Pennsylvania prohibits driving without a valid license, whether the license was suspended, revoked, or never issued. This article explains this violation, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the license requirement.
Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a Pennsylvania highway or public area must carry a valid license while driving.
Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving is a summary offense, carrying a fine of $200. If the driver’s license was expired for less than one year, the fine is just $25.
License not in possession. A driver who was licensed but was not carrying the license while driving can be charged with a summary offense and faces a $200 fine. However, the driver can’t be convicted if he or she presents a then-valid license to the court within 15 days of the citation.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in Pennsylvania without an in-state license, subject to Pennsylvania age restrictions. Armed forces and federal employees on official business in official vehicles are also exempt from the license requirement. And anyone who’s at least 14 years of age can operate an implement of husbandry (tractor) without a license, but 14- and 15-year-olds must drive only on single or double-lane roads adjacent to the farmstead. (Read more about Pennsylvania's graduated license system for teenagers here.)
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license faces fines, jail, and extended license sanctions.
Driving while suspended. Driving while suspended or revoked is a summary offense, carrying a $200 fine.
Revoked for DUI. A violator whose license was suspended or revoked due to a DUI (driving under the influence) will be guilty of a summary offense, punishable by a $500 fine and 60 to 90 days in jail. A second offense carries a $1,000 fine and at least 90 days in jail. And a third offense is a third-degree misdemeanor and will result in a $2,500 fine and at least six months in jail.
Impaired and suspended. A violator who had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .02% is guilty of a summary offense, punishable by a $1,000 fine and at least 90 days in jail. A second offense is a third-degree misdemeanor and carries a $2,500 fine and at least six months in jail. A third offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which results in a $5,000 fine and at least two years in jail.
All violations for driving while suspended will extend the suspension period for one year. All violations for driving while revoked will extend the revocation period for two years.