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What happens when you drive without a valid license?

Mar 10, 2020

Renewing or obtaining your driver’s license can be a struggle. In addition to that, if you get caught driving without a valid license, you may be anxious about what happens next. Understanding your rights and the consequences of not having a license are crucial for being a responsible driver. 

It is illegal to operate a vehicle without the proper paperwork and licenses. In addition, you should not operate a vehicle if you are temporarily suspended from driving. Those who don’t have proper documentation may be at risk for a citation, a ticket, or a fine. Additionally, the traffic laws in the vast majority of states have different guidelines for drivers in legal trouble. If you get a ticket for a correctable offense, such as forgetting your license, you may also be able to avoid paying a fine by obtaining proof you have the proper paperwork. 

However, if you do not have any proper documentation, the situation is different than if you merely forgot your license at home while driving.  Some common examples that lead to more serious legal trouble include using an expired, temporarily revoked or permanently revoked license. These count as willful violations of the law. Each state has different legal penalties that vary according to severity. If you are facing jail time or a fine, first-time offenders may argue for a less intense punishment than people who have faced consequences for this before. 

Navigating legal issues due to driving without a license can be tough. Learning more about your options can help. 

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