LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading
|
  • Resources & Technical Articles
  • Pre-Employment Screening Topics
  • Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z)
  • Driving & Traffic Offences
  • Locations
  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Driving Unlicensed Offences Driving Unlicensed Offences and Penalties in Victoria (VIC)

    Driving Unlicensed Offences and Penalties in Victoria (VIC)

    Obtaining a licence in Victoria may require some processes, but these processes are mandatory for any individual that intends to drive a motor vehicle on the roads of Victoria. Without a driver's licence, a person will likely have a run-in with the authorities.

    Consequently, this can result in an individual getting a fine or even facing imprisonment under the legislation of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic). The Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) spells out the actions that make up driving without a valid licence and its penalties.

    This article will discuss what the law says regarding driving without a valid licence, its penalties, and possible defences.

    If an individual is convicted in a Victorian court for a driving unlicensed offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Victoria.

    What the Victorian Legislation Says Regarding Driving without a Valid licence

    Under the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic), some offences fall under the act of driving without a valid licence. These offences include:

    #1. Driving Unlicensed in Victoria

    Based on Section 18 of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic), it is a crime for any individual to operate a motor vehicle of a particular class on a highway without possessing a Victorian licence, interstate or international driving licence. An offender under this section is liable to a punishment not exceeding 60 penalty units or six months imprisonment.

    However, suppose the offender had previously held a Victorian licence or an interstate/international licence, and a court did not cancel their driving licence due to a driving-related offence. In that case, they may receive a punishment not exceeding ten penalty units or one-month imprisonment.

    Furthermore, Section 18(3) of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) establish that a person may be liable to a maximum of 240 penalty units or two years imprisonment for the crime of driving without a licence under these three circumstances:

    • The individual was disqualified from possessing a driver's licence or permit under the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) or the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic).
    • The person had reached the end of their disqualification.
    • If the individual obtained a driving licence, it might come with an alcohol interlock order.

    Apart from the punishment earlier mentioned in this section, an offender under Section 18(3) of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) may have their vehicle immobilised for a period not exceeding 12 months.

    Nevertheless, the court cannot convict a person for the crime of driving unlicensed if the prosecution is unable to convince the court that:

    • The defendant does not possess a driving licence authorising them to operate a vehicle of a particular class.
    • Knowing they do not have a driver's licence, the defendant drove a car.
    • The accused drove the vehicle on a highway in Victoria.

    #2. Driving while Disqualified

    According to Section 30 of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic), it is an offence for an individual to drive a vehicle on a highway after a court or the Secretary has disqualified them from obtaining or possessing a driving licence. This offence comes with a maximum of 240 penalty units or two years imprisonment.

    However, for the court to convict a person under this section, the prosecution will need to establish that:

    • A court disqualified an accused from obtaining or possessing a driver's licence.
    • Being aware of their disqualification, the defendant drove a motor vehicle of a particular class on a highway in Victoria.

    #3. Driving while Suspended

    Based on Section 30AA of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic), a person can become guilty of a crime if they operate a motor vehicle on a highway when their licence or permit is under suspension in accordance with Part 8 of the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic).

    Nonetheless, the court cannot find a person guilty of a crime without the prosecution showing the court that:

    • The licence of the accused is under suspension.
    • The accused knew of their licence suspension but still drove a motor vehicle of a particular class on a highway without a legally justifiable reason.

    Possible Defences

    A defendant facing a charge for driving without authorisation can claim several defences. These defences sometimes can save the accused from a court conviction. Other times, it can result in the accused receiving less severe punishment.

    These defences are:


    #1. Mistake of Fact

    This defence is available to an accused if they made an honest mistake of thinking they had a valid driver's licence. However, an accused cannot just raise this defence in a proceeding without proving the reasonableness of their claim.


    #2. The Defendant Did Not Operate a Motor Vehicle

    In a trial for driving without authorisation, a defendant can claim the defence that they did not commit the crime of operating a vehicle. For this claim to stand in a trial, the defendant might need proof such as a witnesses' statement.


    #3. The Accused Did Not Operate a Motor Vehicle on a Highway

    If the accused can convince the court that they did not operate a vehicle on a highway, the court may find it difficult to convict them of driving without authorisation.


    #4. Necessity

    The defence of necessity is applicable in a situation where the defendant carried out the act of driving without authorisation to prevent an ugly occurrence. Nonetheless, the defendant will need to convince the court that driving unauthorised was the only alternative to prevent the event from taking place.


    #5. Duress

    If the accused committed the crime of driving unauthorised due to a threat they received, they could use the defence of duress. However, for the defendant to successfully prove this defence, they must show that they committed the crime because they genuinely believed the threat to be real.


    #6. The Defendant Holds an Interstate or International licence

    In Victoria, a person can use an interstate or international licence just the same as a Victorian driving licence. As such, if the defendant possesses a valid interstate or international driving licence, the court will be unable to convict them. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that once a person becomes a resident, they will need to apply for a Victorian driving licence.

    The Court that Handles Cases on Driving without a Valid licence in Victoria

    In Victoria, the Magistrates Court conducts most of the trials for driving without proper authorisation.

    Conclusion

    Many states in Australia have strict laws guiding the possession of a valid licence, and Victoria is no exception. Based on this reason, abiding by these rules is one of the best ways to avoid penalties. And if a person finds themself in a position where they are faced with a charge of driving without authorisation, they should seek legal counsel.

    Will a driving unlicensed offence in Victoria show up on a criminal history check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a driving unlicensed offence in a Victorian court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their police record check.

    Individuals can obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

    Copyright & Disclaimer

    The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

    The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

    You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

    The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

    Top