Driving Without a License in Indiana

What does it mean to drive while your license is expired, revoked, suspended or cancelled?

What does it mean to “drive without a license” in Indiana?

Driving without a license can refer to three scenarios. You’re stopped for an offense and:

  • You have a license but it’s not in your possession. In other words, you were licensed to drive but lacked proof, an infraction that may be dismissed once you can prove that you possessed a valid license at the time of the incident. (Note: you may have to pay a fine.)
  • You never applied for a license (or your license expired). IC 9-24-1-1 states that an individual must have a valid Indiana operator's license in order to drive on Indiana highways. A violation may result in a citation ranging from $500 to $2500. In addition to any other penalty imposed, a court can recommend that the person be prohibited from receiving a valid driving license for a fixed period of at least ninety (90) days and not more than two (2) years.
  • Your license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities. This offense may be punishable as a Class A infraction. (IC 9-24-19-1.) A Class A infraction carries a fine of up $10,000. (IC 34-28-5-4.) Note, if the license suspension was because the driver is a "habitual offender" a subsequent arrest while driving during the suspension may be a level 6 felony (IC 9-30-10-16)

Who doesn’t have to have a valid Indiana driver’s license?

Indiana exempts the following persons from having to possess a valid Indiana license:

(1) An individual in the service of the armed forces of the United States while operating an official motor vehicle in that service.

(2) An individual while operating: (a) a road roller; (b) road construction or maintenance machinery, except where the road roller or machinery is required to be registered under Indiana law; (c) a ditch digging apparatus; (d) a well drilling apparatus; (e) a concrete mixer; or (f) a farm tractor, a farm wagon (as defined in IC 9-13-2-60(a)(2)), or an implement of agriculture designed to be operated primarily in a farm field or on farm premises; that is being temporarily drawn, moved, or propelled on a public highway. However, to operate a farm wagon (as defined in IC 9-13-2-60(a)(2)) on a highway, an individual must be at least fifteen (15) years of age.

(3) A nonresident who: (a) is at least sixteen (16) years and one (1) month of age; and (b) has in the nonresident's immediate possession a valid operator's license that was issued to the nonresident in the nonresident's home state or country;

while operating a motor vehicle in Indiana only as an operator.

(4) A nonresident who: (a) is at least eighteen (18) years of age; and (b) has in the nonresident's immediate possession a valid chauffeur's license that was issued to the nonresident in the nonresident's home state or country;

while operating a motor vehicle upon a public highway, either as an operator or a chauffeur.

(5) A nonresident who: (a) is at least eighteen (18) years of age; and (b) has in the nonresident's immediate possession a valid license issued by the nonresident's home state for the operation of any motor vehicle upon a public highway when in use as a public passenger carrying vehicle;

while operating a motor vehicle upon a public highway.

How do you fight the charge?

Fighting a “driving without a license charge” can be difficult. Once the district attorney or prosecutor alleges that you drove without a valid license, the burden of proof is on you to prove that you did possess a valid driver’s license at the time of your offense. If you don’t evidence of a license, you lose! Depending on your circumstances, you may benefit from the advice or negotiating skills of an attorney.

Can an undocumented immigrant obtain a driver’s license in Indiana?

An undocumented immigrant is not permitted to obtain a driver's license in Indiana.

 

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