Driving Without a License

While there is never a legit excuse for not carrying a valid driver’s license when driving your motor vehicle, it is possible that you may have mistakenly forgotten your wallet or purse at home or didn’t realize it has expired or already suspended. This can happen to the best of us. The Law Offices of Martin Hart is a one-stop criminal defense law office that specializes in providing successful criminal defense representation for their clients in and around the city of Las Vegas. The attorneys for the firm have in-depth knowledge of Nevada criminal law and have experience in handling all types of driving without license cases for their clients.

What is Driving Without a License Under Nevada Law?

Under the laws of the state of Nevada, DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) maintains that all individuals who operate a motor vehicle on the public roadways in Las Vegas must carry his or her current and legally acceptable driver’s license. If you drive a vehicle without possession of a valid license, it will be considered a violation of the law.A driver’s license must be issued by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Remember that driving is a privilege—not a right. Not adhering to the driving regulations or following all current driving laws can result in revoking the privilege.Depending on the circumstances, getting pulled over without a license can lead to serious consequences.

If you are living outside the state of Nevada, you can drive through Las Vegas and other regions with your current and valid driver’s license.However, if a police officer caught you driving with no license, you can hire an attorney to attend court trials on your behalf. Usually, you will not have to come back to the state to handle the matter.

If you have recently moved to Nevada, you must carry a valid license from the state or country you reside.You must change your home state license to a Nevada driver’s license within thirty (30) days of moving to Nevada or else they will be charged with appropriate penalties of driving without a license.

Taxicabs or ride-sharing motor vehicles need not a special permit from the Nevada DMV, but they must obtain a driver’s permit from the Nevada Transportation Authority.

What are the Penalties For Driving Without a License in Las Vegas?

Whether you have a suspended license, let your renewal lapse, or mistakenly left it at home, you are going to face the consequence for driving with no license. The penalties for driving with no license may vary depending on the circumstances and your prior driving record. There is also a possibility of jail time, but that is relatively rare. 

License not in possession (forgetting a license)

Driving in Las Vegas without a license in immediate possession or refusing to show it to the requesting officer when pulled over is considered a misdemeanor. Even though you own a driver’s license, to the authorities, you lack proof and hence are guilty under Nevada law. A misdemeanor charge like this comes with a possibility of a fine up to $1,000 and imprisonment in the county jail for up to six (6) months.However, the court rarely gives jail time for such an offense. The court may order community service, generally in lieu of any part of the sentence.

If you don’t remember to carry your license and you are pulled over, it is best to stay honest and let the police officer know that you own a driver’s license, but you don’t possess it at the moment. You should provide all the correct details, such as full name, address, date of birth, etc. asked by the office. Acting politely and cooperatively with the officer may help in deciding the fine and/or jail time.

The prosecution can’t convict you for the offense if you own a valid license under your name and forgot it at home at the time of the citation. If you show up the evidence (valid driver’s license) later at the police station or court, the citation can often be pleaded down or dismissed altogether.While this may seem to be a bit of a hassle, but the trouble is worthy of getting the charge acquitted. Please note that even if the prosecution dismisses the case, you may still have to pay a fine. 

Driving without a valid license (or having an expired license)

If you are driving without a valid license or have forgotten to renew a lapsed driver’s license, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor in Nevada. The penalties for not having a license are the same as driving without possession of a license, which means you could face jail time of six (6) months and a maximum fine of $1,000. In such cases, the court might allow you to obtain a driver’s license within a specified time. If you follow the court’s directives in due time, the court may even dismiss your case. Driving with a recently expired license is still not considered a valid defense to the charge and will result in penalties in the form of jail time and/or fines.

Driving while suspended or revoked

Driving with a revoked, canceled, or suspended license in the state of Nevada is treated differently than a misdemeanor driving with no license at all. The penalties will typically depend on the reason for which your driver’s license was suspended.

If the reason for the revocation or suspension of license is a DUI (driving under the influence) charge, although the crime is treated as a misdemeanor, the penalty includes a fine of $500 to $1,000 and 1-year license revocation. In addition to this, you will have to face minimum imprisonment of thirty (30) days, although the judge may allow an alternative of home confinement for sixty (60) days.Some minimum penalties may also be applicable. For instance, a person convicted of a DUI in Nevada, he or she could be sentences of either a fine of $500 or jail time of thirty (30) days. If you are a driver with a prior DUI conviction, no part of the minimum sentence may be pleaded down, waived, suspended, or dismissed by the prosecution.

