Driving Without a License in West Virginia

What does it mean to drive while your license is expired, revoked, suspended or cancelled in Wast Virginia?

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).  W. Va Code §17B-2-1 states that, "No person … may drive any motor vehicle upon a street or highway in this state or upon any subdivision street used by the public generally unless the person has a valid driver's license." Violation is a misdemeanor.
  • Your license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities. For first and second-time offenders, this offense is punishable by a fine of between $100 and $500. (W. Va Code §17B-4-3.)

Who doesn’t have to have a valid West Virginia driver’s license?

West Virginia exempts the following persons from having to possess a valid West Virginia license:

  • Any person operating a motor vehicle in the armed services of the United States in the performance of official duties.
  • A nonresident who is at least 16 years old and has a valid driver's license from another state or country (limited to 90 days in a calendar year).
  • A nonresident who is attending a West Virginia college or university and has a valid license from another state.

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 have evidence of a license, you lose! Depending on your circumstances, you may benefit from the advice or negotiating skills of an attorney.

Can an undocumented immigrant obtain a driver’s license in West Virginia?

An undocumented immigrant is not permitted to obtain a driver's license in West Virginia.


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