Making, buying or owning a novelty driving licence is not a criminal offence and yet making, buying or owning a fake driving licence most certainly is. Unfortunately, unscrupulous organisations are trying to persuade people that it is perfectly legal to buy and use a fake driving licence because, they claim, “it is only a novelty”.


If you add to the mix the public perception that the only people who commit criminal offences are those who “make” the licences, the situation becomes quite confusing, so let’s separate myth from reality.


What’s the difference between “novelty” and “fake”?  

– A fake driving licence is one that is designed to look like the real thing – so the licence will be the same size, have the same layout, font and wording and use the same colours

– A novelty driving licence is one that is clearly not trying to “impersonate” a real one.


The main consideration is really whether someone (an ordinary and reasonable person) could think that your fake/novelty licence is a real one. So, if you have a driving licence that looks like the real thing and has your photo on it, it’s fake, whereas a licence that is valid only in “Tomorrow’s World Disneyland” and the holder is shown as Mickey Mouse (with accompanying photo of the star himself) will be a novelty item.


What will happen if you have a “novelty” driving licence?

Buying and owning a true novelty licence carries no consequences.


What will happen if you have a “fake” driving licence?

Despite what some websites tell you, owning a fake ID means you are committing criminal offences. For example, it is a criminal offence to be in possession of a false identity document intending to

– use it to establish personal information about yourself or

– allow or induce anybody else to use that personal information to establish, ascertain or verify personal information either about yourself or about someone else [1]


It is also a criminal offence to have any article (such as a fake driving licence) for use in the course of or in connection with any fraud”) in your possession or under your control[2].


Using fake ID to “pretend” you are someone else is actually fraud and if, for example, you do this to obtain credit the situation gets very much worse – up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine[3].



Apart from the criminal aspect of having a false driving licence there are other issues too. If you drive using the licence you are:


  • probably unqualified and, by default, not fit to drive
  • uninsured (even if you have insurance it will be void)
  • if you have an accident, facing a claim for money to cover any injury or damage you have caused


Do also remember that, despite any assurances about privacy, the organisation who sell you fake driving licences have all your details and can be forced, by law, to provide your details to the Court and police to make you face the consequences. Indeed the 2012 the Metropolitan Police operation to bring 11,000 people who bought fake documents from one organisation still continues[4]



[1] Section 4 – Identity Documents Act 2010 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/40/contents/enacted


[2] Section 6 – Fraud Act 2006 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/6


[3] Fraud Act 2006, particularly section 2 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/2

[4] See Met Police news –  http://content.met.police.uk/News/Fake-ID-sentencing/1400009062163/1257246745756