Like in other states, Arkansas prohibits driving without a driver’s license. This article explains what constitutes driving without a license, the penalties for a violation, and exemptions to the rule.
Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on an Arkansas highway must possess and be able to display a valid driver’s license. Failure to do so can result in a misdemeanor conviction.
License not in possession. All drivers are required to possess and—upon request by an officer—display a valid driver’s license. A driver who is convicted of failing to display a license faces up to 90 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine. However, failure to display a valid license upon request doesn’t have to result in a conviction. If the driver is able to produce, in court or at the police station, a driver’s license that was valid at the time of the officer’s request, the charge is supposed to be dismissed.
Driving without a valid license. A conviction for driving without a license in Arkansas is a misdemeanor, which carries up to six months in jail and a maximum $500 fine.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with a valid driver’s license from their home state or country can drive in the state without an Arkansas license, subject to Arkansas age restrictions. Military personnel and farmers (not driving on the highway) are also exempt from licensing requirements.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended, restricted, or revoked license will be subject to jail time, fines, and an extended driver’s license suspension.
License penalty. Drivers who are convicted of driving while suspended will have their suspension extended by “an additional like period.” Drivers who are convicted of driving while revoked shall receive an additional one-year revocation.
Fines. A judge can order a fine of up to $500 for a driving while suspended violation.
Jail. Convicted persons must serve at least two days in jail, with a maximum of six months.
Impounded vehicle. Any vehicle used in the commission of driving-while-suspended can be impounded.
It should be noted that a license is not automatically reinstated once the suspension or restriction period has passed. Generally, a reinstatement fee is required before a driver’s license can become valid again.