Driving without a licence
Pretty simple: if you get in a car and start driving down the road without first passing your practical test, you’re breaking the law. You’d be fairly silly to do it, but it happens.
In this case, the penalty is 3 to 6 points that will be carried over to your full licence (yup, you can get penalty points on a licence you don’t even have yet) when you pass. You can also get a fine up to £1,000 and possible disqualification from having a licence for a set period.
Driving without a valid licence
If you’re driving a vehicle you don’t have the proper licence for (like a big van), it’s an offence even if you have a full car licence.
If you’re a learner and you don’t have L-plates displayed properly, you can be done for driving without a licence. This also applies to who you’re driving with - they must be over 21 and have had a driving licence for 3 years to accompany you.
If you don’t meet these 2 requirements as a learner, you can be charged with driving without a licence because you don’t have the RIGHT licence for the conditions you’re driving in.