No Valid License - What Happens When You Get Pulled Over

Driving without a proper license is often a risk unintentionally taken by many. Whether your license is expired, suspended, forgotten, or you never have one, it happens. People get in their car confident that no one will ever find out, and usually, they are correct, which is why they are wrong. Eventually, it will happen, your license is suspended, and you just need to get to the store for something really quick, and that’s when you forget your taillight is out and get pulled over. 

Then what? Well, different circumstances lead to different results based on your license and your violation.

Suspended Or Revoked License

If you are a little angel, you may be wondering why someone would ever consider driving with a suspended or revoked license. Not everyone is perfect. Times can get desperate, and during the beginning of a violation trial, such as a DUI, some processes must happen before the defendant can drive. This can cause drivers to get behind the wheel anyway because of employment needs, emergencies, or even misunderstanding the legal situation. Yes, you should be fully informed on what you are supposed to do while on trial, but sometimes those things slip through the cracks. There is a lot of information to retain, and adding to that are restrictions to your driving situation.

So you chose to drive anyway. Here’s what’s going to happen. The consequences will depend on a few things—the context of your punishment and the circumstance of being pulled over are significant factors. If there was no accident or suspicion of intoxication, it is frequently charged with a fine and a misdemeanor.  It is considered a crime in all 50 states to drive without a license, so wherever you are in the US makes no difference. The question lies on what the punishment will be.

If you get pulled over with a suspended or revoked license or never had one, then it is certain you will get arrested. It is a greater offense to drive on a suspended or revoked license because you already acquired driving infractions before and have chosen to disregard your license’s legal restrictions. This could result in the extension of the driving suspension. Or a license revocation on top of other punishments from getting caught. The worst-case scenario is that they will add more to your already accrued punishment. You may need to pay a higher fine, do more jail time or community service.

If you want us to convince you not to drive with your license suspended, well, it might already be too late. When caught, we can tell you that it will prolong the stress of your current situation and complicate your case even more. Especially if you are in the midst of a trial leading to your driving suspension, you should avoid driving. Getting caught with a suspended license when you are supposed to be abstaining from driving is ammunition for any prosecutor. It is easier to prove to a judge that you are not fit for a lenient sentence when you can’t even follow the restrictions during the trial. If you think you are already in a bad situation, this is an easy way to make it worse.

Forgetting Your License When Pulled Over

This situation has happened to millions of people. How many times have you gotten to your destination only to realize you left your license in a different jacket or bag? Too many. The key is not to get pulled over. However, if it happens and you have other forms of identification and your car’s registration, the police officer can look up your license and see if you have a valid driver’s license. It is best to be honest and fully cooperate with the authorities while they run your license plate and verify your information. Depending on your state, if the police can’t verify your identity, they may tow and impound your vehicle, and worst they will have a ground to arrest you.

Even if police officers verified your identity and know that you are telling the truth, you are not necessarily off the hook as it is illegal to drive without your license. Still, it is understood that people make mistakes and forget things. Getting pulled over without your license is totally different from driving unlicensed. Therefore, if you simply do not have your valid license with you, you are most likely subject to a minor traffic citation without getting arrested. Given the lesser severity of the offense, chances are it will be dismissed or deferred in traffic court after paying a fine. All you have to do is present your driver’s license in court and prove that it is valid when the ticket was issued. However, potential problems can arise if you don’t have other proof of identification at the time of the citation. Remember that absentmindedness and honest mistakes are not an excuse not to get a traffic ticket. 

Restricted License

A restricted license is issued to those punished with a license suspension but granted the necessity to drive under certain conditions. If a driver is pulled over during this time, they will need to provide all the documentation necessary with a restricted license. It often happens that we think all of the requirements have been met but have not, so it will come up in the system as suspended and can lead to more trouble.

If you have the proper documentation that you have gotten your restricted license, there is a higher chance the police officer will understand the situation. You can run your DMV driving abstract to know what the officers are looking for and that you have it anytime you are asked to pull over. As long as you are driving within the restriction parameters, you should be fine. Having the proper documents will not give them the room to question your driving because you have proof.


Stepping behind the wheel without a driver’s license – or not have it with you – is always a bad idea. A stroke of bad luck and unforeseen circumstances can lead to a major problem. Once you receive a misdemeanor, aside from paying a fine, you may also be asked to do community service, or in rare cases, will have to serve jail time. The whole situation can be stressful as it will create a domino effect on your driving record.

 A misdemeanor or a felony is added to your driving record, resulting in your insurance rates going up. You may end up getting your license suspended for a more extended period, may revoke your registration, or it can result in an immediate impoundment of your vehicle. You can also end up getting broke for paying high fines and getting an attorney to represent you.

 It may be tempting to drive without your license thinking you can get away with it, but let us tell you, the risk is definitely NOT worth it.