Driving Without a Valid (or on a Suspended) License in North Dakota

Read about the penalties for driving without a valid license in North Dakota.

North Dakota prohibits driving without a valid driver's license, whether suspended, revoked, or never issued. This article explains the law, the possible penalties for violations, and the exemptions to the license requirement.

Driving Without a License in North Dakota

Generally, a valid driver's license is required for every person who operates a motor vehicle on a North Dakota highway. (N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 39-06-01.)

Penalties for Unlicensed Driving in North Dakota

Unlicensed driving is a moving violation that carries a $20 fine. Even though the violator doesn't have a license, the Department of Transportation will still assess four demerit points to the violator's record. With enough demerit points, the violator will face license suspension or revocation. Consequently, repeated unlicensed driving violations will eventually turn into driving while suspended violations, which carry much harsher penalties.

Penalties for Driving Without Your North Dakota License in Your Possession

A driver who had a license but was not carrying it while driving can be issued an infraction ticket and charged a $20 fine. However, the charge will be dismissed if the driver presents a then-valid license in court.

Exceptions to North Dakota's Driver's License Requirement

Non-resident drivers (who are at least 16 years old) with a valid driver's license from their home state or country can drive in North Dakota without an in-state license. However, new residents must obtain an in-state license within 60 days of establishing residency. Military personnel and United States government employees driving official government vehicles are exempt from state licensing rules.

Driving While Suspended or Revoked in North Dakota

A licensed driver can be suspended or revoked for various reasons, including impaired driving, driving without insurance, or accumulating too many license demerit points. Driving while suspended or revoked will lead to serious penalties. (N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 39-06-42.)

Penalties for Driving While Suspended in North Dakota

Driving while suspended or revoked is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,500, and/or a maximum of 30 days jail. A fourth driving while suspended conviction within five years is a class A misdemeanor, resulting in up to one year in jail and/or a maximum of $3,000 in fines. However, a judge can dismiss a driving-while-suspended charge if the offender acquires a valid driver's license within 60 days.

In addition to jail and fines, the offender's license suspension will be extended. The extension duration depends on the number of prior offenses the driver has in the last three years.

  • First violation. A first offense will result in up to 90 additional days (six months if suspended for DUI).
  • Second violation. A second offense will result in 180 additional days of suspension.
  • Third violation. A third or subsequent offense will result in an additional year of license suspension.

An offender with a revoked license will have his or her license revoked for an additional year.

Penalties for Driving on a DUI Suspension in North Dakota

An offender who was initially suspended for a DUI incident is subject to the penalties mentioned above and must serve at least four days in jail.

Talk to a North Dakota Defense Attorney

Because the penalties for unlicensed driving can be serious, you'll want to talk to an attorney if facing this type of charge. An experienced defense attorney can tell you how the law applies in your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

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