If you are driving without a license in North Carolina, you can incur severe penalties by law enforcement. Every driver must have a valid driver’s license. If you drive on a suspended, revoked, or expired license, you can face hefty charges or penalties, including time in jail. In addition, you can also be charged with a misdemeanor and carry a criminal record forward.

People lose their licenses for many different reasons. If you drive without a license, a law enforcement officer could choose to give you a simple ticket, or you could go to jail for up to 3 years. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you could get a Driving Without a License charge and what could happen.

Driving Without a License Charge

An officer of the law can choose what kind of charge to give for Driving without a License. The charge can range from a minor traffic ticket requiring a fine to a Class 1 Misdemeanor charge. A misdemeanor conviction can come with much steeper penalties, including a criminal record. The offenses that may come with a Class 3 Misdemeanor charge include:

  • Expired License, Suspended License, or Driving Without License

When you operate a motor vehicle in North Carolina, you must carry your driver’s license with you. Driving without your license or an expired license opens you up to receive a charge of Driving Without a License

If you don’t renew your license before it expires, you could get a ticket or a license suspension. The charge depends on whether you just pay the ticket – this is admitting guilt. Or you can fight the charge in court and try to reduce your penalty.

It is crucial to keep your license renewed and carry it with you each time you operate a vehicle. 

  • Out-Of-State License or Wrong Address

If you have recently moved to North Carolina from another state, you have 60 days to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license. When you move to a new address in North Carolina, you also have 60 days to get a driver’s license with the correct new address.  (For a commercial driver, you only have 30 days.)

If you do not possess a correct license after 60 days, you could receive a charge of Driving Without a License. The penalties vary depending on the circumstances, but you could easily end up paying a significant fine of up to $200 or even lose your license to drive in this state.

  • License Restrictions

If you have poor vision or other disabilities that require contacts, glasses, or other apparatus to drive safely, you must use them when you drive. Failure to drive within the limits of your restrictions can result in a Driving Without a License Charge.

  • Unlicensed Driver Driving Your Car

If you let someone unlicensed drive your vehicle, you can be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor that comes with the associated penalties. 

Serious Misdemeanors

Depending on why you don’t have a license, the penalties can differ. Factors include whether your license was previously suspended and why. Class 2 Misdemeanors are the next most serious after Class 3. Class 1 misdemeanors come with even more penalties and even jail time. 

  • Driving on a Suspended License

If you knowingly drive with a suspended license or show a fake license to a law enforcement officer, you likely will get a class 2 misdemeanor charge. A class 2 Misdemeanor can mean up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1000. Your license suspension may also last longer.

  • Drunk Driving Suspension

If you have a suspension for drunk driving and drive on a suspended license, you could receive a Class 1 Misdemeanor, with up to 120 days in jail.

  • Repeat Offenders

As a repeat offender, you can also suffer severe penalties for a Driving Without a License charge. You could lose your license for up to one year (or up to three years as a repeat offender). Sentencing to probation or up to 20 days in jail for five or more prior convictions is also possible.

Fight For Your Life

Whether you have a ticket or a summons to appear in court, disputing can often reduce your charge. Never just pay a ticket without talking with your attorney. Often, your charges could be reduced or even dismissed with proper representation. Paying a ticket is admitting guilt. 

We Can Help

If you get a Driving Without a License charge, you may worry about what penalties you will face. With our experienced traffic attorneys at Cape Fear Law, you do not need to worry. We specialize in traffic cases involving all kinds of citations. We find the best possible defense for your issue and work with the court to defend your position.

Contact us today at Cape Fear Law and find out what we can do for you.