Driving is a privilege, not a right, which means that the state can impose fairly broad restrictions and requirements on someone’s ability to operate a motor vehicle on public roads. The most basic requirement to legally drive in Kentucky, other than having access to a motor vehicle, is to have a driver’s license.
To get licensed, people must undergo appropriate education about how to safely operate a motor vehicle and how to comply with Kentucky traffic laws. They will also need to pass a test demonstrating theoretical knowledge of the law and practical skill at the wheel of a vehicle. They will need to continue renewing that license and re-testing as necessary for as long as they intend to continue driving.
Sometimes, people decide to drive without a license and end up facing major consequences. People sometimes try to drive when the state has suspended or revoked their license. Others choose to drive when they have never obtained a driver’s license in the first place. What are the possible consequences of driving without a license?
Unlicensed driving is a criminal offense
Those accused of driving without a license are often dismissive of the allegations they face until they learn the truth of the matter. The infraction won’t just be a simple ticket. Kentucky prosecutors can bring misdemeanor charges against those who drive without a license.
Those who have a license but didn’t have it in their possession at the time of a traffic stop or who don’t have a valid license at all could face Class B misdemeanor charges. The possible penalties include up to $250 in fines and up to 90 days in jail. Those caught driving after the state suspended their license could face jail time, fines and a longer license suspension. If the license issue was the result of a drunk driving charge, the penalties could include six additional months of license suspension or more.
A motorist’s personal history of infractions and also the consequences of the most recent unlicensed driving incident will directly influence the penalties that a judge decides to impose. Those who plead guilty have no guarantee of lenience in sentencing, which is why many people might want to go to court when accused of unlicensed driving.
Learning more about state traffic laws may help those accused of violating traffic statutes plan an appropriate defense.