Most people look forward to their 16th birthday with anticipation because that’s the milestone to get your driver’s license. It’s your first significant step toward adulthood. In Pennsylvania and most other states, it’s the beginning of major responsibility. Driving without a license is one of the more serious moving traffic violations. Repercussions can range from a warning to jail time, depending on the circumstances.
Driving Without A License
There are several ways you can be “without a license.” You can be charged with this during a moving violation, whether you’ve forgotten your wallet or you’ve had your license suspended or revoked. Let us look at the different levels of “without a license,” as seen in the law’s eyes.
You’re Licensed, But Don’t Have Your Physical ID on You
An officer can not verify that you have a license in good standing when you’ve been pulled over if you don’t have it on you. They may choose to cite you, but could also take you on your word. Or they may decide to cite and impound your car, letting you find your own transportation home.
Your License is Expired
In Pennsylvania, driver’s licenses expire the day after your birthday, four years after you obtain or renew it. Therefore, if you haven’t renewed your license and paid the appropriate fees to your local DMV, your license is void.
You’ve Never Had Your License
You’re simply driving without ever having acquired your license in the first place. Because of this, the authorities have no way to know you have practiced safe driving or that you’ve learned the rules of the road.
You’ve Had Your License Suspended or Revoked
You’ve done something in your past to have your right to drive a car retracted. In the eyes of the law, previous citations, arrests, convictions, or health considerations have deemed you unable to drive safely. Some items that could cause you to have a suspended or revoked license are:
- Reckless or careless driving
- Homicide with a vehicle
- Driving while under the influence of intoxicants, DUII
- Collisions or dangerous driving causing an accident that results in damage to person or property
- Committing a felony involving a car
You do have the option to refute the charges associated with some instances if you receive a Driving Without a License citation.
You will still need to attend court and discuss your options with a judge. If your license is suspended or revoked due to previous criminal activities, you will not be able to get the charges dropped. Driving without a license is illegal, no matter how you look at it, but if you’re driving without a license in an emergency, the officer may choose to let you off with a warning. Officer discretion is powerful in these situations.
If you didn’t have your license in your possession, you could be charged with a fee up to $200, and have 15 days from the citation to present your current active license to the court. However, the charges may be dropped or reduced, based on the judge’s decision.
Exceptions to the Rule
In the state of Pennsylvania, you are not required to possess a license to operate a ‘vehicle of husbandry”. This means that after the age of 14, you may legally drive a tractor or other farm equipment on roads between farm properties. Under 16, you may only operate on single-lane roads. After 16 and with a driver’s license, you can drive on larger roads if necessary.
Gibson Bail Bonds
Repeat violations can result in jail time and hefty fines. If you find yourself in jail and need a quick way out, you can call us a Gibson Bail Bonds. It’s our job to get you out of jail faster, so you can await your court date in the peace of your own home.
You can read more about the bail bonds process, and the steps needed to obtain your release in our blog. Give us a call from jail, or have a family member contact us on your behalf.