Owning and driving a motor vehicle in the United States is a privilege, and not a right. It is thus subject to certain legal requirements and can be withdrawn if abused. The registration and titling of motor vehicles and the licensing of drivers are required for various reasons, the foremost of which is road safety. Both the federal and state governments have their own set of motor vehicle laws and standards of road safety. State laws vary but the general rule is a motor vehicle cannot be driven without registration or with an expired registration and cannot be driven by an individual without a driver's license.
The most common violation of motor vehicle law is driving without a license. This is a criminal offense punishable by law. Lawfully obtaining a driver's license entails requirements that not all can comply with. Age requirement for a driver's license vary from state to state. An individual who has not reached the legal age required for a driver's license thus cannot legally drive a car. Most states require a social security number or a tax identification number. Some American citizens cannot obtain social security numbers for a variety of reasons, and some immigrants will not qualify for social security numbers or ITIN. Moreover, some states require applicants to bring proofs of identity, usually passports, I-94 cards, or green cards. In cases of illegal immigrants, it is a double whammy if caught driving without a license. Other states will require applicants to show proof of liability insurance. Obtaining this requirement is difficult since it entails paying an insurer. Some insurance companies also do not offer insurance for those who do not own a car, so some applicants may not be able to comply with this requirement. Different driver's licenses are issued for different kinds of motor vehicles. Commercial drivers, such as a bus driver, need to apply for special driver's licenses for them to be able to drive certain vehicles. A driver's license specifically indicates the type of vehicle that the license holder is allowed to drive. Once found driving a vehicle that is not specified in the license, the driver can be accused of driving without a license.
Licenses, being privileges, can be revoked due to a number of circumstances, the common of which is having been found guilty of driving while intoxicated or as a result of a conviction to another crime. As a punishment to being convicted of DUI, the offender may be given limited driving privileges or may have his or her license forfeited.
Penalties accompanying driving without a license depend on the reason why the individual was driving without a license. Penalties can range from fines to jail time, depending also on the state. Jail time can lead to serious repercussions to a person caught driving without a license as this may lead to loss of employment. When facing a case of driving without a license, one must seek the assistance of an expert motor vehicle law attorney who can help reduce the fines or jail time, or avoid them altogether.