What can you expect when caught driving without a licence?

Driving without a licence comes with various different penalties for those who are caught and convicted. The legal classification covers a number of offences and can affect different people in alternate ways. 

Punishments for Driving without a licence

The sanctions for driving without a licence can vary from a monetary fine to penalty points on your licence. If you are caught driving without a licence, you need to be aware of the punishments you may face and the severity of the accused crime. 

These penalties include: 

  • 3 to 6 points (granted you do own a licence) 
  • Maximum level five fine of up to £5000
  • Possible driving ban (enforced for provisional drivers after passing their test).
  • Prolonged period of disqualification. 
  • Community Service.

For cases that are pursued further, the defendant may find themselves facing up to six months imprisonment. 

Driving whilst suspended

The DVLA carries the right to suspend your driving licence on the grounds of an unsuccessful communication between them and the driver, either to add points onto a licence or to confirm a motoring offence. If you fail to respond to DVLA letters, they can revoke and suspend your ability to drive until you surrender the licence. Surrendering your licence allows the DVLA to add any outstanding penalty points. 

Being suspended means you are prohibited from driving on any road or public highway. If you are caught doing so you could face a prison sentence and a further driving disqualification. If you have been convicted for the same offence at a previous date, you are more likely to face imprisonment rather than a fine or penalty points.  

Not owning a license

28% of Britons over the age of 17 do not own a driving licence, meaning they have never applied for a provisional license and have never passed a driving test. These citizens are not qualified to drive on UK roads, and will face penalties if they do so. 

If you are caught driving simply without owning a licence, you could be fined up to £1000 and may also be disqualified from driving. A prison sentence is unlikely if this is your first offence, but becomes increasingly probable the more charges you have on your record. 

Learner Drivers 

To classify as a learner driver, you must apply for a provisional licence that will remain interim until you have successfully passed a UK driving test. To be able to practice as a learner, you must have a qualified driver occupying the passenger seat and must not operate a vehicle on your own. 

The only circumstance in which a learner driver would be prosecuted for driving without a licence would be if there were no visible L plates displayed anywhere on the car. This penalty also applies if the accompanying passenger is not someone over 21 with a three-year or older licence. 

If you are caught and prosecuted for “driving without a licence” as a provisional driver, then you may receive a fine and a possible ban on driving after you’ve passed your test. 

What can we do? 

Being caught with driving without a licence could resort in a court case, with the defendant requiring legal help. Here at Driving Laws UK we can offer you quick expert legal advice from our solicitors, regardless of the motoring offence, either by email or telephone. We also provide a case preparation and representation service for when you are given a court date.

If you have been accused of driving without a licence, visit our services & pricing page to explore your options and understand how we can help.