Driving without a license is illegal in every state, but most states differentiate between operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license and driving a vehicle without proof of a driver’s license such as when a driver fails to physically carry their valid driver’s license. While you won’t be arrested for simply failing to grab your wallet before getting behind the wheel, it’s a much more serious offense to drive with the knowledge that your license is suspended or otherwise invalid.
Penalties for driving without a license or failing to produce a license when stopped by a police officer range from “fix-it tickets” to vehicle impoundment or even jail time (for driving on a revoked license, for example).
A motorist may violate a driver’s license requirement in a number of ways. Perhaps it was an honest mistake or maybe there was an attempt to circumvent a known driving restriction (for example, a driver willingly drove despite knowing that his license was suspended for DUI.)
Here are the most common types of violations related to driver’s licenses: 1) Failing to apply for a state-issued drivers license within the time allowed; 2) Driving with an expired license; 3) Driving with a license that has been temporarily suspended; 4) Driving with a license that has been permanently revoked and/or 5) Failing to show proof of a valid license when driving or operating a vehicle.
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.
Simply forgetting to carry your driver’s license while driving a vehicle may lead to a “fix-it ticket,” where you must later show proof that you fixed the violation in order to have the citation dismissed by the traffic court. Failure to present this evidence typically leads to fines or other penalties.
Penalties for willful violations of licensing requirements, such as driving on a suspended or revoked license, are much more serious. Driver’s licenses are frequently suspended for DUI offenses, since states have an interest in keeping dangerous drivers off the roads. Therefore, when a driver willfully drives with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, they may be cited, arrested, and charged with a misdemeanor offense.
The following examples illustrate the range of penalties for operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license from state to state. In Washington: You may receive a jail sentence if a judge determines that you’re a habitual offender and you may receive an additional license suspension.
Most traffic tickets involve infractions and can be handled without the help of a legal professional, often through the mail. But if you’re facing license suspension, license revocation, or jail time, you may wish to speak with a local traffic ticket lawyer who can help defend you against the charges.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.