Like all states, Vermont requires drivers to be properly licensed. Driving without a license, or with a suspended or revoked license, in Vermont can result in fines, jail, and other penalties. This article explains the different types of violations and the consequences each type carries.
Driving without a license is illegal, but the penalties for unlicensed driving vary depending on why the driver doesn't have a valid license.
Driving without a valid license. Driving a motor vehicle without a license (meaning you never had a license) is a traffic violation. A first offense usually results in a $162 fine, but a subsequent violation within two years will result in up to 60 days in jail and a maximum $5,000 in fines. The violator will also be issued two license demerit points for each offense.
License not in possession. A driver who has a license but was not carrying it while driving can be charged with a $59 traffic violation and issued two demerit points. However, the charge will be dismissed if the driver presents a then-valid license to law enforcement within 14 days of getting the ticket. Vermont also has a 14-day grace period for expired licenses.
License requirement exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver's licenses from their home state or country can drive in Vermont without an in-state license. However, most new residents must obtain an in-state license within 60 days of establishing residency. Farmers driving on the farm and equipment operators at a construction site are also exempt from normal licensing requirements.
A licensed driver can be suspended or revoked for many reasons including driving under the influence and negligent driving. Driving while suspended or revoked can lead to jail, fines, and other penalties.
Driving while suspended. Suspensions can stem from traffic violations and acquiring too many license demerit points. Driving while suspended for these reasons is a traffic violation. A first offense will generally carry a fine of $220, and a second offense results in a fine of $249. However, a third violation in two years can result in up to two years in prison and a maximum $5,000 in fines.
Driving while suspended for a major violation. A driver who was suspended for negligent operation, operation without consent, or failure to stop at the scene of an accident and is caught driving will face increased penalties. A conviction carries up to two years in prison and a maximum $5,000 in fines.
Driving while suspended for DUI. A driver who is suspended for impaired driving and is caught behind the wheel faces the gravest penalties. Each violation can result in up to two years in prison and a maximum $5,000 in fines, but the minimum penalties change depending on the number of prior offenses in the last five years.
Driving with license suspended program. Vermont has a special program for suspended drivers to operate a vehicle during the suspension period. The program requires driving education and a probation period but grants driver's a restricted license and can erase prior offenses from the driver's record.