Skip to: Navigation | Content | Footer

Offences and penalties

Updated: 10 December 2014

Our Beta Site Close This

You’re legally required to hold a current and valid driver licence if you drive on New Zealand roads. If you don’t, for example you drive with an expired licence, you risk incurring a range of penalties.

On this page

Penalties for driving without a current and valid licence

If you drive without a current and valid licence, you risk:

  • receiving an infringement fine of $400
  • receiving a fine of up to $1,000 if summonsed to court (this would likely follow persistent offending)
  • being forbidden to drive by police
  • having your vehicle seized on the roadside and impounded for 28 days
  • being declined vehicle insurance
  • having an insurance claim declined.


Your licence is suspended or you are disqualified from driving

Your driver licence will be suspended on-the-spot for 28 days if you:

  • exceed a permanent speed limit by more than 40 km/h (or another speed limit by 50 km/h)
  • drive with more than 650 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath
  • drive with more than 130 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • fail or refuse to take a blood test for excess blood alcohol, or refuse to supply a blood sample
  • are caught drink-driving and have been convicted of a similar offence within the previous four years.

The 28-day suspension begins immediately.

You can also have your licence suspended for three months if you accumulate 100 or more active demerit points over two years. The suspension begins when you are served notice of the suspension.

The courts may disqualify you from driving.

In all these cases, you must surrender your licence to the New Zealand Police or to the NZ Transport Agency.

Drivers who are convicted of certain alcohol related offences may be given an alcohol interlock sentence or zero alcohol sentence by the courts. See Alcohol interlocks (Factsheet 58) for further information. If your licence is suspended for excess demerit points or you are disqualified by the court, you will be unlicensed once the suspension or disqualification has ended. You must not drive until you have reinstated your licence and a new licence has been issued.

What if I need to drive while I am suspended or disqualified?

In some circumstances, you may be able to apply for a limited licence, though not if you've received a 28-day on-the-spot suspension. Find out more.


How do I get my licence back?

Any driver licence card you held at the time of your suspension or disqualification has been permanently cancelled (whether it has been surrendered or not) and is no longer valid. At the end of your suspension/disqualification, you need to visit a NZ Transport Agency driver licensing agent and apply to reinstate your licence.

Reinstating your licence

To reinstate your licence, you will need to visit an NZ Transport Agency driver licensing agent and:

If you were disqualified for more than 12 months, you will also need to resit the appropriate test(s) (and pay the test fee(s)) to regain the licence class(es) you held previously. Find out more in Driving offences and penalties: disqualifications and suspensions (Factsheet 55).



The alcohol interlock programme
Licence holders who have been given an alcohol interlock sentence will be required to take part in an alcohol interlock programme if they wish to drive.

Related links