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What Happens If I’m Caught Driving Without a License?

What Happens If I'm Caught Driving Without a License?

Driving without a license is a serious infraction. It can lead to prison or hefty fines. It’s almost always a better idea to find another solution than risk driving without a license. What happens to you if you do choose to drive without a license depends on the state you’re in and other circumstances surrounding your case. Here are some factors that determine the severity of your punishment. Be sure to ask a traffic attorney in your state for the most accurate information as it pertains to your case.

Driving History

Your driving history does play a factor in how severely you’ll be punished for driving without a license. Have you driven without a license before? Were you recently convicted of a DUI? What was the situation that led up to you losing your license? If you’ve recently been convicted of an alcohol- or drug-related traffic violation or you have a habit of driving without a license, your punishment will be a lot harsher. If the situation that led up to you losing your license involved drugs or violence, you’ll also be looking at some harsh punishments.

Suspended or Revoked?

Usually, driving with a suspended license isn’t as bad as driving with a revoked license. However, driving with a suspended license usually leads to having your license revoked, so you’ll be in pretty hot water either way. Other penalties and fines might also be added such as jail time. Those penalties are usually much worse for revoked licenses than if you were driving with a suspended license. Driving without a license at all or with a revoked license can lead to arrest in some cases.

No License At All

Sometimes, driving without ever having obtained your license in the first place is treated more harshly than driving with either a suspended or a revoked license. Driving without a license usually means you haven’t been through driver training, which means being on the road at all poses a serious risk to others and yourself. Doing so might also be considered reckless, which has much stiffer penalties attached to it than driving with a suspended license would. Arrest is very likely if you’re driving without ever having obtained your license.

Aggravating Circumstances

Aggravating circumstances are those factors that make your situation worse. If you were driving without a license and you were also drinking or you were speeding excessively, the alcohol and speed could be seen as aggravating circumstances. Driving without a valid license in a school zone, consuming drugs, and having a minor in the vehicle can all be seen as aggravating circumstances, too. That means your sentence will be much harsher.

Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating circumstances are those factors that make your situation better. There are very few mitigating circumstances for those who choose to drive without a license. The only leniency shown to you will likely be in extreme and rare situations. For instance, if your wife usually drives and you don’t have a license but she went into labor and you were out of cell service so you couldn’t call 911, you’ll probably be able to make a solid case for why you chose to drive. That being said, this situation would be incredibly rare, so the general law tends to allow very few leniencies for the average person choosing to drive without a license or with a suspended or revoked license.

Other factors play into your punishments, as well, including which state you live in. It’s important to hire a traffic attorney in your state who is qualified and experienced. Never go into the legal system by yourself. It’s always best to have a legal professional by your side who knows the system and can help you navigate it. Get a consultation today and take the first step towards protecting your freedom and your future.


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