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Q

In Indiana, what happens if you get caught driving passengers when you are only 16 and not allowed to legally drive with passengers yet? What is the punishment?


A

Indiana Code 9-24-11-3 provides that a license issued to an individual less than 18 years of age is a probationary license. The restrictions for those with a probationary license are listed under this part of IN law.

So basically if you are younger than 18 years of age when you receive your driver's license, your license is considered probationary. If you have a probationary driver's license, you may drive alone. However, you must observe the following regulations regarding passengers:

  • If there are passengers of any age in your vehicle during the first 90 days that you hold your driver's license, an individual 21 years of age or older with a valid driver's license must be seated in your vehicle's front passenger seat; and
  • If there are passengers in your vehicle, every occupant must wear a seat belt.

If you have a probationary driver's license, you must comply with state and local curfew laws. Drivers under the age of 18 are not permitted to drive after 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, or after 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, unless the following conditions apply:

  • The probationary driver is accompanied by a parent, guardian or custodian, or an adult designated by a parent, guardian or custodian; or
  • The probationary driver is going to or returning from a job, school, religious activity, an activity involving the exercise of civil rights, or an activity sponsored by a governmental or non-profit entity.

Indiana Code 9-24-11-8 notes the penalties for breaking the restrictions of your probationary license by stating that it is a class C infraction. A class C infraction in Indiana can come with a penalty of a fine up to $500 from what we have read. Also we have read that Probationary License (16-18 yr. old) holders who receive tickets for such violations one must appear in court. For example the Adams Country Court site notes that minors must appear in court with a parent or guardian.

To find out the exact penalties that you could be facing for driving with passengers when it is not allowed per your license conditions you should contact the court listed on the citation. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) may also be able to advise you on what penalties you may be facing and if your driving privileges will be affected due to getting a ticket for breaking your passenger restrictions.


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