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Offence of driving with no driving licence

It is an offence to drive without a valid driving licence. If you are stopped, a Garda can ask you to produce your driving licence for inspection. If you do not have your driving licence, you must bring it to a Garda station for inspection within 10 days. If you refuse to give the Garda your name and address, you may be arrested.


A person, therefore, cannot drive or allow another to drive their vehicle in a public place without the driver holding a valid driving licence.


To prove driving, the prosecution in Court must establish that the defendant had control over the vehicle in a public place at the relevant time.


A public place is any public road and any street, road or other place to which the public have access with vehicles, whether as of right or by permission and whether subject to or free of charge.


If you produce a valid driving licence, that is a defence and is the end of the matter. Further aspects may be relevant if you do not have a valid licence, such as whether the driver is using an international driving permit or perhaps if the driver was disqualified from driving at the relevant time but was unaware of this fact.


The penalties for this offence are a maximum fine not exceeding €1000 if your licence has expired for a period of less than 12 months.  In any other case, the maximum fine is €2500.  If you were disqualified from driving at the time of the offence, the maximum fine that may be imposed is €5000, together with a maximum custodial sentence of 6 months.