Penalties for driving without a license

In South Carolina, it's illegal for someone to drive without a license on their person. But what are the exact penalties if a driver is caught without their license? Are these penalties serious?

First of all, Findlaw shows that many states differentiate between when a driver is operating a vehicle without proof of license, and when they're operating a vehicle without a license. The former occurs if a person is a registered driver. They have the proper licensing, and their license is not suspended, revoked, or expired. However, in the situation in which they've been pulled over, they simply forgot to bring their license or registration with them and aren't able to present it. On the other hand, driving with the knowledge that a license is suspended, revoked, or invalid is considered a misdemeanor. Jail time, vehicle impoundment, or tickets may be the result of this action.

CarInsurance.com shows the average penalty for driving without a license by state. In South Carolina, the fine can range from $300 to $1000. However, even a first offense can net a driver with up to 30 days in jail. For second offenses, this jail time can stretch to 60 days. For three or more offenses, it can reach 90 days. Though it doesn't go higher than 90 days, any amount of time in jail can potentially be traumatic and life-changing.

It becomes clear through the examination of these penalties that states take driving without a license quite seriously. Though it's possible for drivers to get off with warning tickets, it's a gamble many would be better off not taking.

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