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Is it illegal to photocopy a driver's licence?

Attempting to counterfeit a licence or produce a fake licence is a crime.

Making photocopies of official documents such as your driver’s licence seems like a sensible precaution to take – but is the act of doing it illegal?

The answer is no, but you need to keep a few things in mind if you plan to photocopy your licence or any document containing your personal information.

First, obviously attempting to counterfeit a licence or produce a fake licence is a crime. The Commonwealth penalties for making, providing or possession of a fake identity document is a 10-year prison sentence or a fine of $110,000, possibly both.

Now, we know that’s not what you’re going to do, you really just want to make a copy of your licence for safekeeping – you know in case you lose your licence and need the details – and sometimes financial institutions or other organisations request a copy to be sent to them.

CarsGuide sought legal advice on the issue and was told that while there is no offence for purely photocopying your driver’s licence, a copy is of no use if you a required to produce your licence. So no, you can't keep a copy in your wallet and use it in the place of a lost driver's licence. If you do lose your licence then contact your state or territory roads and traffic authority to replace it. 

You can, however, have your photocopy certified. A document which is certified is recognised as a true copy of an original and it needs to be witnessed by somebody authorised as a member of a profession listed in the Statutory Declarations Regulations 1993- Schedule 2. Sounds tricky but believe it or not a chiropractor or nurse can sign it.

Finally, before you just make a stack of photocopies of your driver’s licence understand that this little piece of plastic is a Primary Use in the Community Document.

In terms of importance it’s up there with a passport. Do not leave print-outs in the photocopier and be sure to keep them somewhere safe and secure – your personal information in the wrong hands could be disastrous.

Do you think physical licences should be replaced with a digital version? Tell us what you think in the comments below.