Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2022

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Just the Basics

  • Driving without a license is a very serious offense that could lead to hefty fines, community service, and even jail time
  • Depending on the severity of the incident and how many times you’ve been charged with driving without a license, you could face felony charges
  • Laws concerning the penalties for driving without a license vary from one state to the next

If you’ve ever been caught driving with a suspended license — or with no license at all — you may be wondering, “How much is a ticket for driving without a license?”

Driving without a driver’s license is a serious offense, and you can get in a lot of trouble if you are caught driving before you’ve been issued a license or after your license has been suspended for any reason. Anyone caught driving without a license may face serious penalties, including paying a potentially hefty fine.

Shopping for car insurance after getting your license reinstated can be tricky. If you’re currently looking for car insurance coverage, you should shop around and compare different types of car insurance coverage. You will probably be paying higher-than-average rates as a high-risk driver, but you’ll never know until you start your search.

Be sure to use our free quote tool above to look for the best rates on car insurance coverage for high-risk drivers in your area today.

How much is a ticket for driving without a license?

The amount you will pay for a ticket if you’re caught driving without a license will depend on where you live as well as the unique circumstances surrounding your case.

If you are caught driving without a driver’s license — or with a license that has been suspended or revoked — you will have broken the law in all 50 states. In most cases, even the first offense of driving without a license is considered a misdemeanor with much heavier penalties than a simple traffic ticket.

Because driving without a license once is a serious offense, doing so multiple times can lead to felony charges, depending on where you live and the nature of the incident.

Anyone caught driving without a license will face a license suspension of up to a year for the first offense and may be expected to pay up to $2,500. You may also find that your vehicle is impounded and your license plate confiscated.

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What happens if I’m caught driving without a license more than once?

As stated earlier, driving without a license — regardless of the circumstances — is a very serious charge. If you are caught doing so more than once, you may have to pay up to $25,000 and could be charged and sent to jail for up to five years. Lesser charges for multiple offenses of driving without a license include smaller fines and obligatory hours of community service.

You may be caught driving without ever having been granted a license. Charges for this type of action, while still serious, may be less severe than those for driving with a license that’s been suspended or revoked. In many states, driving without ever getting a driver’s license is still considered a misdemeanor.

What’s the law for driving without a license in my state?

While the laws concerning the penalty for driving without a license vary from state to state, you can rest assured that anyone caught doing so will end up regretting it. The following table outlines each U.S. state’s rules for driving without a license.

