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.
Generally, a valid driver's license is required for every person who operates a motor vehicle on a North Dakota highway.
Driving without a valid license. 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. Thereby, repeated unlicensed driving violations will eventually turn into driving while suspended violations, which carry much harsher penalties.
License not in possession. A driver who has 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. 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.
A licensed driver can be suspended or revoked for various reasons, including impaired driving, driving without insurance, or for accumulating too many license demerit points. Driving while suspended or revoked will lead to serious penalties.
Driving while suspended. Driving while suspended or revoked is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,500, and/or a maximum 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 $3,000 in fines. However, a judge is allowed to 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.
An offender with a revoked license will have his or her license revoked for an additional year.
Suspended for DUI. 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.