Going to work, picking up your kids, grabbing takeout or heading to the grocery — in Pittsburgh getting behind the wheel is a necessity. If you don’t have a driver’s license and you lose your mobility, daily life becomes much more difficult.
Relying on friends or family for rides, or having to take buses, can create numerous problems. Pennsylvania drivers are required to be licensed, and if you don’t have a valid license, but you continue to drive anyway, your troubles can escalate dramatically.
Penalties for Driving Without A License
In Pennsylvania driving without a license is a summary offense, handled in a Magisterial District Court. Penalties include:
- $25 to $200 fine
- You will have a criminal record
Accidentally Driving Without Your License
Driving without carrying your license is different from driving when you don’t have a valid license. If the police ask to see your driver’s license, and you discover you left it at home by mistake, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does provide you with a chance to avoid criminal charges. Take your valid driver’s license to an office with issuing authority within 15 days of the police stop. If your license was valid on the last day of the preceding driver’s license period, and not more than a year has elapsed from the last date for renewal, you will not be criminally charged. You will, however, be fined $25. You also will not be criminally charged if you can prove that at the time of the alleged violation you did have a valid license, but it was lost, stolen or destroyed.
What Pennsylvania Law Says About Criminal Traffic Violations
Every person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of section 1501(a) (relating to drivers required to be licensed) within seven years of the date of commission of the offense preceding the offense for which sentence is to be imposed shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
Steps To Take If You Are Charged
Criminal traffic violations such as driving without a license are criminal offenses. If you do not possess a valid driver’s license, driving without a license is a serious criminal charge that will leave you with a criminal record if you’re convicted. If you have been charged with a criminal traffic offense, your first step should be to immediately hire a Pittsburgh criminal traffic attorney. Prosecutors will not negotiate with you alone.
An experienced traffic defense attorney will have worked with the prosecutors handling your case many times before. They can draw on their relationships and understanding of the local court system to lessen or dismiss your charges. If you are found guilty, your attorney may also be able to negotiate on your sentence.