Nearly 90 percent of Americans over the age of 16 have a driver’s license.
Yet, every year, thousands of drivers in the U.S. take to the roads without a valid license. Their reasons for driving illegally are varied.
Some simply forgot to renew their license while others have had their license revoked as a result of accidents or other incidents. Then there are those that have never had a license in the first place.
No matter the reason, realizing that you’re about to get pulled over or causing an accident on the road and knowing that you don’t have a valid drivers license is never a good experience.
If you have been caught driving without a license in Indiana, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the consequences and what you can do about them.
Driving with an Expired License or Without License in Possession
It could happen to anyone. You forget that your license has expired until the officer asks for you to hand it to them. Or you realize that you left your entire wallet, and with it, your driver’s license, at home just as soon as those blue lights start flashing in your rearview mirror.
If you are caught driving with an expired license or if you have a valid license but it is not in your possession, you will face fines of up to $500.
However, if you can present a valid driver’s license at the police station within the city or county where you were charged within 5 days, you can get these fines and the charges dropped. This way, nothing will appear on your record.
Driving with License Suspended in Indiana
Drivers can get their license suspended for a number of different reasons. There are actually two different types of suspended driver’s licenses.
Definite License Suspension
With a definite suspension, your license is suspended for a set amount of time. After that time period is up, you must then pay your suspension termination fee, and then you will be able to earn your license.
If you fail to do any of these things, or if you receive another criminal charge while your license is under a definite suspension, your suspension may be extended. It may also become an indefinite suspension.
There are several incidents that can lead to a definite license suspension.
You could get arrested for DUI or OWI. You could get caught driving without liability insurance, or cause an accident and get caught for not having this insurance.
Even receiving too many traffic tickets, including speeding tickets, reckless operation tickets, running red lights, and more can lead to definite license suspension.
Indefinite License Suspension
With an indefinite suspension, your license is suspended until you complete an assigned action. This action could be anything from paying traffic tickets to completing a state-mandated course.
Once you have completed your assigned action, you receive your license back right away. There is no set length of suspension as there is with a definite suspension.
In some states, including Indiana, if a person has not paid child support, the courts may suspend their license. In this case, it is an indefinite suspension. When the child support is paid, the license suspension will then be dropped.
A license may also receive an indefinite suspension if the holder suffers from a medical condition that renders them unfit to drive. If the medical condition is cured or otherwise managed so that the person may safely drive again, the suspension may be lifted.
Unlike a definite or indefinite suspension, if a license has been revoked, it cannot be reinstated.
A license may be revoked after a driver is charged with a DUI, vehicular homicide, or even too many traffic violations.
The only way that a person with a revoked license can obtain a license again is if they apply for approval through the state’s DMV, pay any necessary penalties, and take their driver’s test all over again. Depending on the original offense, the state DMV may not approve the driver’s application for a new license.
Getting Caught Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License
Getting caught driving with a suspended or revoked license is far more serious than getting caught with an expired drivers license.
Your punishment will depend on the reasons why your license was suspended, to begin with.
If your license was suspended following a DUI, you will face up to one year in jail and fines up to $5,000. If your license was under and an indefinite suspension for failure to pay traffic tickets or child support, you will face a fine of up to $10,000. If this is your second offense, you may also face jail time.
If you cause an accident while driving with a suspended or revoked license, and someone is injured, you will be charged with a class 5 or 6 felonies and will face jail time and hefty fines.
The DMV may also choose to extend your suspension.
What Happens if You Have Never Had a License
If you have never had a driver’s license and are caught or cause an accident, you may be charged with a class C misdemeanor.
This means that you could face up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
However, if you are caught driving without a license again, the punishments become much more severe.
If you are caught a third time, you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. This means that you could spend up to one year in jail, as well as fines of up to $5,000.
What Can You Do if You are Caught Driving Without a License
If you are caught driving without a license in the state of Indiana or anywhere else, you could be facing misdemeanor charges, fines, a longer suspension, and even jail time.
The best thing you can do is to make sure that you are never driving without a license.
But if you have already been caught and charged, there may still be hope. Contact us today to see what course of action we can take against your charges.