What happens if you are caught driving without a licence in the UK?

What happens if you are caught driving without a licence in the UK?

Have you ever wondered just what would happen if you were caught driving without a valid licence? for many people, it doesn’t bear thinking about which is why knowledge is essential. Read on to find out exactly what would happen in the UK, as well as other circumstances that could lead to the loss of your driving licence.

Driving without a licence encompasses several different offences, the simplest being driving a vehicle whilst not possessing any driving licence at all.

The penalty for driving without a licence can vary, but you could expect to receive between 3 to 6 points and a maximum fine of £1000. Disqualification from driving is also a possibility. 

Driving without the proper licence for your vehicle

When you pass your driving test, you are only permitted to drive certain types of vehicles. Extra driving tests, such as Category C and Category D, must be passed to allow you to legally drive other types of vehicles, such as lorries, minibuses or motorbikes.

Suppose you own a standard driving licence for a car, and you are found driving a vehicle that you are not entitled to drive. In that case, you can face prosecution for driving without a licence (with the penalties mentioned above listed above).

Learner drivers

If you only have a provisional licence, you must;

  • Clearly display learner plates (L) on your vehicle.
  • Be with a person who is 21 years old or over and has had a full driving licence for three years.

If you are found driving without complying with these conditions, you could be found guilty of driving without a licence.

As well as the above, if you drive with an invalid licence, your car insurance will also be rendered void, thus leaving you to face an extra prosecution for ‘driving without insurance.

And after you have passed your test – be warned; if you receive six points in the first two years after passing, your license will be revoked. 

Driving whilst disqualified

If you are caught driving after being disqualified, you could be arrested and promptly taken to the nearest police station for questioning under caution. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal representation at this point.

Driving whilst disqualified is classed as a severe offence and leads to six penalty points and a maximum fine of £5000. You can also expect a lengthier term of disqualification, community service and even imprisonment for six months.

How long does a driving ban last in England?

A court determines how long a driving ban lasts in England. When and for how long a driving ban is imposed depends on the violation. In principle, a driving ban can last up to 56 days if imposed for traffic violations.

If the driver’s licence has to be surrendered because of points, it will be at least six months. After that, however, a court will determine precisely how long the vehicle must be left parked.

If the driving ban lasts less than 56 days, the driving licence will be taken into custody; anything longer means that British drivers or drivers who are residents of Great Britain have to apply for a new driving license.

Driving during an existing driving ban is prohibited in the UK and is considered a criminal offence. Driving in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man is also not permitted if a driving ban has been imposed in England, Scotland or Wales.

What happens if foreign drivers are caught driving dangerously or without a license in the UK?

Foreign drivers are not exempt from the driving ban in England and too many points also mean that tourists may be banned from driving.

A driving ban imposed in England can generally be enforced indefinitely. This means that holidaymakers who have received such a sanction must serve the driving ban in England or Great Britain. Usually, however, traffic sanctions are deleted from the police register after ten years.

As a rule, a driving ban from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland is noted on the driving licence of foreign drivers who are not resident in Great Britain. Driving a vehicle in Great Britain is then not permitted within the noted period. A court also determines how long this is the case for foreign road users.

FAQ: Driving ban in England

Are driving bans possible in the UK for traffic violations?
Yes, a driving ban can be imposed for a variety of offences in England and the UK. When this is the case, a court usually determines. Read which violations can lead to a driving ban.

Can foreign drivers also get a driving ban?
Yes, driving bans due to traffic violations or too many penalty points can also be imposed on foreign drivers. However, the driving ban only applies in the UK and is not transferred to the country of residence.

How long does a driving ban last in England?
Driving bans for minor violations can be imposed for up to 56 days. If a driving ban is issued for too many points, it is six months. A court determines the exact duration.

Of course, there are many other ways you can lose your driving licence, such as speeding. If you are found driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – or even in charge of a stationary vehicle – you will also face serious consequences: 

  • 3 months’ imprisonment
  • Up to £2500 fine
  • A possible driving ban. 

Dangerous driving can also lead to disqualification – and this includes using a mobile phone whilst driving and can even include eating or drinking at the wheel if it leads to a loss of concentration that results in an accident.

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