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.
Year after year, Indiana ranks above the national average for accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. If you don’t know the drunk driving laws that impact driving and drinking in Indiana, you need to get informed.
Driving under the influence is a dangerous affair and more catastrophic for Indiana drivers who survive drunk driving than anywhere else. Here is everything you need to know.
When Indiana Considers You Drunk
Every state has its own limits for when they consider a driver drunk. Because millions of people live on or near state borders, it’s vital to know what the laws are before you cross state lines for a night out. Plenty of people go from one state where their behavior is protected by law into another state where their choices result in jail time.
If you’re a non-commercial driver over the age of 21, you’re considered drunk at a different level than commercial drivers. That’s because commercial drivers are expected to maintain a higher standard of safety than the average person on the road. Non-commercial drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more are considered drunk.
If you’re a cab driver, truck driver, or getting paid to drive for any reason, your blood alcohol limits are much lower. At .04 percent or more, you’re considered drunk in Indiana. This level can be attained with as little as one beer, so if you’re driving for a living, take care.
If you’re a driver under 21, below the nation’s legal drinking age, exercise more care. While you shouldn’t be drinking at all, you certainly shouldn’t be behind the wheel. At a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or more, you’re considered to be drunk driving.
Some Common Penalties
If this is the first time you’ve been found drunk driving, the law is still harsh on you. But, your penalty may be as light as 90 days without your license. Some suspensions in more egregious situations result in two years of license suspension.
Previous convictions within 5-10 of one another lead to a minimum suspension of six months to two years. If you have just one previous conviction, expect to end up imprisoned. Depending on your hearing with a judge, you’ll end up with five days of prison time or more.
Either in addition to or instead of jail time, expect dozens of hours of community service. These are often followed by alcohol treatment or therapy programs. Since drunk driving is dangerous to both the driver and other motorists, it’s considered worth rehabilitation for this reckless behavior.
If this is a chronic issue and you’ve accrued two previous DUI convictions, expect a minimum of 10 days locked up or hundreds of hours of community service. When this problem appears to the authorities as a problem, they don’t want to risk having you on the road. Expect your license to be suspended for a year or more.
If you’ve ranked between .02 and .08 blood alcohol percentage while under the age of 21, your license is going to be suspended for a year. There’s often a fine attached, in the $500 range. Blowing a number higher than .08 means your penalties will match anyone who is 21+, resulting in jail time and community service.
In Indiana, technology has taken DUI penalties to the next level. There is now technology to limit your ability to drive if you’ve been found to have problems with drinking and driving.
Judges now have the ability to demand drivers install ignition interlock technology into a driver’s car. This expensive technology, typically paid for at the driver’s expense, limits a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle if they’ve been drinking. This technology interrupts an ignition by adding breath alcohol technology in between the key and the ignition.
If this equipment is tampered with, it often results in penalties for the driver. If there’s a conviction in the past ten years between the last DUI and the latest one, judges must order this system. The alternative is the driver goes through an alcohol treatment program.
If you don’t have the time to go to a program or have a bad history of drinking and driving, you’ll be subject to this technology.
Commercial Drivers Beware
As listed above, commercial drivers in Indiana face lower limits to how much alcohol is considered dangerous for driving. Violating these limits results in penalties impacting your ability to make a living.
The penalties above apply to drivers of commercial vehicles. The additional penalty is that a commercial driver convicted of a DUI driving any vehicle is then disqualified from operating any commercial vehicle. This year-long suspension is a serious hiccup to any commercial driver’s career.
If the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time of the DUI, this disqualification turns into a three-year ban. Two DUIs for any commercial driver results in a lifelong ban from operating a commercial vehicle.
Get To Know Dram Shop Law
If you run a bar or anywhere someone can buy a drink, you could be held liable for selling to a drunk person. If someone drinks at your establishment and then ends up in an accident, you’re suddenly in the mix.
This liability also extends to anyone who gives alcohol to a minor if you’re aware they’re underage.
Drunk Driving Is Always a Bad Choice
When you make the choice to drink, you need to make the choice to avoid drunk driving. While it might seem more convenient at times, it’s too dangerous to risk. Even if you think you’ll be okay, with these penalties in mind, it’s just too expensive to try.
If your license has recently been suspended, call us today for help.