Operating a Motor Vehicle without a License / Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle
Most states in the U.S. have laws, which make operating a motor vehicle without a “valid” license a criminal offense. While the initial penalties for this type of offense are not severe, they still might result in an arrest. The most common disposition for the initial offence is generally a fine, however, it usually requires a court appearance and it will be part of a person’s “criminal record”. Repeat offenders may face a jail sentence.
Whether a license is considered a “valid” license depends on both the federal and state law. For example, the Federal law contains a treaty, which recognizes the validity of driver licenses issued by a country that is not a member of the treaty, while a person is temporarily in the U.S. with a lawful immigration status.
Many states have laws, which require a person “living” in that state to have a license issued by the same state. There are many different standards which states use to determine whether a person is “living” in the state so as to require a license from that state, so it is important to make sure that you are complying with all the laws related to your license or you may find yourself in court.
In the unfortunate event you find yourself charged with the unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you obtain the best resolution on your case. If you are an immigrant it is important to get assistance form an attorney that is experienced in both criminal defense and immigration law to minimize or eliminate the long term effects of the this criminal charge.