Driving Without a Valid (or on a Suspended) License in Kentucky

Read about the penalties for driving without a valid license in Kentucky.

Kentucky prohibits driving without a license and driving while suspended. This article explains what constitutes these violations, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the rule.

Driving Without a License

Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a Kentucky highway must possess and be able to display a valid driver’s license.

License not in possession. A driver who maintains a license but did not have it in his or her immediate possession can be convicted of a misdemeanor, which carries fines up to $250 and a maximum of 90 days in jail. However, the driver can normally get the charge dismissed by showing the court that he or she had a license that was valid at the time of the citation.

Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving can result in a class B misdemeanor conviction. A class B misdemeanor conviction usually results in up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $250.

Exemptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without a Kentucky license, subject to Kentucky age restrictions. Farmers, military personnel, and road construction workers are also exempt from the licensing requirements while using certain machinery.

Driving While Suspended or Revoked

A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license will be subject to jail time, fines, and an extended driver’s license suspension.

Non-DUI. Driving with a suspended or revoked license is generally a class B misdemeanor. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $250 and a maximum of 90 days in jail.

DUI-related. Driving while suspended carries increased penalties if the suspension was related to a DUI incident. Persons convicted of driving while suspended or revoked due to a DUI will face the following penalties for offenses committed within a ten-year period.

  • 1st offense: six-month license revocation, up to $250 fine, and up to 90 days in jail.
  • 2nd offense: one-year license revocation, up to $500 fine, and 90 days to one year in jail.
  • 3rd offense: two-year revocation, felony conviction, one to five years in prison, and a $1,000 to $10,000 fine.

These penalties are greatly increased if the driver was intoxicated while driving while suspended.

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