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Driving without a licence

Under section 74 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) , it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road without a valid licence.

Penalty - if previously authorised to drive

Where a driver is caught driving without a valid licence but has previously been authorised to drive a vehicle of the relevant class on a road, the maximum penalty is $1250.

In this section, "authorised to drive a motor vehicle of a particular class on a road" means:

  1. the person holds a licence authorising him/her to drive a vehicle of that class;
  2. the person holds a licence for a different class, and has sufficient driving experience for the grant of a licence authorising him/her to drive a vehicle of that class; or
  3. the person holds a learner's permit.

The authorisation may be under the law of any Australian State or Territory.

See Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74(1).

Penalty - if never been authorised to drive

If a driver is caught driving without a valid licence and where they have never been authorised to drive a vehicle of that class, the maximum penalty is $2500 [Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74(2)]. But if the driver has never been authorised and is convicted of driving without a licence a second or subsequent time within 3 years of an earlier offence of:

  1. driving without ever having been authorised; or
  2. driving while disqualified

there is a mandatory minimum 3 year licence disqualification, in addition to a maximum penalty of $5000 or imprisonment for 1 year [Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74(5)].

Penalty - if not authorised to drive following a serious drink driving offence

Where a driver has committed a serious drink drive offence, serves a period of disqualification and then drives without renewing their licence, they will be subject to the maximum penalty for driving unlicensed i.e. $5000 or imprisonment for 1 year, as well as the mandatory minimum 3 year licence disqualification [Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74(2a)].

A serious drink driving offence includes any drink driving offence other than a category one offence, or a category two offence that is also a first offence - see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 81E for definition.

Penalty - if not authorised to drive following certain drink or drug driving offences

If a driver has been disqualified for certain drink or drug driving offences, and drives without first reapplying for their licence at the end of the disqualification period, they will face a maximum penalty of a fine of $5000 or imprisonment for 1 year [see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) ss 74(2ab) and 74(2ac)].

This applies in one of the following circumstances where the offence for which the person was disqualified for:

  • was a drink or drug driving offence where a child aged under 16 was also present in the vehicle [see Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) ss 47(a), 47(1a), 47B(1a), 47BA(1a), 47EAA(9a), 47I(7)] ; OR
  • was a prescribed drink driving offence (i.e. anything other than a Category 1 PCA offence), and they have been convicted of at least 1 other prescribed drink driving offence OR have been convicted of, or expiated, at least 2 other drink driving offences committed within the preceding 5 years before the commission of the disqualifying offence [see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74(2ab)(c)(ii)]; OR
  • was a drink driving offence and they have been convicted of, or expiated, at least 2 other drink driving offences committed within the preceding 5 years before the commission of the disqualifying offence [see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74(2ab)(c)(iii)]; OR
  • was a drug driving offence and they have been convicted of, or expiated, at least 1 other drug driving offence within the preceding 5 years before the commission of the disqualifying offence [see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74 (2ac)(c)(ii)].

Where a driver is convicted of an offence pursuant to section 74(2ab) or 74(2ac), and where the maximum penalty is a fine of $5000 or imprisonment for 1 year, they will also be liable to serve a mandatory 3 year licence disqualification [see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74(5)(a)]. This disqualification period cannot be reduced or mitigated in any way [see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 74(5)(b)].

Driving without a licence  :  Last Revised: Wed Apr 18th 2018
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