What Happens When You Drive Without a License in Nevada

We’ve all done it. You’re out the door and halfway to your car when it hits you: you forgot your wallet on your dresser. There are two reactions people have to this realization. Some groan, turn around, and run back inside to get their wallet. Others decide they’re in too much of a hurry and they need to go ahead without it, leaving behind the most important thing in that wallet: their license. What happens if a driver gets stopped without a valid license in Nevada? You’re about to find out. Regardless of whether you left it at home, let it expire, or are knowingly driving when you have a license suspension, there are consequences. Let’s take a look at what those consequences are.

When You Forgot Your License at Home

Okay, so you were a little distracted trying to reply to that group text and you left your license sitting on the kitchen table, only to be pulled over by the cops ten minutes later. What now? Are you in trouble? To the authorities, even though you are technically licensed to drive, if you don’t have your license, you lack proof. This leaves you with an infraction. This is obviously the least serious of the driver-without-a-license infractions, and it might even be dismissed once you can prove that you possessed a valid license at the time of the incident. Note: You may still be required to pay a fine.

When Your License is Expired / You’ve Never Applied For a License

Next scenario: Let’s say you’ve just never applied for a license (what in the world are you waiting for??) or maybe you were too lazy to renew your license and it’s now expired. Well, lazy, guess what? Nevada Revised Statutes § 483.230 states that “a person shall not drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this State unless such person has a valid license.” These types of violators are charged with a misdemeanor and typically are stuck with a fine up to $500.

When Your License is Revoked or Suspended

Uh oh. Your license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities? I’m not even going to ask what you did. But I will say that you definitely shouldn’t have been driving when you’re already in enough trouble to have your license revoked. Come on, you’re smarter than that! For first time offenders, this offense is punishable as a misdemeanor with a fine of $500 to $1,000 and a maximum jail time of six months. So, if you’re in this situation, please don’t drive unless you want to kick it in a jail for a few months.

Exceptions to the Rule

As is the case with every rule, there are a few exceptions. Nevada exempts the following people from having to possess a valid Nevada license when driving:

  • Any person while driving a motor vehicle in the service of the Armed Forces
  • Any person while driving a road machine, farm tractor or implement of husbandry temporarily operated or moved on a highway
  • A nonresident who is at least 16 years of age and who has in their immediate possession a valid out-of-state license
  • Any nonresident who is at least 18 years of age, whose home state or country does not require the licensing of drivers, may drive a motor vehicle for a period of not more than 90 days in any calendar year, if the motor vehicle driven is duly registered in the home state or country of such nonresident
  • A nonresident on active duty in the Armed Forces who has a valid out-of-state license and such nonresident's spouse or dependent child who has a valid out-of-state license
  • Any person on active duty in the Armed Forces who has a valid license issued in a foreign country by the Armed Forces may drive a motor vehicle for a period of not more than 45 days from the date of his or her return to the United States

Well, there you have it. Do us a favor, unless you’re on that list of exceptions, just don’t drive without your license, okay? Now, run along and be a good little driver.

Not like this though.

Krista Doyle
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