Mississippi prohibits driving without a license and driving on a suspended license. This article explains what constitutes these violations, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the license requirement.
Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle or auto-cycle on a Mississippi highway must possess and be able to display a valid driver's license.
Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving is a misdemeanor. The court can issue a fine of $200 to $500 and/or jail of two days to six months.
License not in possession. A driver who refuses to display a driver's license to a requesting officer or who was issued a license but did not have it in his or her immediate possession faces a fine of $5 to $250 and one to six months in jail. However, a conviction can be avoided by presenting proof of a then-valid license to the court.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver's licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without a Mississippi license, subject to Mississippi age restrictions. Farmers driving farm implements, railroad engineers driving railroad equipment, and military personnel driving military vehicles are also exempt from the licensing requirement. Finally, certain electric personal mobility devices do not require a license to operate.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended, cancelled, or revoked license faces jail time, fines, and an extended driver's license suspension.
Driving while suspended is a misdemeanor in Mississippi and carries a mandatory fine of $200 to $500 and 48 hours to six months in jail. The court will also impose a six-month license suspension in addition to any suspension or revocation currently imposed.
Non-residents who drive while suspended in Mississippi will be sentenced to a mandatory two days to six months in jail and may have to pay a fine of $200 to $500.