Those who operate a motor vehicle in Virginia without a driver’s license may wonder what the potential consequences are for doing so. It is illegal to drive a car when a driver’s license has not been issued to the person operating the vehicle, if a driver’s license has been permanently revoked or if a driver’s license has been temporarily suspended.

In most states, there is a legal difference between driving without a license and driving without proof of a license. In this situation, a person might be driving a vehicle when they forgot to bring their license with them or they may have lost their license and are waiting to get a new one. A driver who is pulled over and doesn’t have proof of a driver’s license may receive a traffic violation ordering them to fix the situation. They typically will be given a certain number of days to show proof of their license to the court. They may have the charges reduced or dismissed and have to pay a smaller fine.

If a driver is pulled over and doesn’t have a license or has lost their license temporarily or permanently, it is a minor offense. It may show up on criminal background checks and could affect potential future employment opportunities.

First-time offenders may be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor in Virginia and might receive up to six months in prison and may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000. If the person is asked to go to court on the scheduled court date they must do so to prevent further consequences. A lawyer might be able to help reduce the traffic violation by showing that their client forgot their license or show proof that the cited individual was a first-time offender. The judge may then choose to reduce the fine.