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Q

In Missouri what happens if got caught driving without a license? Can my car be impounded and if so for how long? What are the penalties for a 3rd offense?


A

Anyone who operates a motor vehicle or motor-driven cycle on public roadways in Missouri is required to have a valid driver license. Driving without a license is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri. According to Missouri Revised Statutes (Section 557), offenses are broken down and classified into the following categories, ranked from most serious to least serious:

  • Felonies- Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D
  • Misdemeanors - Class A, Class B, Class C
  • Infractions

So a Class A Misdemeanor is considered a fairly serious offense. A Missouri Class A misdemeanor comes with maximum penalties of up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1000. The driving without a license charge will be placed on your driving record. The state of Missouri can start a driving record for you, probably using your social security number, even though you are not licensed yet.

Operating without a valid license in violation section 302.020 of MO law and a first offense has 2 points added to your driving record. Also if someone knowingly allowed you, an unlicensed driver, to operate a vehicle they will have this offense placed on their driving record and be assessed 4 points.

Section 302.020 of the Missouri Revised Statutes also notes in subsection 3 that any person convicted a third or subsequent time of violating subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection 1 of this section is guilty of a class D felony. So it is taken very seriously for a person to be caught driving for a third time. The maximum penalty for a D class felony in Missouri is imprisonment for up to 4 years and fine up to $5000.

As for the car being impounded, we did not see this mentioned in the MO statutes however it may be possible for police to impound the vehicle since you are not supposed to be on the roadway with it as an unlicensed driver. The local court or law enforcement office should be able to tell you if legally your car can be impounded if you are caught for third time driving without license.

If you are interested in applying for a Missouri driver's license you may want to check with the Missouri Department of Revenue, the DMV for MO, to see if you later do apply for a license how this violation and conviction for driving without a license may affect your ability to receive a license and have driving privileges in MO. It may be that you will not be able to obtain a license for a certain amount of time due operating a vehicle while unlicensed and being charged multiple times for this violation of the law.


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