has an entitlement to drive the vehicle they are using but at the time of the offence the licence had been either revoked or suspended.
  • Between three and six penalty points for when you do have a licence
  • A maximum fine of £1,000
  • A possible ban, enforceable when you do pass your test

Due to the number of variations in the situations of when this offence applies, it’s important to seek legal advice as early as possible when facing charges of driving without a licence. This will ensure that you have the best chance of reducing the penalties faced or avoiding them all together by working with a team that has an excellent understanding of motoring law, factual and technical defence that exists.

___________________________________________________________________________

Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly and reliable advice

____________________________________________________________________________

What Outcome Will I Get?

Sentencing book

Whilst the penalties outlined above show what action can be taken against you, it doesn’t mean you will face all of the sentencing options listed. As in all motoring offences, the type and severity of the punishment handed to you will be up to the magistrate’s discretion and in line with sentencing guidelines for the offence you have committed.

The court is required to consider your driving record to date, the seriousness of any outcomes that occurred as a result of your offence, and any aggravating factors that were in play at the time and location when the offence was committed, and any special reasons of mitigating circumstances that led to the offence being committed.

Aggravating factors that will be considered include; if you have never held a licence of any sort, the weather at the time of the offence if you were caught driving without a school or other high pedestrian traffic area, had passengers in the car at the time, or were caught driving on a motorway as a learner driver for example.

If any of these aggravating factors are involved in your driving without a licence case then Caddick Davies can address these in your defence to prevent them from adding any unnecessary severity to the outcome of your case.

Defence Against The Charges

You will need a good defence to challenge, reduce or overturn the charges made against you and even if you plead guilty, a strong defence, special reasons, and expert knowledge of road traffic law and sentencing can still reduce the penalties issued to you.

Caddick Davies is a team of motor defence solicitors that specialise in putting together strong defence arguments to support individuals charged with driving without a licence. We work on your behalf to challenge the allegations against you, minimise penalties issued to you or submit special reasons or apply for exceptional hardship provisions which would persuade the judge not to impose any penalty points and or fines.

We use a combination of factual and technical defence and appeals to support your case which may include;

  • Appeals on technical grounds such as missing information or incorrect details issued on the Notice of Intended Prosecution, failure to be notified that your licence had been revoked
  • Submit arguments of special reasons that mitigates the punishment if there were special reasons that led you to decide to drive without a licence.
  • Submitting claims of exceptional hardship should a driving ban be on the cards

How Can Caddick Davies Help?

Law cases books lined up on shelf

We will assess each case presented to us individually and without judgement to identify any factual or technical defence that can be used to appeal or overturn the charge in court or minimise the fines and/or penalty points that you are facing.

The specialist team of lawyers at Caddick Davies will:

  • review all the evidence of your case to establish the facts
  • build a strong defence by gathering evidence and presenting your case
  • provide a defence counsel that you can rely on in court
  • provide legal advice and consultation throughout your case

Related Questions

Does Driving On An Expired Licence Count? 

Depending on the reasons for the delay in renewing your licence, you can still face a penalty fine of up to £1000. A similar scenario is that you are unaware that your licence has been suspended or revoked.

Driving when suspended or revoked can occur without the driver being aware if they have been convicted of an endorsable motoring offence but the DVLA have been unable to contact you so that they can’t add the relevant points to your licence.

If you fail to respond to letters from the DVLA they will suspend/revoke your entitlement to drive while they wait for you to surrender it. Drivers may find themselves in this situation if they have recently moved house and haven’t updated their contact details with the DVLA.

Is Driving Whilst Disqualified The Same Thing?

Driving whilst disqualified is a different offence from driving without a licence. If caught driving whilst disqualified, this is a serious offence where you are at risk of six penalty points, a fine of up to £5000, community service, extended disqualification periods and imprisonment, because you will be seen to have ignored the order of the court.

Driving without a licence carries less serious consequences but is still endorsable with a minimum of 3 penalty points and the option of a fine. If you have been caught driving whilst disqualified, you should contact a motor defence solicitor at the earliest opportunity.

Read our driving whilst disqualified article for more information on this offence

How Can You Be Caught Driving Without A Licence? 

The latest speed cameras are equipped to verify additional criteria about the car and its driver as well as check your driving speed. These checks include if the vehicle is taxed, insured and if the driver is wearing a seat belt or using a mobile phone.

If triggered, police can stop you and check that you have an appropriate driving licence. Police cars also carry equipment that can check and verify who is insured to drive and the status of an individual’s driving licence, so if you are driving in a way that attracts the attention of a police officer, you could be pulled over and if you are driving without a licence, this will be discovered during their routine checks.

Summary

If you have been caught driving without a licence, we hope this article has given you a clear overview of the possible penalties involved and how a motoring defence solicitor can help you to minimise or overturn the charges and penalties that you face.

To recap, it is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1998 to drive a vehicle without a licence or without a licence that is appropriate to the class of vehicle being driven, which includes learner drivers. If caught, drivers face 3-6 penalty points and up to £1,000 in fines. The offence applies in all of the following scenarios:

  • Being caught driving without holding any kind of valid driving licence
  • Being caught driving a vehicle without having the correct classification for that vehicle as an entitlement on your driving licence. To operate any vehicle other than a standard car, drivers must pass further driving tests to obtain the correct licence. Examples include minibuses, heavy good vehicles and motorbikes.
  • Being caught driving when your driving licence has been revoked or is suspended.
  • Being caught driving an automatic car when only holding a driving licence for a manual car.
  • This law also covers learner drivers. Individuals learning to drive must have a provisional licence and must be accompanied by a full licence holder aged 21 or over who have held their licence for a minimum of three years.

If you have been caught driving without a licence, Caddick Davis can help. From the simplest to the most complex of cases, we are here to help and can represent you to provide a reliable defence when facing motoring offence charges. We will start every enquiry with an informal discussion to get a clear understanding of your circumstances and are here to answer any questions that you may have in confidence.

Our leading team of motoring offence solicitors at Caddick Davies have a reputation for success when it comes to defending motorists charged with driving offences. We work with clients all over the UK and are rated in the top 20 law firms on TrustPilot.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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