There’s no two ways about it. Driving a car is a privilege, not a right, that requires the acquisition of a valid driver’s license. But even if you learned how to drive a car in your parent’s backyard or used to drive the truck on the family farm, that’s not enough to obtain it. In order to receive one, you must first take a written exam that shows you understand the basic traffic rules, and then you must take a driving test, to prove you know how to properly, and safely, operate a heavy piece of machinery on the road. You might know that you can handle a vehicle, but you haven’t proven it to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and this could cause a problem. Or, maybe you had a license and expired or was revoked. Either way, you need to earn it again, or else you could be facing some legal issues.
Penalties for Driving Without A License
Penalties for driving without a license vary between states and also depend upon the circumstances. If you have never actually gotten a license, or your license has expired, you may be charged with a misdemeanor, with fines as a punishment. If you are caught driving without a license because yours was revoked or suspended, the punishments are often steeper, and may include time in jail. You can even face penalties for driving without your license if you don’t have it on you when you are stopped. These penalties are far less severe, and you need to produce it if called to court in order to avoid a criminal charge.
You may have heard about the woman who videotaped a police officer who stopped a driver who didn’t have a license. The woman claimed that the driver was a “free inhabitant” and according to Article 4 of the Articles of Confederation, he didn’t need one because he was protected.
The article states that “free inhabitants of each of these states…shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several states…and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce subject to the same duties, impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively.” In other words, a “free inhabitant” from one state must be treated the same as the citizens of another state. Therefore, the penalties put in place by a state for its inhabitants regarding driving without a license are the same for a “free inhabitant.” There’s no getting around it.
It’s pretty simple. If you want to enjoy the privilege of driving a car, get a license. You can avoid a whole lot of trouble and get where you want to go.