What does it mean to “drive without a license” in Massachusetts?
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). Massachusetts Code
Section Ch. 90 § 10 requires every driver have a valid license. Violators
are subject to a fine of up to $500.
license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities. This
offense is punishable by a fine of $500 to 1,000 fine and up to 10 days jail
time. In addition, any suspension will be extended. Massachusetts
Code Ch. 90; §23
Who doesn’t have to have a valid Massachusetts driver’s license?
Massachusetts exempts certain persons from the licensing
requirement as set forth in Code
Section Ch. 90 § 10:
- If you have a valid Massachusetts learner’s
- If you are a nonresident licensed in your own
state or country and if that jurisdiction reciprocates with Massachusetts ;
- If you are an active member of the armed forces
and are licensed in the state where you are from;
- If you are licensed in another state or country
and have applied for a Massachusetts license but are waiting to take the
driver’s test and you have a 60 day temporary permit;
- You are licensed in another state and are the
spouse of a member of the armed forces whom your accompanying on assignment to
- You are a member of the armed forces having
returned from duty outside of this country within 45 days; and
- You are a nonresident licensed where the vehicle
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 evidence of a license, you lose! Depending
on your circumstances, you may benefit from the advice or negotiating skills of
Can an undocumented immigrant obtain a driver’s license in Massachusetts?
An undocumented immigrant is not permitted to obtain a driver's
license in Massachusetts.