Driving Without a Licence

Driving without a licence

Driving without a licence is an offence that can carry significant penalties. Under the Road Traffic Act 1998, it is an offence to drive a vehicle without a licence that is appropriate to a vehicle of that particular class.

It is also not permitted to drive a vehicle on a provisional licence unless the driver is accompanied in the car by a full licence holder aged 21 or over who has held their licence for a minimum of 3 years. ‘L’ plates must also be displayed on the vehicle used in such situations.

If you have passed your driving test, you will only be allowed to drive certain types of vehicles that are covered by the licence. To operate other vehicles, such as passenger carrying vehicles, buses, heavy goods vehicles or motorbikes, you will be required to pass further driving tests in order to obtain the correct licence. Should you be found to be driving such a vehicle and you only hold a normal driving licence for a car, you could face a penalty for driving without a licence.


There are a number of circumstances under which you may be charged with driving without a licence. Firstly, if you have not passed a driving test but have been caught behind the wheel, you may be given:

· Between 3 and 6 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

In addition, if you are a learner driver, and only hold a provisional licence and you are caught driving without a supervisor who is over 21 and has held a licence for 3 years or more, without ‘L’ plates displayed on the vehicle, you could face similar penalties.

Similarly, driving licences only permit the use of certain motor vehicles. If your driving licence only specifically entitles you to drive one class of vehicle for example a car, you can face prosecution for driving without a licence in the event you drive another class of vehicle other than what you are entitled to drive such as a motorbike.

It is therefore imperative that should you face a penalty for driving without a licence, in whatever the circumstances are, you seek the right legal advice to help you through what can be a difficult process to give you the very best chance of limiting or avoiding punishment.



The maximum penalty is a level five fine (£5000) and six months imprisonment. The court may disqualify an individual for this offence for any period and impose an extended driving test. The driving licence must be endorsed with penalty points. If no disqualification is imposed, the court will impose six penalty points. Since this offence has disregard for a court order it is always regarded seriously by the courts although further aggravating and mitigating factors will be considered.