Like in other states, it's unlawful to drive without a license in Kansas. 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 a Kansas 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. Failure to display a valid license upon request by an officer 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 request, the charge is supposed to be dismissed. However, a driver who is convicted faces up to 90 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine.
Driving without a valid license. A first-time conviction for driving without a license in Kansas is class B misdemeanor, which carries up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. The violation will also result in a 90-day license suspension.
Although it seems illogical to suspend a non-existent license, the Kansas Department of Revenue creates an electronic profile for the driver and "suspends" the person from using or obtaining a driver's license for 90 days. The primary reason for this electronic profile is to subject unlicensed drivers who drive during the 90-day suspension to "driving while suspended" punishments, which include mandatory jail time (see below).
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver's licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without a Kansas license, subject to Kansas age restrictions. Non-residents whose home country does not require licenses may be able to obtain authorization from the Kansas Department of Revenue allowing them to operate a vehicle on a temporary basis without a license. And farmers in Kansas are allowed to drive tractors between fields without a license.
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.
Suspension. Drivers who are convicted of driving-while-suspended will have their suspension extended by 90 days.
Fines. Typically, the fine for a driving-while-suspended-or-restricted violation is at least $100. The minimum fine is increased to $1,500 if the driver was suspended due to a DUI, vehicular homicide, or other serious offense.
Jail. For a first driving-while-suspended-or-restricted offense, the driver is subject to a jail sentence of at least five days—though the person might not actually serve the full time in jail if probation is granted. For a second or subsequent conviction, however, probation cannot be granted until the five days of jail is served. The minimum jail time is increased to 90 days if the driver was suspended due to a DUI, vehicular homicide, or other serious offense.
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.