There are many reasons why a person can be caught driving without a license, and while all operating without a license charges are very serious, the severity of penalties you will face will depend greatly on your specific situation. Forgetting your license at home or unknowingly driving on an expired license is very different than driving after a license suspension or revocation, or driving without ever having a license at all. It is critical in any case to contact an attorney as soon as possible, refrain from making any comment to police before you are able to speak with a Michigan DL attorney, and appear on time to all scheduled court appearances.
Some of the penalties that could be possible include fines, jail time, driver’s license points and sanctions, license suspension, or even revocation. In cases where past offenses have already taken place, vehicle immobilization or license plate confiscation may also result.
The requirements for possessing a Michigan driver’s license are outlined in Section 257.310e of the Michigan Vehicle Code. The requirement that one must have a valid operators license in order to operate a motor vehicle is included in Section 257.301 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, as well as in Section 257.904. Contact an attorney immediately if you have been pulled over for driving without a license, or charged with operating a vehicle without a driver’s license.
According to Michigan law, a person whose operators license has been suspended or revoked, or whose application for a license has been denied, or who has never applied for a license, shall not operate a motor vehicle on a highway or any other place generally accessible to vehicles, including parking lots. A person can be punished both for driving without a license, and for any potential crimes that occurred while illegally driving a motor vehicle, which can add up to extremely serious and oftentimes life-changing penalties.
The specific penalties a person can face if they violate Michigan driver’s license law vary dependent on the criminal history of that person and what they were pulled over for when driving without a license.
A first offense for driving without a valid license can lead to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. In addition, you could face 2 points on your driver’s license and a criminal record. If you simply forgot your license, you will likely be able to avoid jail time if you work with an experienced attorney. Cases that involve driving after a license has been suspended or revoked are often treated more harshly.
A second offense for driving without a license can lead to up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. In addition, your vehicle could be immobilized for 180 days.
A third or fourth offense can result in up to a year in prison and a fine of $1,000, however a sentence closer to the maximum is more likely than with a second offense, and vehicle immobilization for 180 days and potential license plate confiscation will also likely be considered.
A fifth offense for driving without a Michigan operator’s license can lead to the same penalties as a third or fourth offense, with the added punishment of up to three years of vehicle immobilization and potential license plate confiscation.
If you are involved in a driving incident which causes serious injury or death and do not have a valid operator’s license, serious felony charges can result. In cases causing serious impairment of a body function of another person, a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 will follow. If death results, a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of between $2,500 and $10,000 may be imposed.
In addition, it is illegal to knowingly allow a person to operate your vehicle without a license, and if injury or death results, you can be held responsible. For cases involving injury, you could face up to two years in prison and a fine of as much as $5,000, whereas cases involving death can lead to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
If you have been wrongly accused of operating a motor vehicle without a license, or if you need to fight the serious penalties that could result from a criminal charge, call 1-800-342-7896 now for a free consultation or contact us online. Our statewide DL attorneys are available 24/7 to begin working with you and will do whatever it takes to help you obtain the best possible result.