Questions we answer in this guide:
- What does driving otherwise in accordance with licence mean?
- What are the penalties for driving otherwise in accordance with licence and driving while disqualified?
- What defence (if any) can be given if you’ve been charged with either driving otherwise in accordance with licence or driving while disqualified?
Driving otherwise than in accordance with licence
There's a broad range of offences that can be described as driving otherwise than in accordance with licence. These include:
- driving without a licence, e.g. driving while underage
- driving a vehicle without the correct type of licence (e.g. heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) or motorcycles)
- provisional licence holders driving without a supervisor or L-plates
You must have a full driving license for any type of motor vehicle you intend to drive on a public road without an instructor supervising.
If you don't have the correct driving licence, for any reason, then you'll likely be arrested by the police if they decide to stop you.
And, of course, if someone drives a vehicle that they don't have the necessary skills, knowledge and qualifications to drive, they're endangering their own life and the lives of other road users.
Driving otherwise than in accordance with licence comes with a punishment of a fine of up to £1,000, 6 points on your licence and a possible driving ban. These penalties will remain on your driving record for 4 years from the date of the offence.
However, because driving without the correct licence will also invalidate any insurance you may have, the punishments may be more severe in the event of an accident.
Driving while disqualified
Driving while disqualified is a separate offence and, if caught, will result in immediate arrest and a court appearance. At the very least, the court will extend your disqualification and issue a fine.
The penalties are the same as above: up to 6 months imprisonment, a £5,000 fine and 6 penalty points, with the offence remaining on your driving record for 4 years.
Again, if you’ve been disqualified, there’s no way you can have any insurance, so penalties may be imposed for that too.
And if you’re convicted of causing death by driving while unlicensed or disqualified the penalties will increase further. Offenders face up to 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.
Is there a valid defence against either of these offences?
There's little in the way of defence available to motorists facing these types of charges. The courts may take some mitigating circumstances into account or look more favourably on someone who admits their guilt earlier on in proceedings, but you should seek legal advice immediately if you've been summoned to court, particularly if you plan on pleading not guilty.
These are both very serious offences and the consequences of a conviction may have a more serious impact on your livelihood. For example, reducing your chances of employment and/or your chances of getting car insurance cover in the future – and serial offenders will likely face a ban on their ability to hold a full driving licence for long periods of time.
Want to know more about motoring law?
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