Is It Ever Ok to Drive without a License?

A person driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 83 percent of the population aged 16 or over has a driver’s license. But many people choose not to get a license for a variety of reasons. Some cannot get a license because of immigration status or a disability. Others choose not to drive for personal or financial reasons.

That doesn’t mean you can’t learn to drive, which brings up the question: Is it ever ok to drive without a license? Generally speaking, every state requires that drivers have a valid license to operate a motor vehicle. If you are caught driving without a license, you may be fined or arrested depending on the severity of the offense.

Before hopping behind the wheel, there are several issues to consider:

  • Whether you just moved to a new state
  • Do you have a permit?
  • The reason you don’t currently have a driver’s license – such as a DUI
  • Local laws about penalties you may incur
  • Other modes of transportation
  • How your auto insurance coverage could be affected

Whether it’s ok to drive may depend on the circumstances. Naturally, a new driver may have a permit that requires them to have an adult in the car with them. Otherwise, it’s better to hold off until the issue is resolved.

What State Laws in Arizona and Elsewhere Say About Driving Without the Proper License

State laws are very clear when it comes to driving without a license. It is usually illegal to drive if you’ve never gotten one or your license is expired, and the penalties for doing so can be stiff. You may get off with a warning. But in some cases you could be fined, imprisoned, or both.

However, each state is different, so it’s worth it to check out what local laws say near you. Depending on the state, the consequences for driving without a license can range from a simple traffic ticket to more serious consequences like jail time. In some states, driving without a license can be either a misdemeanor or a felony offense, depending on your circumstances. In addition, if you are caught driving without a license, your vehicle may be impounded.

Was Your Driver’s License Taken Away – or Is It Missing?

A driver’s license may be taken away for numerous reasons, from a DUI to a serious traffic violation or crime that is unrelated to driving. When you imagine the risk of losing a license, even temporarily, it becomes clear that running afoul of the law is simply not worth the risk. That said, in extreme circumstances a person without a license might choose to drive a vehicle, for instance, to save someone’s life. And if you do have a license but simply forgot it at home, you may be willing to take the risk. However, if you’ve lost your license, be sure to get it replaced as soon as possible.

Moving Out of State May Mean You Need a New Driver’s License

Moving to (and driving in) another state can be a confusing process, especially when it comes to getting a new driver’s license. While this may seem like a hassle, it is actually a fairly simple process. The requirements for getting a new license vary from state to state, but there are a few general steps that are the same no matter where you go.

First, you need to gather the required documents. These usually include some combination of:

  • Your out-of-state driver’s license
  • Proof of identity
  • Your Social security card or birth certificate
  • Proof of your new residency

You may also need to take a written test and a driving test to get a new driver’s license. The process for getting a new driver’s license when you move to a different state can vary depending on a few different factors. Generally, though, you will need to visit a local DMV office, surrender your out-of-state license, pass a vision test, pass a written knowledge test, and pay the required fees.

Contact Auto Insurer or AZ Auto with Insurance-Related Questions

If you have any questions about the significance of driving without a license – and how it may impact you in the event of an accident – call your auto insurance provider as soon as possible. An agent will be able to provide you with more information about how your specific situation could be affected and whether you have the coverage you need.

Looking for new or less costly insurance? Call AZ Auto for a FREE insurance quote today and get all of your auto insurance questions answered.