Driving Without A License in NC

All individuals driving on the roads countrywide are required to have a license to ensure roadside safety.

Thus, all states in the U.S. have developed a comprehensive set of laws to govern drivers’ actions and lower the risk of traffic offenses.

One of the fundamental principles is that driving is a privilege that you must apply for. So, a license is only permitted to those drivers who have established and proven that they can fully conform to the road rules and drive responsibly. And since a driver’s license is a responsibility and a privilege, all 50 states of the U.S. have identified that driving without a valid license in hand is punishable.

A young woman, being stopped by police at night for not having a license

Likewise, every driver in the state of North Carolina should have a valid license before they sit behind the wheel and legally operate a vehicle. As driving is a privilege and not a right, unlicensed drivers can’t operate a vehicle even if they intend only to move the car and park it somewhere else. It is strictly against the law in North Carolina to sit in the driver’s seat of a vehicle without a license if the motor is running.

To obtain a driver’s license in North Carolina, a driver should be at least 16 years of age. They must have a learner’s permit in the beginning. Once they are ready to get a new driver’s license, they must visit the local D.M.V. (Department of Motor Vehicles) and take the test. The test requires passing a knowledge test, a road sign test, a vision test, and a driving test. A license is valid for five years and must then be renewed. However, getting a license is not easy, but those who want to drive must strive hard to get it.

Alarming Statistics

Did you know that nearly 1 million people in the state of North Carolina have suspended driver’s licenses? That’s approximately one in every nine licensed drivers in N.C. And most drivers have suspended licenses not because of dangerous driving but because they failed to show up on the day of trial and owe money to the court.

Driving without a valid license in North Carolina is a serious offense. Therefore, it is imperative to have a seasoned lawyer in North Carolina by your side to defend against the allegations and protect you from big fines and even jail time.

So, contact the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor P.C. today to discuss your case if you have been driving without a license in North Carolina. Continue reading to learn more about driving without a license.

Common Reasons You Could Be Found Guilty of Driving Without a License in N.C.

Here are the most common situations in which you could be found guilty. However, potential penalties vary from case to case. The possible circumstances are:

  • You have a license, but it was not with you when you were pulled over
  • You never got a license
  • You were driving with an expired license
  • You have lived in the state of North Carolina for over two months, but you’re still driving with an out-of-state license
  • You failed to conform to the restrictions on your license
  • Your license was revoked or canceled
  • You have a suspended license

Let’s dig deeper to learn more about how these situations could be penalized.

M5 driving on the highway with trees in the background

No Operators License (N.O.L.)

The N.O.L. or No Operators License infraction is an offense codified in N.C.G.S. § 20-7. Punishments for an N.O.L. charge range from a class 3 (three) misdemeanor for those who never obtained a license down to only an infraction for expired licenses. Moreover, if you are convicted for N.O.L., it can negatively impact your insurance for at least three years.

In North Carolina, you can get ticketed for N.O.L. if you’re licensed to drive but don’t have it when pulled over, or it has expired, or you carry an out-of-state license. The repercussions in such circumstances may include:

  • A fine of $100 and court costs.
  • Three points on your driver record.
  • 1 point on your insurance record.

These are light penalties, unlike the class 3 misdemeanor.

Class 3 Misdemeanors and Penalties

Class 3 misdemeanors include situations where you fail to comply with the license restrictions or never get a license. Such offenses are severe and come with a $200 fine and up to 20 days of jail time.

Class 2 Misdemeanors and Penalties

License issues that are not class 3 misdemeanors or infractions are classified as class 2 misdemeanors in North Carolina, such as showing a fictitious license knowingly, driving under suspension, and revoked license. Class 2 misdemeanors have severe penalties. It includes 60 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

It is essential to understand that driving on a suspended license can come with the same penalties as driving without one unless it was suspended because of drunk driving. Suspension from drunk driving can result in a Class 1 misdemeanor with up to 120 days in jail.

Contact our Lawyer Today

If you’ve been charged with any of the above, then get in touch with us. Traffic offenses can invade your right to drive, thereby making it extremely hard for you to work and live. However, our attorney could make a huge difference. Our experienced lawyer in North Carolina can evaluate your case and suggest a course of action to deal with the charges. Our goal is to get your case resolved and lessen the impact on your insurance and license privilege.

Contact us today for a case evaluation. Let us help you in time of your need.


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