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Amongst many other offences related to driving, driving an unregistered vehicle is a very serious offence that carries harsh consequences. There are various things that could happen if you are found to be driving an unregistered vehicle. The police may issue you with a heavy fine, remove the vehicle’s number plate registration immediately and confiscate the vehicle. Further to this, any insurance cover for your vehicle will be invalidated following the removal of the vehicle’s number plates, meaning that if your car was involved in any sort of collision with another vehicle, object or person, you will be held personally responsible for the compensation of all damage caused, which may end up costing you a fortune.


If you are driving an unregistered vehicle, your vehicle may get seized on the spot, you could receive a penalty in the form of a fine that may also increase if your vehicle is not insured, and if the matter goes to court, any fines that have been imposed can be doubled. From this, if you still feel that getting your car registered is expensive, driving a vehicle whilst unregistered and the penalties that can be imposed on you can be equally or even more costly.  


With all this said, there are certain defences that can work for the driver or legal owner of the vehicle.




The most convenient defence when questioned by police as to why you drove or allowed someone else to drive an unregistered vehicle is that you were simply unaware that the vehicle was not registered. This defence works well in situations where you are the driver of the vehicle, but not the legal owner. In such cases, it is reasonable to expect that you could not have known whether the vehicle was registered or not.




From an owner’s perspective, there may be a claim that he or she did not drive or did not leave the vehicle on the road and, and that they took all reasonable measures to ensure that the person who would be using the vehicle was fully aware that the vehicle was unregistered. It is also a defence if your vehicle was driven by someone without your knowledge or agreement, or in a case of theft, or if you were the last registered owner of the vehicle, but have since transferred the ownership of the vehicle to someone else at the time of which the offence was committed.




An unregistered vehicle can be driven for the purpose of obtaining registration. The driver of the vehicle must take the most direct or convenient route:


  1. To the nearest and most convenient RMS registry or service centre;
  2. To the nearest and most convenient Authorised Inspection Station to determine whether the vehicle is compliant with the applicable vehicle standards;
  3. In the course of inspecting or testing a vehicle to ensure that it complied with the applicable vehicle standards;
  4. To the nearest and most convenient weighbridge for the purpose of weighing the vehicle;
  5. From a RMS registry or service centre to the nearest or convenient place where repairs can be made, following a refusal to register the vehicle;
  6. To the nearest and most convenient office of a licensed insurer to obtain CTP insurance;
  7. To the nearest and most convenient location for any other purpose associated with the registration of the vehicle.


Aside from driving an unregistered vehicle, it is also an offence to own, drive, or allow to be standing on the road, a vehicle that does not have current CTP insurance.




If you are facing unregistered vehicle charges and need help, give us a call at Sydney Traffic Lawyers. We will connect you with an unregistered vehicle lawyer in Sydney who can walk you through the basics of your charges and learn more about your case. From there, we will identify and build the best defence possible for your situation. To schedule a consultation today, give us a call on (02) 8059 7121.