Penalties for Driving Without a License by State
StateFeesFirst OffenseSubsequent Offenses
Alabama$100-$500Possible imprisonment for up to 180 days and immediate vehicle impoundment, possible license suspension increase by six months.N/A
AlaskaN/AFirst Offense - Class A Misdemeanor: 10 day imprisonment and/or at least 80 hours of community service, possible forfeiture of vehicle, license suspension increased by at least 90 days.Subsequent Offense -Class A Misdemeanor: Imprisonment for at least 10 days, possible forfeiture of vehicle, license suspension increased by at least 90 days.
ArizonaN/AClass 1 Misdemeanor - Imprisonment for up to six months, possible vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days.Class 2 Misdemeanor: Potential sentence of four months in jail and fines of up to $750.
Arkansas$200-$500Imprisonment for between two days and six monthsSuspension of license will be extended by up to two years.
California$300-$1,000Imprisonment for between five days and six monthsImprisonment for between 10 days and one year, $500-$2000 fine.
Colorado$100-$500Imprisonment for up to six months, license suspension increased by one year.Driver ineligible to be issued a driver’s license for a period of three years, minimum fine of $500 to $3,000.
Connecticut$150-$200Imprisonment for up to three months.Imprisonment for no more than one year and/or $200-$600 fine.
Delaware$500-$1,000Imprisonment for between 30 days and six months, possible vehicle impoundment of at least 90 daysImprisonment for between 60 days and one year; $1,000-$4,000 fine; possible vehicle impoundment of at least one year.
Florida$500-$5,000Imprisonment for up to 60 days or $500 fine.First Degree Misdemeanor: Imprisonment for up to one year or $1,000 fine. Subsequent Offense- 3rd Degree Felony: Imprisonment for up to five years or $5,000 fine.
Georgia$500-$5,000Imprisonment for between two days and one year, possible additional fine of $1,000.High and Aggravated Misdemeanor: Imprisonment for between 10 days and one year; possible fine of $1,000-$2,500. Fourth or Subsequent Offenses - Felony: Imprisonment for one to five years; possible fine of $2,500-$5,000.
Hawaii$250-$2,000Imprisonment for three to 30 days; $250-$1,000 fine, license suspension increased by one year.Imprisonment for 30 days, $1,000 fine, license suspension increased by two years.
Idaho$1,000-$3,000Imprisonment for between two days and six months, fine of no more than $1,000, license suspension increased by 180 days.Imprisonment for between 20 days and one year, fine of no more than $1,000, license suspension increased by one year.
Illinois $2,500-$25,000Imprisonment for no more than one year, fine of no more than $2,500.Imprisonment for one to three years, fine of up to $25,000, possible vehicle impoundment.
IndianaUp to $10,000Class 6 Felony - Imprisonment for between six months and two years, fine of up to $10,000.Class 6 Felony - Imprisonment for between six months and two years, fine of no more than $10,000.
Iowa$250-$1,500License suspension increased for an additional like period or for one year, whichever is shorter.N/A
Kansas$100Class B Nonperson Misdemeanor: Imprisonment for at least five days, fine of at least $100.Imprisonment without eligibility for parole until completion of five days, fine of at least $100, license suspension increased by 90 days.
KentuckyUp to $250Imprisonment up to 90 days, license suspension increased by six months, fine up to $250Imprisonment for between 90 days and one year, license suspension increased by one year.
Louisiana$500-$2,500Imprisonment for no more than six months, fine of no more than $500.Imprisonment for between seven days and six months, fine of $300-$500.
MaineUp to $1,000Up to six months incarceration and a $1,000 fineN/A
Maryland$1,000Imprisonment for no more than one year, fine of no more than $1,000.Imprisonment for no more than two years, fine of no more than $1,000.
Massachusetts$500-$1,000Imprisonment for no more than 10 days, $500-$1,000 fine, or bothImprisonment for between 60 days and one year, license suspension increased by 60 days.
Michigan$500-$1,000Imprisonment for no more than 93 days, a fine of no more than $500, or both.Imprisonment for no more than one year, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both, cancellation of vehicle’s registration plates.
MinnesotaUp to $1,000Imprisonment for no more than 90 days, fine of no more than $1,000, or both.N/A
Mississippi$200-$500Imprisonment for between 48 hours and six months, $200-$500 fine, license suspension increased by six months.N/A
MissouriN/AClass D Misdemeanor: Up to $500 fine, imprisonment for up to one year.Class A Misdemeanor: Fine not to exceed $2,000, imprisonment for between six months and one year.
Montana$500Fine not to exceed $500 and imprisonment for up to six months.Imprisonment for up to six months, license suspension increased by one year, vehicle used is seized and rendered inoperable for 30 days.
