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What happens if you drive without a license. Are you tempted to get behind the wheel without a license?  You may think just running to the store or even getting to work is worth the risk. However, it isn’t. One simple traffic violation can become a major life expense.

Driving without a license is illegal in every state. However most states differentiate between driving without a valid driver’s license and driving without proof of a driver’s license.

What happens if you drive without a license

Ordinarily, you won’t be arrested for simply failing to grab your wallet before getting behind the wheel. However. it’s a serious offense to drive with the knowledge that your license is suspended or otherwise invalid.

You’re really taking your chances driving without a license. The penalties not only vary from state to state but also depend on how many times you’ve been caught. Depending on these factors, you could be fined, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, your vehicle could be impounded, your license may be revoked, your plates could be taken away, and you could even face jail time.

Types of Driver Licensing Violations

A motorist may violate a driver’s license requirement in a number of ways. Below are the most common types of violations related to driver’s licenses:

  • Driving with a temporarily suspended  license.
  • Failure to show proof of a valid license when driving.
  • Driving with a permanently revoked license.
  • Failure to apply for a state-issued drivers license within the time limit.
  • Driving with an expired license.

What Are the Consequences of Driving Without a License?

Failure to produce a valid driver’s license when asked by a police officer can lead to a number of penalties depending on the circumstances. Charges typically fall into one of two categories: correctable offenses and willful violations. Below are the consequences of driving without of driving without a license:

You accrue more expenses:

Fines for first offense of driving without a license  range from $150 to $10,000. There may also be a spike in your insurance premium, possible court costs, vehicle impoundment fees, and more—depending on how many times you’ve committed the offense. Thus, you’ll face a lot of financial loss. You may also  face jail time if you’ve been caught driving without a license and you’ve been charged with a criminal offense. Consider the costs involved in paying a criminal defense lawyer by the hour just to lessen the penalties and charges brought on by one wrong decision.

Your license might be suspended for even longer:

Your driving privilege could be suspended for even longer—or forever.

Misdemeanor or felony may be added to your record:

Getting pulled over by a police officer and paying a fine is one thing. However, driving without a license can get you pinned with a range of offenses from a traffic infraction to a jail sentence. For instance in New York,you could go to jail for 30 days. In Arizona, this mistake is considered a misdemeanor offense and could get you imprisonment for up to six months. These penalties can be given on just a first offense.

Your vehicle registration can get revoked:

Your motor vehicle registration can be revoked by the DMV. Now, you are facing the added time it’ll take to get your car back. There will also be additional charges brought on by having to re-register your vehicle.

Vehicle impoundment:

In some states like Alabama, driving while unlicensed means immediate vehicle impoundment. You may have to pay a fine ranging from $100–$500. You’ll also be paying several hundred dollars to the impound lot just to get your vehicle back. In some other states like Alaska, you may even have to give up your car entirely.

Your insurance rates will go up. 

Insurance companies don’t take kindly to risk-takers. Whether or not you have insurance at the moment, driving without a license attracts higher premium. Also, there’ll be fewer companies to choose from in buying insurance policies as not all insurance companies cover high-risk drivers.

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

It depends on the state where you reside. However, Indiana carries the harshest fines for traffic offenses related to driving without a valid driver’s license. In this state, you can be fined up to $10,000.

How much is a ticket for driving without a license?

If you are lucky to get a traffic ticket  aka traffic infraction, it can be in the hundreds of dollars. It all depends on the state that you are driving in. For instance, in Idaho, a first-time conviction for driving without a valid license is punishable with a fine of up to $150. The fines and severity of punishment increase with each offense.


What happens if you drive without a license most traffic tickets involve infractions and can easily be handled without the help of a legal professional. Such infractions are often resolved through the mail. But if you’re facing license suspension, license revocation, or jail time, you should speak with a local traffic ticket lawyer who can help defend you against the charges.

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