Driving without a valid license, even one that is expired and could be renewed is against the law in Ohio. The penalty one will receive depends upon how long the license has been expired for. If the driver's license has been expired for more than 6 months the penalties go up.
According to Ohio Revised Code section 4510.12 is the law that requires that no person operate any motor vehicle upon a public road or highway or any public or private property used by the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking in this state unless the person has a valid driver's license.
Subsection (B) says that whoever violates this section is guilty of operating a motor vehicle without a valid license and shall be punished. The OH law then goes on to say that if the driver's license of the person was expired at the time of the offense for no more than six months, the offense is a minor misdemeanor and if the offender's driver's or commercial driver's license or permit was expired at the time of the offense for more than six months, the offense is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
If you have previously been convicted of driving without a license or with an expired license within the past 3 years than your penalty can be harsher as well since this is considered a misdemeanor of the third degree. If you have pleaded guilty to two violations of this kind within the past three years, the offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Then if you have been found guilty of three or more violations of this type within the past 3 years, the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Ohio law also allows for your license to be suspended for a period of time if your driver's license was expired for more than 6 months at the time of the offense and you have been convicted of driving with an expired license or without a license one or more times in the past 3 years. If you are without priors for this offense than there is not a driver's license suspension.
So if this was your first offense of driving with an expired Ohio driver's license and the license was expired less than 6 months than this would be considered a minor misdemeanor which comes with no jail time but a fine of up to $150. If your license was expired more than 6 months than this is a misdemeanor of the forth degree which comes with a fine of up to $250 and possible jail time of up to 30 days.
A misdemeanor of the third degree comes with a fine of up to $500 and/or jail time of up to 60 days. A misdemeanor of the second degree comes with a fine of $750 and/or jail time of up to 90 days. A misdemeanor of the first degree in Ohio normally comes with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or not more than 180 days imprisonment.
Also remember that if you have been convicted of driving without a license (or expired license) in the last 3 years and are caught with an expired license than a mandatory suspension is also part of your penalties. So your driver's license will be suspended for a certain amount of time if this is your situation
Driving without a license is normally 2 points on your Ohio driving record. For more information on the penalties for driving with an expired license contact the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). If you were cited for this offense then you can also contact the court listed on the ticket to find out more the possible penalties and if renewing your license before the court date will help you or not.
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