Driving Without a License in Missouri

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

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

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). Missouri Revised Statutes § 302.020 states that it is unlawful for any person to operate any vehicle upon any highway in this state unless the person has a valid license. A violation for a first offense is a Class D misdemeanor. A second violation is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Your license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities. For first time offenders, this offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000.

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

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

  • Any person while operating any farm tractor or implement of husbandry temporarily operated or moved on a highway;
  • A nonresident who is at least sixteen years of age and who has in his immediate possession a valid license issued to him in his home state or country;
  • A nonresident who is at least eighteen years of age and who has in his immediate possession a valid license issued to him in his home state or country which allows such person to operate a motor vehicle in the transportation of persons or property as classified in section 302.015;
  • Convicted offenders of the department of corrections who have not been convicted of a motor vehicle felony as follows driving while intoxicated, failing to stop after an accident and disclosing his or her identity, or driving a motor vehicle without the owner's consent may operate state-owned trucks for the benefit of the correctional facilities, provided that such offender shall be accompanied by a correctional officer or other staff person in such truck.

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 have 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 Missouri?

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


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