Is it Legal to Drive Without a License?

Nevada law, like the law in every state across the nation, mandates people to have a current and valid driver's’ license while driving on its roads.

Nevada Penalties for Driving Without a License

While penalties may vary across states for violations, Nevada makes driving without a license a misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for someone who is found guilty of driving without a license in Nevada includes up to six months in jail and/or monetary fines of up to $1,000.

Beyond monetary penalties and possible jail time, a Nevada judge may also suspend the accused’s future driving privileges—i.e., suspend your driver’s license—as part of the sentence for violating state law. Of note, anyone who moves to the state of Nevada is required to obtain a state-issued driver’s license within 30 days. Failure to do so runs the risk of the misdemeanor charge with the relevant penalties listed above.

Out-of-state and foreign drivers—those who do not reside in Nevada—are required to carry a valid driver’s license from their home country or state while driving on Nevada’s roads. Licensed drivers who are stopped and are found to not be carrying a valid license, whether it was issued in Nevada or somewhere else, will still be cited for violating state law.

Fighting a Charge of Driving Without a License in Nevada

That being said, there are ways to plea bargain the charge so that you are charged with a lesser offense or even get the case dismissed altogether. One way to do so is to subsequently show proof that at the time to stop occurred, the accused actually had a valid and current driver’s license. If the driver accused of violating the law was not actually licensed at the time law enforcement issued the citation, prosecutors may dismiss the case in exchange for a monetary fine under the condition that the defendant obtains a Nevada license promptly. It is important to understand that having an expired driver’s license at the time of a citation is not a valid defense to charges of failing to drive with a valid and current license.

Someone who is charged and convicted of driving without a valid and current driver’s license in Nevada may be eligible for a record seal one year after the finalization of the criminal case. If the charges are dropped completely, the accused may be eligible to seal his or her criminal record right away.

Cabs and Ride Sharing Services

Under Nevada law, taxi drivers are not required to have a special driver’s license from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (NDMV) in order to operate the taxi cab. That being said, cab drivers are required to obtain a permit from the Nevada Transportation Authority (NTA). Furthermore, while ride-sharing drivers, such as those that drive for Lyft and Uber, are also not required to obtain a special driver’s license by Nevada law, they are required to obtain a business license.

Not surprisingly, driving without a license is illegal. If you have any more questions about Nevada’s laws, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Parry & Pfau today. These skilled attorneys have represented clients across the state of Nevada and can help explain your rights and obligations under the law.

(image courtesy of Jack Anstey)