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Licence suspensions and disqualifications

Important: A late night driving restriction may apply following a period of licence suspension or cancellation.

Driving without a licence

You do not hold a valid driver licence if:

  • your driver licence has expired and you have not renewed it
  • you have voluntarily surrendered your driver licence
  • your driver licence has been suspended or cancelled because you are medically unfit to drive safely
  • you do not hold the class of licence for the vehicle you are driving
  • you have never held a driver licence
  • your driver licence has been suspended because of an accumulation of demerit points or a high speed offence
  • your driver licence has been immediately suspended or you have been immediately disqualified following a drink driving or drug driving offence
  • your driver licence has been suspended by the State Penalties Enforcement Registry because you have not paid fines
  • you have been disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence
  • after completing a period of disqualification, you do not obtain a driver licence before driving again.

If you drive a motor vehicle and do not have a driver licence, due to any of the these reasons, you may receive an infringement notice or be dealt with by a court for unlicensed driving.

If you are convicted of unlicensed driving the court may impose a fine of up to $6600, or you may be imprisoned for up to 18 months.

Disqualification

You will be disqualified from holding a driver licence for a stated period if convicted of:

  • a drink driving or drug driving offence
  • a dangerous driving offence
  • a criminal offence involving the driving or use of a motor vehicle.

If you drive a motor vehicle in Queensland while disqualified from holding a driver licence, you will be dealt with by a court for disqualified driving.

If you are convicted of disqualified driving, the court must disqualify you from holding a driver licence for a period of between 2 and 5 years. You may also receive a fine of up to $6600 or be imprisoned for up to 18 months.

Licence suspension

Your Queensland (or non-Queensland) driver licence will be suspended for a stated period when you have:

  • not paid any fines imposed by a court (State Penalties Enforcement Registry)
  • gained too many demerit points on your traffic history
  • been convicted of driving more than 40 kilometres per hour over the speed limit.

If you drive a motor vehicle in Queensland while your driver licence is suspended, due to any of the above reasons, you will be dealt with by a court for unlicensed driving.

If you are convicted of unlicensed driving, the court must disqualify you from holding a driver licence for a period of between 1 and 6 months. You may also receive a fine of up to $4400, or be imprisoned for up to one year.

Immediate suspension

Your Queensland (or non-Queensland) driver licence will be immediately suspended (FS4853) until the charge is dealt with by a court, if you have:
  • been charged with driving with a middle-level breath/blood alcohol concentration (0.10 or higher) 
  • failed to provide police with a specimen of breath or blood when requested
  • been charged with a low level drink driving offence while an earlier such charge is still pending
  • been charged with driving under the influence or with the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance.

If you drive a motor vehicle in Queensland while your driver licence is suspended, due to any of the above reasons, you will be charged with unlicensed driving.

If you are convicted of unlicensed driving, the court must disqualify you from holding a driver licence for 2 to 5 years. You may also receive a fine of up to $4400, or be imprisoned for up to one year.

Licence withdrawn

Your authority to drive in Queensland on a non-Queensland driver licence will be withdrawn when:

  • the three months residency rule applies to you
    or
  • it is proven that you are medically unfit to drive safely.

If you are found driving a motor vehicle in Queensland when your authority to drive in Queensland has been withdrawn, due to any of the above reasons, you may be given an infringement notice or be dealt with by a court for unlicensed driving.

The maximum court imposed penalty for driving a motor vehicle in Queensland when your authority to drive in Queensland has been withdrawn is $4400, or you may be imprisoned for up to one year.

Cumulative disqualifications for repeat drink or drug driving offences

Cumulative disqualifications apply to persons convicted of more than one drink or drug driving related offence that were committed on or after 18 May 2008. Under this law, repeat offenders will serve each disqualification period one after the other (cumulatively) rather than all at the same time (concurrently).

Removal of an absolute disqualification

If you were absolutely disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence for driving unlicensed before 13 March 2002, read the absolute disqualification checklist (FS4849) to see if you are eligible to have your disqualification removed. If successful, you can then re-apply for your licence.

For more information, or to obtain a removal of absolute disqualification for unlicensed driving application form (F4252), visit your nearest Department of Transport and Main Roads customer service centre.

Note: For more information about court imposed fines, contact the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER).

Applying for a licence after a disqualification period

If you were disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence by a court and you have now served the period of disqualification, you will be eligible to apply for a probationary licence.

For more information about suspensions and cancellations, contact your nearest customer service centre, driver licence issuing centre or phone the department on 13 23 80.
Last updated
04 April 2014