Each state has its own laws regarding driving without a license, however, most make a distinction between driving without your license in the car or driving without having a valid license at all.
Driving while aware that your license is suspended or otherwise invalid is a much more serious infraction than hopping in the car and forgetting to bring your license.
That being said, it’s relatively important to keep your state issued driving license handy when you drive a vehicle. Driving without a license or failing to provide one when requested by law enforcement can result in fines, license suspension, car confiscation, and even jail time.
Penalties for Operating a Motor Vehicle without a Valid Driver’s License
If a patrolman requests identification and you do not have it on you, you could face a variety of consequences. Usually, there are two types of charges:
If You Have a Correctable Offense
You may get a ticket and need to prove in court that you corrected the offense. This kind of offense is usually because you forgot to bring your driver’s license. Fines or other penalties may result from failing to provide this evidence.
If You Have a Willful Violation
Driving with a revoked or suspended driver’s license is a serious offense for which the penalties are enhanced when committed intentionally. Due to the state’s interest in removing potentially dangerous drivers from the road, license suspensions are common for DUI convictions.
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Consequences of Unlicensed Driving in Arizona
If a person is caught driving without a license or with a license that has expired, they may be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor. Some of the penalties could include:
- Community service time
- Possible fines up to $750
- Probation for up to two years
- Possible jail time of up to four months
In accordance with a class 1 misdemeanor, the following penalties may be imposed on those who are detected driving with a suspended or revoked license:
- A fine of up to $2,500 may be imposed
- Community service hours may be required
- The suspension of your driving privileges for an extended period of time
- Possibility of up to three years’ probation
- Your car could be impounded for up to 30 days
- Possible jail sentence of up to six months
Those who are pulled over for driving under the influence when their license is suspended or revoked should seek legal advice immediately, since they may be subject to felony charges.
What Does the Law Say About Driving without a License in Arizona?
The offense of driving without a license in Arizona is outlined in ARS §28-3151. Driving or operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license is a crime. If you violate this statute, you might face up to four months in jail for a Class 2 misdemeanor.
The law indicates that no person shall operate a motor vehicle or vehicle combination upon a highway without a driving license and proper endorsement as provided by this chapter, unless exempt pursuant to ARS §28-3151.
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What if I Didn’t Know My License Was Suspended or Expired?
If you are aware that there is an issue with your driver’s license, it’s best to deal with a license suspension or revocation as quickly as possible, before you get caught driving without one.
However, if you are pulled over and charged with driving without a license, it’s possible that you simply didn’t know that your license has expired, been suspended, or revoked. Your insurance might have lapsed, you could have neglected to pay a fine, or missed a date in court.
All of these scenarios can result in a license suspension or revocation. Depending on the reason for your licensing violation, you might have a legal defense.
You may be able to argue that your license suspension or revocation was unjustified with the assistance of a skilled attorney.
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License Suspension or Revocation in Arizona
The implications of operating a vehicle in the state of Arizona without a license that is in good standing become clear at this point. If you are found to be operating a vehicle while your license is currently revoked or suspended, you will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor.
With help from a criminal law attorney, your charges may be decreased, dropped, or dismissed entirely. However, this outcome will depend on the facts of your case. The most prudent course of action could be to discuss entering a plea bargain in which you admit guilt in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Be aware of the fact that driving a motor vehicle while your license is suspended can result in a significant extension of the period during which your license is suspended or in the complete revocation of your privilege to drive a motor vehicle.
If you have had your license taken away or suspended due to a DUI, it is likely that you will be required to pay an increased fine amount.
Seek the Counsel of a Traffic Ticket Attorney Today
The vast majority of traffic citations are issued for infractions that are quite minor and may be remedied without the assistance of an attorney by the person receiving the ticket. If a traffic offense has resulted in the suspension, revocation, or imposition of jail time on your driver’s license, it is possible that the assistance of a local traffic ticket attorney could be beneficial.
Some of the penalties for these infractions can be serious, and an attorney with Zanes Law can help to protect your rights and may be able to help.