It is an offence to drive a driving mechanically propelled vehicle without a valid licence entitling the person to drive it. Driving without a licence carries the general penalty. There are two points on payment of a fixed charge or five on conviction. In a prosecution the onus is on the driver to prove that he had the proper licence.
It is a more serious offence to drive while disqualified from driving or when subject to an obligation to produce a certificate of competency. A person convicted summarily is liable to a fine up to €2,500 or six months in prison or both. The prosecution need not prove knowledge of the disqualification order.
A driving licence is valid for a certain period and subject to conditions. A provisional licence allows the holder to drive the category of vehicle concerned subject to the conditions specified in regulations. If a person who us disqualified applies for and obtains a licence, it is deemed void.
The categories of vehicles are set out in the licensing of drivers regulations. In broad terms,
- Motorcycles, with engine capacity below 125cc
- Vehicles with weight not exceeding 3,500 kilograms;
- Vehicles with weight exceeding 3,500 kilograms;
- Vehicles having passenger accommodation for more than 8 persons;
- Various combinations of vehicles E mopeds N work vehicles
The State may recognize licences of other EU states. The licence issued by the other authority is valid until its expiry or one year after taking up residence, whichever first occurs. A visitor may drive while holding a driving permit, a visitors driving licence or provisional licence.
The owner of a vehicle must not employ a person to drive a vehicle in a public place unless he holds a valid licence, entitling him to drive the vehicle. Breach of this obligation is an offence. The offence carries a higher penalty if the person concerned was disqualified at the time.
There are exemptions from requirements for licensing for:
- members of an Garda Siochana in the course of their duties
- certain specified classes of pedestrian controlled vehicles- they must not be adopted for carrying a passenger or driver and must not exceed more than 407 kilograms.
- person undergoing a driving test (must hold provisional licence)
- members of the Defence Forces while on duty.
A person must carry his driving licence. He must produce it on demand to a member of an Garda Síochána. If a person who has been requested to produce a licence fails or refuses to do so, then the member of an Garda Síochána may require him to produce a licence within 10 days to a nominated Garda station.
In a prosecution certificate from a member in charge of the Garda Síochána station concerned stating that the licence has not been produced, is deemed sufficient evidence of such fact. Where the licence is produced the member in charge of the station must so certify.
If a person who is requested to produce a driving licence, fails or refuses to do so, or fails to permit to be read, he is guilty of an offence. The member of an Garda Síochána concerned may demand his name and address in such circumstances. Failure to give the same is an offence.
A member of an Garda Síochána may arrest without warrant a person who fails to permit a member to read it, or gives an address reasonably believed to be false or misleading.
Failure to produce a licence is subject to a fixed charge penalty of one point and three points on conviction. The general penalty applies to conviction in the District Court.
Where a member of an Garda Síochána has reasonable grounds to believe that, a mechanically propelled vehicle has been used on a particular occasion, by a particular a person and the use may have involved in the commission of an offence, he may at any time subsequently, require the person to produce a driving licence having effect and allowing the person to drive at the place concerned within 10 days. Failure to comply is an offence.
A person charged with a penalty point offence or convicted with a disqualification order must send his driving licence to the Courts Service. This does not apply where the licence is produced to a member of an Garda Síochána for the court hearing. The accused person must present his driving licence on the first day of the hearing a subsequent day at the discretion of the Judge, in the case of certain offences.
A member of an Garda Síochána may request a person to provide a specimen signature for comparison with that on the licence.
A provisional licence may substitute for driving licence provided it is produced and used in accordance with its terms and conditions.
Licences maybe granted in respect of different classes or specified classes of vehicle. Different certificate of competency applies.
A person may apply for certificate of competency for the purpose of obtaining a full licence or re-obtaining a licence following disqualification where the disqualification requires that he obtain a certificate of competence.
The authority carries out a competency test on the applicant to drive and in respect of knowledge of the Rules of the Road. There is provision for appeal to the District Court. The court may direct a further test.
An eyesight test must be furnished. On completion of the test the licence may either be granted or refused.
A person aggrieved by a refusal may apply to the District Court, w which if satisfied that an eyesight or corrected eyesight test complies with the standards, direct the test to be taken
A person may be required to obtain a certificate of fitness where it is disqualified from holding a licence until he so produces or where required. A person who requires a certificate of fitness must produce a certificate from a medical practitioner in respect to the relevant aspects of his physical or mental condition. These aspects are such as are declared by regulations as requiring a certificate of fitness.
The authority after considering the application, may issue a certificate to drive the vehicle or class of vehicle. The person aggrieved by a decision may apply to the District Court by way of appeal.
The Authority maintains records of driving licences and provisional licences. These may be made available, subject to conditions.
Members of an Garda Síochána and certain other authorized persons may request licensing information. A person with reasonable cause on payment to a fee may obtain such information as is requested in relation to a driving licence or provisional licence granted by a specified authority.
There are range of offences relating to false declarations in applications for licence. Any false particulars in relation to an application or production of forged documents is an offence. It is offence to fraudulently use and plate badge or certificate. This is subject to fixed charge penalty and one point and on conviction three points.
The Minister has power to make regulations in relation to the control of driving instructors for reward.
The minimum age for licences are:
- A1M& W 16
- B or EB 17;
- AC1 C EC EC18 D ED1 ED 21