Court date for driving without a license: What can happen to me?
Not being responsible behind the wheel can lead to very serious consequences, such as a court date for driving without a license.
And while this isn’t a penalty that officers impose on people with a clean driving record , or those who have never committed a violation;
it’s best to always err on the side of caution and know what to do in unusual situations .
Therefore, in this article we are going to explain what can happen in a court date for driving without a license , the options you have, as well as other issues.
But first, let’s start by explaining some basics.
Penalties for driving without a license in the United States
Depending on the circumstances, failing to produce a valid driver’s license when asked to do so by a police officer can lead to a range of penalties that generally fall into one of two categories:
correctable offenses and willful misdemeanors .
Situations like forgetting the license at home fall into this category . In this case, the sanction would be a “correctable fine” (or fix-it ticket as it is called in English);
for which you must later demonstrate that you have “corrected” the infraction so that the traffic court dismisses the citation.
Failure to present this evidence, in most cases, carries fines or other more serious sanctions .
Penalties for intentional offenses in the area of driving without a license, such as driving on a suspended or revoked license , are much more severe.
Driver’s licenses are frequently suspended for DUI offenses , as states have an interest in keeping dangerous drivers off the roads.
Therefore, when a driver voluntarily drives with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, he or she can be cited, arrested, and charged with a misdemeanor.
What can happen to me in a court date for driving without a license?
Once an officer issues you a court date for driving without a license , all you need to do is contact an attorney immediately and begin preparations for trial.
However, police officers have the authority to place you under arrest for driving without a license, and will not hesitate to do so if they feel it is necessary.
If so, you will be taken to the local police station for the booking process and kept in a cell there or in a detention center until you can be brought before a judge for a bond hearing.
While it would be rare for a judge to hold someone until trial on these types of charges, it is possible, so get professional help.
To properly defend your driving without a license court date case, the attorney will need to carefully examine why you were driving without a license , as this could determine the outcome of the case.
For example, if you simply left your wallet at home , as is the case with correctable violations, the court may be more inclined to set aside the violation and issue a warning instead .
But if you were driving on a suspended and revoked license, it is in your best case if there is a good underlying reason .
For example, you were in an emergency situation and you had to take your child to the emergency room. Or maybe you were forced to drive against your will.
Now, in the event that you do not have the weight of an emergency, the attorney can negotiate with the court and obtain a plea agreement or a lesser charge , depending on the details of the case.
How should I prepare for a court date for driving without a license?
Each case is different, so the lawyer who helps you in your case will devise the strategy that best suits your circumstance;
but, as general advice, we recommend that you do the following to prepare for a court date for driving without a license .
Look for personal references. These are written references from people who can speak of your good character , which will be of great help in your case.
They should be addressed to court officials, and the people writing them should say that they are aware of the charges you are in court for .
Get a driver’s license as soon as you can.
Since you are accused of driving without a license, it is a good idea to obtain one before the court date, since with it you can demonstrate your good will and adherence to the laws .
Pay your traffic fines . If your license has been suspended because you have accumulated fines, do what you can to pay them.
If you need help managing the payment because you are in financial difficulty, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and explain your situation.
Write what you want to say in court.
Although it may not seem like it, writing a letter to the court explaining why you had to drive without a license can influence what is decided about your case and the penalty imposed on you.
Examples of penalties for driving without a license
The following examples illustrate the range of penalties you can receive for operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license.
Washington. You can receive a jail sentence if a judge finds that you frequently commit violations.
Illinois. Two-month suspension for the first offense of driving without a valid license; possible jail sentence of up to one year for driving on a suspended driver’s license.
California. Your car can be impounded for 30 days; Likewise, you will need to appear in court (or have an attorney do so on your behalf)
if in addition to this offense you also committed a DUI or have other charges, such as a red light ticket .
New York. $40 to $300 fine for an expired license; misdemeanor charge of “Aggravated Unlicensed Operation” (2nd or 1st degree) for multiple suspensions or DUI -related suspensions,
with possible felony charge (may carry a jail sentence).
Read also: Where do they buy cars for junkies?
What should I do after a court date for driving without a license?
Let’s say your DUI court date went great and all charges were dropped; Although this is good news, you should keep in mind that any periods of disqualification or suspension;
as well as fines and infractions, that you previously had will continue to be in force . Therefore, we recommend that you do the following.
Do not drive while disabled. Which means not driving while your license is suspended. Otherwise, the process might repeat itself and you might not be so lucky this time.
After all, a second court date for driving without a driver’s license (or worse, with a suspended license), isn’t going to be for the best.
Reapply for your license. Once the period of disqualification is over, you must reapply for your driver’s license.
They won’t automatically return it to you, so be patient and wait until you get your hands on it, as as we’ve mentioned;
getting caught driving without a license one more time can result in more serious penalties .
Pay the fines. If the court gives you a fine but you think you won’t be able to pay it, in addition to contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles;
talk to the officers about working out a payment plan. This is possible in many places, such as Seattle.