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Q

Do you have to have the actual drivers license card in your possession while driving? We live in Indiana.


A

Yes, in the state of Indiana it is required that you carry your driver's license with you when operating a vehicle. Indiana Code 9-24-13-3 states that an individual holding a permit or license issued must have the permit or license in the individual's immediate possession when driving or operating a motor vehicle. The permittee or licensee shall display the license or permit upon demand of a court or a police officer authorized by law to enforce motor vehicle rules.

IC 9-24-13-5 notes that a person who violates this chapter commits a Class C infraction.

Infractions are not considered crimes; they call for civil (non-criminal) sanctions. Because an infraction is not a criminal offense the penalty imposed is a civil judgment. A fine can be imposed, but no jail time. A Class C infraction in Indiana can come with a fine of up to $500 plus court costs. From what we have read a ticket for "no license in possession" typically costs in the way of fines and fees around $120.

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Section 6 of this same part of the Indiana Code goes on though to state that (a) Subject to subsection (b), in a proceeding to enforce section 3 of this chapter, the burden is on the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant had been issued a driving license or permit that was valid at the time of the alleged violation. (b) A person may not be convicted of violating section 3 of this chapter if the person, within five (5) days from the time of apprehension, produces to the apprehending officer or headquarters of the apprehending officer satisfactory evidence of a permit or license issued to the person that was valid at the time of the person's apprehension.

So it would appear that if you were cited for driving without your license in your possession that you could get the ticket dismissed if you show your driver's license, and proof that it was valid at the time of the citation, to the law enforcement department that cited you. If you were ticketed for not having your license on you at the time of a traffic stop but did have a valid license then within 5 days contact that law enforcement office and see what exact proof you can bring to them and then do so within that time limit so that you will not be convicted of this offense.

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