There are a few situations when you could be breaking the law simply by driving a vehicle, even if you aren’t doing anything else wrong. There are a few different situations involving drivers’ licenses, in particular, which are considered serious traffic violations and can be brought to court as misdemeanor traffic offenses:
- If you are residing in a state but do not have a valid driver’s license in that state
- If you are under 15 or 16 (depending on state law) and do not have a valid driver’s license (this applies to driving outside of the designated time period, when restricted licenses are used)
- If your license was suspended or revoked because of another offense
Regardless of why you could receive this charge, the consequences can still be very serious: a fine is probably the best possible outcome, although it’s possible that you could also serve jail time or community service time if the court deems it a reasonable punishment.
Here are a few more things you should know about getting caught driving with a suspended license, or without a license at all:
- It’s actually possible to lose your license for a reason unrelated to misdemeanor traffic violations. Failing to pay child support, for example, could cost you your license.
- Studies have found that drivers without valid licenses are more likely to leave the scene of an accident, which is considered a hit and run offense, and which is considered to be a misdemeanor traffic offense if no serious personal injury has occurred.
- For young drivers in particular, restricted drivers’ licenses are common and may restrict the person from driving at certain times of the day. If the driver is caught driving during the prohibited time, it’s considered to be a violation of license restrictions.
- Drivers often face suspended licenses for DWI and DUI traffic violations, or because they’ve acquired too many points on their DMV record (possibly from small traffic tickets with unpaid fines, or possibly from just a couple serious offenses).