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

Read about the consequences for driving without a valid license in Minnesota.

Like in all other states, it's illegal to drive without a valid license in Minnesota. This article explains what constitutes driving without a license, the penalties for a violation, and license reinstatement requirements.

Driving Without a License in Minnesota

"Driving without a license" is illegal in Minnesota and is typically a misdemeanor offense. However, the penalties for a violation depend on the circumstances.

Penalties for Standard Unlicensed Driving in Minnesota

Minnesota law states that "except when expressly exempted, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle upon a street or highway in this state unless the person has a valid license." The cost of a typical citation for this offense is around $200 (a $100 fine plus surcharges).

Penalties for Driving Without Having Your License in Your Possession in Minnesota

Even if you have a valid license, you can be cited for driving without having the license in your possession. You can get this type of citation dismissed by presenting evidence—to the court or officer—of having a valid license at the time of the incident. Failure to provide this information can result in a $100 ticket ($20 fine plus surcharges).

Penalties for Driving With an Expired License in Minnesota

In most cases, driver's licenses expire after four years (on the person's birthday). Driving with an expired license can result in a $200 citation (a $100 fine plus surcharges).

Driving on a Suspended, Revoked, or Canceled License in Minnesota

A driver's license can be suspended, revoked, or canceled for various reasons, including a DWI or underage drinking.

Most violations involving driving on a suspended or revoked license are misdemeanors. The fine is $200, and, with added fees, the ticket will cost close to $300.

However, if a person's license was canceled as "inimical to public safety," the violation is enhanced to a gross misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a gross misdemeanor is one year in jail and/or a maximum $1,000 fine. (For example, a third or subsequent DWI in ten years may result in a person's license being canceled as inimical to public safety.)

Reinstatement of Minnesota Driving Privileges

Driver's license applicants must pay an application fee. If, however, the person's license has been suspended, revoked, or canceled, additional reinstatement fees apply.

The fees and process for regaining driving privileges depend on the violation and licensing sanction. A suspended license typically comes with the least onerous sanction. Revocation and cancelation are more serious and usually involve longer no-driving periods, as well as additional costs and steps for reinstatement of driving privileges.

In some cases, reinstatement requires only payment of a fee. In other situations, a person will also need to retake the driver's license examination or comply with some other conditions of reinstatement. For example, to get your license back after a DWI, you must retake the written driver's test and pay $680 in fees and surcharges. And for certain repeat DWI offenders, complete restoration of full driving privileges requires completion of the ignition interlock program.

Undocumented Immigrants Can't Obtain a License in Minnesota

Under current rules, undocumented immigrants aren't allowed to obtain a driver's license in Minnesota.

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