What Are the Penalties for Driving Without a Valid License?

Driving without a valid license in Louisiana is illegal and can result in serious penalties. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections takes these violations very seriously for public safety reasons. This article will outline the penalties you may face if caught driving without a valid license, and why you need a Louisiana car accident attorney to fight such charges.

Penalties for First, Second, and Subsequent Offenses

In Louisiana, there are several penalties for driving without a valid license, which become more severe with each offense. In addition to these penalties, your driver’s license will remain suspended until you provide proof of a valid license to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles. You will also likely be required to pay any overdue fees and reinstatement costs to have your license reinstated.

First Offense

If caught driving without a valid license for the first time in Louisiana, you’re looking at up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000. The judge will determine the exact penalty based on the specific circumstances of your case.

Expect to pay at least a $300 fine and possibly serve at minimum 5 days in jail. The judge may also require you to perform community service, usually around 32 hours. You’ll also face license suspension for up to 6 months.

Second Offense

If you get caught a second time, the penalties increase significantly. You can face up to 1 year in jail and $2,000 in fines. The mandatory minimum sentence is 10 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Your driver’s license will also be suspended for at least 6 months, and the judge may extend the suspension up to 2 years. At this point, the costs and hassles make getting a valid license seem much better!

Subsequent Offenses

Louisiana takes these offenses very seriously if you’re caught driving without a license three or more times. You’ll face a mandatory minimum of nearly a month in jail (30 days) and $500 in fines. The maximum penalty is up to 5 years imprisonment and $5,000 in fines.

Your license will almost certainly be suspended for at least 1 year, if not longer. The judge can impose additional penalties like community service, house arrest, ignition interlock devices, or vehicle impoundment.

driving on a suspended license is a serious offense

Aggravating Factors That Can Increase Penalties

Certain circumstances surrounding driving without a valid license can increase penalties in Louisiana. If you are caught driving without a license while intoxicated, penalties become much harsher. You may face jail time, license suspension, and steep fines.

Excessive Speeding

Speeding excessively while unlicensed is seen as an aggravating factor by the courts. Going just 15 mph over the speed limit can increase fines and possible jail time. Speeding shows a willful disregard for safety and the law, which judges frown upon.

Accidents and Injuries

If you cause a car accident while driving without a license that results in injuries, you will likely face severe criminal penalties. Causing harm to others due to your unlawful and negligent behavior is serious. You may face charges like vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, or aggravated reckless driving. These felonies can lead to years of jail time, large fines, and a criminal record.

License Suspension

Driving when your license has been suspended, revoked, or canceled is illegal and will increase penalties. The courts see this as a blatant disregard for their authority and the law. Jail time, an extension of the suspension period, and higher fines are likely consequences. The more times you are caught driving with a suspended license, the harsher the penalties become.

Get in Touch with an Experienced Louisiana Accident Lawyer

Given the serious penalties involved for driving without a valid license in Louisiana, it is important to resolve your license suspension as soon as possible.

Our experienced Louisiana accident lawyers can evaluate your case and guide you through the reinstatement process. Call us today at 888-407-0911 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options. We can answer your questions and determine the best course of action.