If the reason for the revocation or suspension of license is a non-DUI charge,such as not paying traffic tickets, graffiti offenses, or having 12 DMV demerit points on your driving record, then you will face a penalty of a maximum of $1,000 as fine and/or up to six (6) months of sentence in county jail. However, the possibility of a jail sentence is fairly less. In addition to the fine and jail sentence, you will have to face further driver’s license sanctions. When your license was already suspended, the suspension period will be doubled the original suspension period. If the license was previously revoked, you would face an additional one year of revocation. When caught driving with a canceled license, you are disqualified for applying for a driver’s license for six (6) months. The duration of ineligibility may increase to twelve (12) months for next and succeeding offenses.

It is critical that you don't drive while your driving privileges have been suspended, revoked, or canceled to ensure no adverse effects on your case going forward. Once the suspension or revocation period has passed, you may revive your driving privileges by paying the required reinstatement fee in addition to meeting specific criteria. The fee may also vary depending on the reason why your driver’s license was suspended or revoked. If due to certain reasons, you are unable to get your full driver’s license reinstated, you may still get a restricted driver’s license.

Exceptions to the Nevada Licensing Requirements

Typically, anyone driving on the highways of Nevada should possess and display a valid driver's license when asked. However, there are a few exceptions to it. Nevada law exempts some people from the standard licensing requirements.

  • Military personnel driving military motor vehicles
  • Farmers driving farm tractors
  • Road workers operating road machinery
  • Any non-resident driver from Armed Forces as well as their spouse or dependent child with valid out-of-state license
  • Any non-resident with immediate possession of a valid license from their home state or country (as long as they meet the driving age restriction)

So, unless you are one of them on the list of exceptions, Nevada law needs you to carry a valid driver’s license every time you are behind the wheels in your motor vehicle.

When an Immigrant is Caught Driving with No License

Although driving with no license is not as serious an offense that can cause deportation of an immigrant defendant, but immigrants should always be extra cautious when facing any criminal charges in Nevada.Under no special conditions, illegal immigrants can be granted a driver’s license in Nevada. Moreover, they are always at risk of deportation when found to be living undocumented in the state of Nevada, whether they have committed any crime or not.

When Can You Seal Your Conviction Record for Driving With No License?

When convicted for driving without a license in Nevada, you may be eligible to seal your criminal record after one (1) year after the case closure. However, if you are acquitted at trial or get your all charges dismissed before the trial, there shall be no waiting period to get a seal. You can file a petition for a record seal immediately.

Although violation of NRS 483.230 is regarded as a misdemeanor offense, it may appear in the criminal record during background checks undertaken by any potential employer. This may also affect your eligibility to land a job or the ability to obtain a professional license. Therefore, it is considered a wise move for any individual to hold a criminal record to have their case sealed as early as possible. It is recommended to seek legal counsel who can take care of the entire record seal process.

How to Get Your Driver’s License in Nevada

A driver’s license represents that you know how to operate a vehicle and have the knowledge of traffic rules in your state. Nevada DMV allows residents to get some class of driver’s license in accordance with the driver’s age once he or she qualifies the required driver’s test. Always keep a valid driver’s license handy to avoid hassle and unwarranted expenses!

Any individual of age 15 1/2 years can be eligible for a learner's permit, 16- and 17-year-old Nevada residents may get a restricted license, while those who are 18-years-old and above can get a regular (non-commercial) license in Nevada.A restricted driver’s license will permit you to drive to and from school, work, or the grocery store as well as for medical or work-related reasons.

For applying for a driver’s license, the residents of Nevada need to visit the DMV personally. The applicants will need to provide their previous license or state-issued ID, evidence of their social security number, and two address proofs. A regular driver's license is valid for eight (8) years while senior citizens of age 65 and above may get a license for four (4) years.

Find a Criminal Defense Attorney Specializing in Cases for Driving Without a License Near Me

If you or a loved one are caught driving in Las Vegas without a valid driver’s license, it may result in criminal conviction resulting in jail time, fines, and increased suspension and revocation involved. All these possible consequences can adversely affect your life in more than one way.You must seek an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney like The Law Offices of Martin Hart to represent you in such cases. The time to act is now! Our team of legal experts has extensive experience helping clients fight a charge of driving without a license and improve the chances of your charges being reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed altogether. Call our firm at 702-380-4278 to get in touch with one of our legal experts for a free, no-obligation legal consultation to discuss the best options available in your case.