Missouri prohibits driving without a valid license, whether revoked, suspended, or never issued. This article explains what constitutes these violations, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the license requirement.
Generally, every person must have a valid driver’s license to operate a vehicle on a Missouri highway.
Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving is a class D misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $500. A second offense is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. A third or subsequent offense is a class E felony. A class E felony carries up to four years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.
A conviction for driving without a license will also result in points added to the driver’s record. A driver will receive two points for a first offense, four points for a second offense, and six points for a third offense.
License not in possession. A driver who was issued a license but was not carrying it while driving will be presumed to be unlicensed. A properly licensed driver cannot be convicted of a crime in court for not having a license in his or her possession but can be arrested based on this presumption.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in Missouri without an in-state license, subject to Missouri age restrictions. The temporary operation of farm tractors on the highway is permitted without a valid license. Missouri also permits certain unlicensed inmates to operate correctional facility trucks if supervised.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license is subject to varying penalties depending on the reason for the suspension and the driver’s criminal history.
Driving while suspended. A first-offense conviction for driving while suspended or revoked is a class D misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. A second offense is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.
Felony driving while suspended. Driving while suspended or revoked can be a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in jail and a maximum $10,000 in fines, under the following circumstances:
Extended suspension. A driving-while-suspended or revoked conviction will also result in 12 points being added to the driver’s record. The accumulation of 12 points within 18 months results in a one-year driver’s license revocation.