The prohibition of driving without a valid license in Australia is absolute. There is just no excuse for it and if caught, the driver will be charged. In South Australia, the offence of driving without a license is subdivided into categories for which there are different penalties.
If the offender is caught driving without a license but has previously had one, the penalty is a fine of $1250. This type of offence is committed by drivers who did not renew their licenses upon expiry. This offence also applies to drivers who previously had licenses from other states or territories.
Section 74 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 makes it an offence to drive in South Australia without a valid license. So, a person who intends to drive a vehicle must first apply for a license. In getting a license, the applicant must first pass the license theory test and will first have a learner’s permit before he can progress to a full driver’s license.
The penalty for a first offence is a fine of $2500 but for a subsequent offence it becomes $5000 or imprisonment of one year.
The law provides that a person can only drive if he has a valid license and this license will specify as to what class of vehicle he can drive. An authorization to drive is issued and recognized by any Australian state or territory. Basically, an authority to drive will state that the holder is authorized to drive a vehicle of a certain class; that the driver holds a license for a different class of vehicle but he has the sufficient experience to drive the class of vehicle for which he is applying for a license; or the driver has a learner’s permit.
The penalty for this offence is a fine of up to a maximum of $2500.
A driver’s license is suspended for minor traffic offences and unpaid fines. During the suspension the driver is not supposed to drive until the period ends. The penalty for a first offence is a prison term of up to six months while for a subsequent offence the imprisonment is up to two years.
Convicted persons of drink driving offences are penalized with disqualification from driving. The period of disqualification depends on the seriousness of the offence committed. Disqualification results to loss of license so that in order to drive again the convicted driver must wait until the disqualification ends and then reapply for a license.
The penalty is a fine of up to $5000 or imprisonment of one year.