NebraskaN/AClass II Misdemeanor: Unable to operate any motor vehicle for one year; license revocation for like period.Class II Misdemeanor: Unable to operate any motor vehicle for two years; license revocation for like period.
NevadaUp to $1,000Imprisonment for no more than six months, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both.N/A
New HampshireUp to $1,000Imprisonment for a period not less than seven consecutive 24-hour periods to be served within six months of the conviction, fine of no more than $1,000.N/A
New Jersey$500-$1,000N/AImprisonment for one to five days, $750 fine.
New MexicoUp to $1,000Imprisonment for four to 364 days, possible fine of no more than $1,000, possible vehicle immobilization.N/A
New York$250-$500Imprisonment for no more than 30 days, $200-$500 fine, or both.Imprisonment for no more than 180 days, fine of no less than $500.
North CarolinaUp to $300Class 3 Misdemeanor - Imprisonment for one to 10 days, fine of no more than $200, license suspension increased by 1 year.License suspension increased by two years.
North Dakota$1,500-$3,000Imprisonment for no more than 30 days, $1,500 fine, or both.Imprisonment for no more than one year, $3,000 fine, or both, possible destruction of license plate.
Ohio$1,000Fine of no more than $1,000, 500 hours of community service.Imprisonment for no more than 180 days, $1,000 fine, possible license plate impoundment.
Oklahoma$50-$1,000N/A$200-$750 fine.
Oregon$220-$2,000Class A Traffic Infraction: $220-$2,000 fine, possible vehicle impoundment.N/A
Pennsylvania$200$200 fine, license suspension increased by one year if originally suspended, two years if originally revoked.N/A
Rhode Island$250-$1,000Imprisonment for no more than 30 days; $250-$500 fine; license suspension increased by three months.Imprisonment for no more than one year; $350-$1,000 fine.
South Carolina$300-$1,000Imprisonment for no more than 30 days, $300 fine, or both.Imprisonment for no more than 60 days, $600 fine, or both.
South DakotaUp to $2,000Imprisonment for no more than one year; fine of no more than $2,000.N/A
Tennessee$500-$2,500Imprisonment for no more than six months, fine of no more than $500, or both.Imprisonment for no more than 11 months, 29 days, fine of no more than $2,500, or both.
Texas$500-$2,000N/AImprisonment for no more than 180 days, fine of no more than $2,000, or both.
Utah$1,000Imprisonment of no more than 90 days, up to $750 fine.N/A
VermontUp to $5,000Imprisonment for no more than two years, fine of no more than $5,000, or both.Imprisonment for no more two years, fine of $5,000, or both, possible seizure of license plates.
VirginiaUp to $2,500Imprisonment for no more than 12 months, fine of no more than $2,500, or both.N/A
WashingtonUp to $5,000Imprisonment for no more than 364 days, fine of no more than $5,000, or both.N/A
West Virginia$100-$500N/AMisdemeanor: $100-$500 fine, imprisonment for 30-90 days; $150-$500 fine.
Wisconsin$50-$2,500N/AN/A
Wyoming$750Imprisonment for no more than six months, fine of no more than $750, or both.N/A
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As you can see, the penalties vary from one state to another, but you can count on a serious fine and potential jail time.

What happens if you get caught driving without a license but with a permit?

While some states have laws that differ on the topic of driving with a permit, others do not. You need to check with your state. Even if you have a permit, if you are driving without a licensed driver in the car, you can still be charged with driving without a license.

To learn the penalty for driving without a license under the age of 18 in your state, consult your state’s department of motor vehicles website. You are certainly subject to a fine if you are driving without a license and are underage. There is also a chance you will have to wait to obtain your driver’s license, and you may have to complete a certain number of community service hours.

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What happens after I’m caught driving without a license?

Once you are charged with driving without a license, you will have to pay any necessary fines and potentially serve jail time or complete community service hours. You can expect your license to be suspended or revoked — or for the suspension to last longer — after you are charged.

You may have to wait several months, or even a few years before you are legally allowed to drive again. When you are able to drive, you will need to make sure your car is covered with proper insurance. Because driving without your license is a factor that affects car insurance rates, you will probably end up paying higher-than-average rates for coverage.

If you have a difficult time finding car insurance coverage in your state, you may want to look for coverage for high-risk drivers. Be sure to compare quotes from multiple companies in your state before you decide on coverage to find the cheapest option possible.

You can use our free quote tool below to find and compare car insurance rates for high-risk drivers in your area today.