What happens if you get caught driving without a license?

Driving license in USA

A driving license is one of the most important documents in the United States. It appears just like a credit card and allows you to operate a motor vehicle legally. You will have to face legal actions if you are driving without a license in the US. As the states in the USA have strong powers, hence they have the authority to issue driving licenses to citizens, and the work is done by the Department of motor vehicles. However, a license issued in the United States allows you to drive anywhere in the US and Canada. Although the name of the license issuing authority may vary according to states but they all serve the same purpose.

The minimum driving age varies according to states ranging from 14 to 18 years, most commonly it is 16 years in most of the states.

There are separate licenses from cars, bikes, trucks, and buses. the appearance of the license also depends on the age of the holder.

Driver’s license has a photograph of the person, license number, name, copy of his/her signature, date of birth, address of primary residence, the type or class of license, physical characteristics of the person such as height, weight, eye color, hair color,etc., and restrictions or endorsements if any are mentioned on it.

To avoid getting caught because of driving without a valid license you should get yourself a driving license by following the steps mentioned below :

  1. Get a driver’s manual.
  2. Get a Social Security Number
  3. Go for the written test at state’s DMV
  4. Go for Driving lessons
  5. Go for the Road Test
  6. Go for the required medical inspection
  7. Pay the required fees.

After you follow all the steps and clear the required tests you will be issued your driving license.

What happens if you get caught without the driving license in the U.S?

What happens if you get caught without the driving license in the U.S?
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All states in the United States have developed comprehensive sets of laws meant to govern the actions of drivers and deter Traffic offenses to avoid damages and ensure the safety of individuals on the road.

It is illegal for driving without a license or a suspended or revoked license, in all the 50 states and may result in dire consequences. In most cases, the first offense is not a simple traffic violation but results in much heavier penalties than a traffic ticket. Moving on to a second offense and beyond, it can lead to a felony. If anyhow you have a valid license but you forgot it, you can present in the court and the fine is reduced.

Fines range from $50 in Wisconsin (if you are driving on a suspended license, driving on a revoked license can push the cost to $2,500) up to $25,000 (second offense) in Illinois. If you have a license but you can’t present it to the authorities then it can result in license suspension, two months on the low end up to a year for a first offense. If it’s a case of driving on a suspended license, you will probably be hoofing it for at least one to two years. There is also somewhat confirmation that your vehicle gets impounded or your license plate confiscated.

Jail time (up to five years) is also a possibility in case of driving on a suspended or revoked license, as a result your permanent driving record will now have a misdemeanor listed on it.

If you want to check the complete list of all the fines according to the states in detail then, you can check the following mentioned link.

What is the maximum fine for a conviction of driving without a valid driver license?

The maximum penalties for driving without a license depend on the specific offense and whether you have faced other recent traffic offenses in the last year.

Penalties for Driving Without a Driver’s License in Florida

Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 322.03)states that, all drivers in the state of Florida must have a driver’s license to operate a vehicle unless they fall into a category of persons who are exempted from this requirement(forex. Military personnel). If you are booked for violating the law, you can face penalties. It’s a criminal offense in the Floridian law if you are driving without a license. The Maximum Penalty Includes:

  • Up to $500 fine; and
  • Up to 60 days in jail.

The penalties for driving on a suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified license in Florida are as following:

  • First offense: It is considered as a First-degree misdemeanor that includes a maximum jail time of up to 60 days and a maximum fine of up to $500;
  • Second offense: a maximum prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum fine of up to $5,000 and is considered as a third-degree felony.

Fine for driving without a Valid license in Texas.

Fine for driving without a Valid license in Texas
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The laws in Texas do not allow you for driving without a license and also prohibit driving on a suspended license. The possible penalties in case of driving without a valid license are as follows:-

Driving without a license (Valid License).

There is a fine of up to $200 as unlicensed driving is considered a criminal offense. A second violation within a year is a misconduct that charges a fine of $25 to $200. A third violation within a year can result in up to $25 to $200 fine and/or 72 hours to six months in jail.

License not in possession.

A driver having an issued license but not having it in their immediate possession can avoid a conviction by presenting valid proof of a valid license to the court. The driver has to pay only a $10 dismissal fee in such a case.

In Case a Minor Gets Caught Driving Without a License.

In case the offender is a minor then besides the fine the total cost also includes impounding fee, towing cost, and court fee. The car is impounded even if the car is owned by the parents of the minor. The fine may be up to $200 in addition to the other costs. The minor may also have to spend 6 months to a year in a juvenile correctional facility if the offense is a severe one or might only be charged with a few hours of community service. Parents may also be charged for negligence and allowing their child to drive a car when he or she is a minor.

What are the legal consequences of driving without a license?

The legal consequences of driving without a license vary according to the states in the United States and range from small fines to jail for a long time. It is always better to have a valid license as these actions of driving without a valid license harm our records and can also cause suspension or revoking of our license. If you somehow land into a legal trial because of violating any of the rules related to traffics and licenses, then you should get a legal adviser who can reduce your fine or imprisonment time and may even rescue you from all these effects.

Some of the legal consequences are mentioned here, This is just a common representation and the punishments may vary with states.

Class C misdemeanor.

Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.

Class B misdemeanor.

Violator who did not possess proof of insurance or who has a prior driving while suspended violation is convicted of a class B misdemeanor. A conviction includes a fine of up to $2,000 and a maximum of 180 days in jail.

Class A misdemeanor.

Driving with a suspended license is a class A misconduct if the driver had no insurance and had caused an accident. Convicted persons will have to face a fine of up to $4,000 and a maximum tenure of one year in jail.

A driver who is convicted of driving without a license will also have to pay a $125 annual surcharge for 36 months, and the suspension will be extended for the same term as the original suspension or disqualification.

Benefits of having a valid driving license.

A valid car driving license provides the holder with a number of benefits as it saves you from legal procedures which can cause extreme mental pressure and time wastage. It also protects you from heavy fines and imprisonment which would otherwise cause harm to your budget and image in the society.

As the United States doesn’t have a national identification system these cards also work as a valid photo ID in places such as shops, domestic flights, bars, and pubs. It may also work as a card to determine your age for entry at restricted places.

Owning a valid car license has a positive impact on your driving record which will help you at places. If in case you have forgotten your license i.e, driving without a license and get into legal procedure then it’s better to hire a good legal advisor who may help you to deal with the situation and may save you from heavy fines.

Although, all the information provided here is after thorough research fines and other legal actions are subject to change because of any amendment in the rules of the states.

Also Read: Can I get Car Insurance with a suspended license?

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