This charge is a class two misdemeanor for the first offense and may be charged as a class one misdemeanor after the first offense. The maximum penalty for violation of this law is six (6) months in jail, a $1000 fine and up to a 90 day suspension of your right to drive. This is the penalty range for a first offense. A second offense may be charged as a class one misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of one (1) year in jail, $2500 fine and 90 days suspension of your right to drive.
This offense is becoming more frequent due to the restrictions placed on applicants for drivers’ licenses by the Department of Motor Vehicles. There are now significant requirements for documentation of citizenship or legal resident status before a license can be issued. This has led to many people driving without a license.
Many times there can be a defense to this offense including the reason for the stop, emergency driving and others, but, more significantly there are a number of mitigating circumstances that can lessen the impact of a conviction for violation of this law. Among these are the reason that you are not licensed, whether you have corrected the problem by becoming licensed by the time you get to court, your reason for driving and others.
Determining the issues in your case and forming a defense or preparing plea negotiations must be done on a case by case basis and it is advisable to consult an attorney before court.