As in other states, it is unlawful to drive without a valid license in Idaho. 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 in Idaho 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. Failure to display a valid license upon the request of an officer is an infraction but doesn't have to result in a conviction. If the driver is able to produce in court a driver's license that was valid at the time of the citation, the driver cannot be convicted. However, a driver who is convicted must pay an infraction fine up to $75.
Driving without a valid license. A first-time conviction for driving without a valid license in Idaho is an infraction, punishable by up to a $150 fine. With a second offense, the maximum fine increases to $300. A third offense within five years is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver's licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without an Idaho license, subject to Idaho age restrictions. Military personnel, farmers driving tractors, and some non-highway ATV users are also exempt from the licensing requirements under certain circumstances.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license is guilty of "driving without privileges" and is subject to possible jail time and fines. Driving without privileges is a misdemeanor in Idaho and can include up to six months in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000.
Suspended for failure-to-pay. Persons who are convicted of driving on a suspended license will only be guilty of an infraction if the license had been suspended due to a failure to pay (a civil judgment, child support, or fines).
Driving outside of restrictions. Anyone who has a restricted license but violates those restrictions will be fined $101 and suffer a 30-day driver's license suspension.