Penalty for Driving Without a License in the Philippines

By Rianne Hill Soriano
The Land Transportation Office, driver's licenses, Filipino motorists

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Driving without a license in the Philippines is considered a minor traffic violation. The penalties for driving without a license depend on the subcategory where a violation falls. For intance, the penalties for driving with an expired driver’s license, failure to carry a driver’s license and driving without a registered driver’s license from the Land Transportation Office are considered different cases.

Land Transportation Office

The Land Transportation Office is the government arm of the Philippine government implementing the land transportation rules and regulations in the country. Its mandate and main functions include inspection and registration of motor vehicles, issuance of license and permits, enforcement of land transportation laws, adjudication of traffic cases and collection of revenues for the government in relation to land transportation transactions. It is considered the equivalent of the department of motor vehicles in the United States.

General Regulations

A driving record does not affect the insurance premium and employment evaluation of a Filipino. Penalties for a minor violation such as driving without a license only entail fines ranging from Php 200.00 (approximately $4.50 as of April 2010 exchange rate) to Php 2,000.00 ($45.50).

Student Driver

A student driver is initially issued a student’s permit in order to practice operating a motor vehicle. This is prior to taking the knowledge and driving tests; when both are passed, the person can finally obtain a driver’s license. Anyone holding a student’s permit should always operate a motor vehicle while accompanied by a licensed driver. If a student driver is caught by the traffic enforcer while operating a motor vehicle without being accompanied by a licensed driver, he will be issued a violation ticket and he shall pay a fine of Php 500.00 ($11.50).

Driving Without a License

The penalties for driving without a license is based on the following specific cases: driving without a license registered at the LTO (violation ticket and fine of Php 1,500.00 or $34); driving with an expired license without any recorded delinquency (violation ticket and fine of Php 400.00 or $9); driving with a suspended/revoked/improper/delinquent license (violation ticket and fine of Php 1,000.00 or $22.75); failure to carry a driver’s license (violation ticket and fine of Php 200.00 or $4.50); and possession and use of a fake/spurious driver’s license (violation ticket and fine of Php 2,000.00 or $ 45.50).

In this last case, if the driver has been issued an authentic license, it shall be suspended for one year in addition to the stipulated fine. If the driver has not been issued an authentic license, he shall be disqualified from obtaining a driver’s license for two years.

Other Related Violation

There is a violation related to driving without a license. This is when a motor vehicle owner/driver’s license holder allows an unlicensed/improperly licensed/delinquent licensed person to drive his own motor vehicle (fine of Php 1,000.00 or $22.75 and suspension of plates, registration and driver’s license for a period of two months).

About the Author

Rianne Hill Soriano is a freelance artist/writer/educator. Her diverse work experiences include projects in the Philippines, Korea and United States. For more than six years she has written about films, travel, food, fashion, culture and other topics on websites including Yahoo!, Yehey! and Herword. She also co-wrote a book about Asian cinema.