What happens if I get caught driving without a license?

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Driving without a license is never a good idea; you will be issued a traffic ticket if you get pulled over. If your drivers license has been suspended or revoked, you will need to find alternative transportation methods. Penalties for driving without a license vary by state, but could include hefty fines, community service, jail time, and/or having your vehicle impounded. Generally, penalties will increase for second offenses.

In Alaska, for example, getting a citation for driving without a license for the first time results in probation, a 90 day license revocation, 80 hours community work service, and having your vehicle impounded for 30 days. If you are caught with a second offense, the penalty increases to 10 days in jail, a $500 fine, a 90 day license revocation, 80 hours community work service, and the forfeiture of your vehicle.

Regardless of where you live, judges do have some discretion when applying penalties for driving without a license. You won't necessarily receive the highest possible fine or the longest possible jail time, especially if it's your first offense.

Fine Jail Time Community Service Vehicle Impounded or Registration Revoked Additional Suspension Points on Driving Record
Alabama
x
Alaska
x
x
x
x
x
Arizona
x
x
Vehicle is only impounded if you're involved in a traffic accident.
Arkansas
x
x
x
California
x
x
x
Colorado
x
x
Punishment can be waived if you were driving because of a genuine emergency.
Connecticut
x
x
x
Delaware
x
x
Florida
x
x
Georgia
x
x
Hawaii
x
x
x
The vehicle can be impounded even if it does not belong to the unlicensed driver.
Idaho
x
x
x
Illinois
x
x
Indiana
x
x
Iowa
x
The owner of the car who allows an unlicensed driver behind the wheel can also be fined.
Kansas
x
x
x
Kentucky
x
x
Louisiana
x
x
Maine
x
x
Maryland
x
x
Massachusetts
x
x
Michigan
x
x
Minnesota
x
x
Mississippi
x
x
Missouri
x
Montana
x
x
Nebraska
x
Nevada
x
New Hampshire
x
x
New Jersey
x
x
New Mexico
x
New York
x
x
North Carolina
x
Fine can be waived if license was expired for less than 30 days and has since been renewed.    
North Dakota
x
Parents can be held responsible for minors driving without a license.
Ohio
x
x
Oklahoma
x
x
Parents can be penalized for allowing minor children to driver without a license.
Oregon
x
x
x
Pennsylvania
x
x
Rhode Island
x
South Carolina
x
South Dakota
x
Tennessee
x
x
Texas
x
Utah
x
x
x
Vermont
x
x
x
Virginia
x
x
x
Washington
x
West Virginia
x
Wisconsin
x
Wyoming
x
Washington DC
x

Visitor Comments

  • Posted by Xiomara on January 28th, 2010

    penalties will increase for 3 offenses

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