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Home 9 Driving Crimes 9 What Happens When You Are Caught Driving Without a License in PA?

What Happens When You Are Caught Driving Without a License in PA?

sad male driver being stopped by a female officer

Driving without a license is a serious crime in Pennsylvania. If you or someone you know was caught in this situation, you need to know what happens next and how a criminal lawyer in Lancaster, PA, can help.


  • Licenses can be revoked for reasons like DUIs, accumulating too many points, and felonies involving a vehicle.
  • The PA points system adds points for violations like speeding and failure to stop. Too many points result in license suspension.
  • The first offense with 6+ points requires driver improvement school. Further offenses require a formal hearing and more classes.

It’s a sunny day in Pennsylvania, and you’re on your way to work, jamming out to your favorite tunes. Suddenly, you see flashing red and blue lights behind you. Your heart sinks as you realize that you are being pulled over by a police officer.

As the officer approaches your car, you quickly start to panic. You know your driver’s license has expired, and you haven’t had time to renew it yet. You try to come up with excuses in your head, but deep down, you know that driving without a valid driver’s license is a serious offense.

The officer asks for your license and registration, and you reluctantly hand over your expired license. The officer looks at it and informs you that it’s expired for over three months. You apologize and explain that you’ve been busy with work and forgot to renew it. You start to feel anxious as you realize the severity of the situation.

Driving with an invalid, revoked, or suspended license in Pennsylvania is a serious offense. Still, there are situations in which you are unaware that it’s invalid, you are not sure, or you are willfully ignoring the law and continuing the drive anyway.

In this blog post, we will discuss what happens after you are caught driving without a license in PA, what happens to your driving record, and a brief overview of the PA driving points system. Additionally, we will discuss situations in which your driver’s license can be revoked, suspended, or taken away permanently.

Who Is Eligible For a Pennsylvania Driver’s License?

In Pennsylvania, to receive driving privileges, an individual must be:

  • At least 16 years old
  • Pass both a knowledge test and skills test conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
  • Be able to provide proof of identity, residency, social security number, and legal presence in the United States and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

It is important to note that if you have an out-of-state license, you must transfer it within 60 days of becoming a resident of Pennsylvania.

Who Cannot Get a Valid Driver’s License in PA?

There are certain circumstances in which an individual is not eligible to receive a valid driver’s license in Pennsylvania. These include:

  • Individuals who have had their license suspended, revoked, or canceled in any state
  • Individuals who have been deemed incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely due to a physical or mental disability
  • Individuals who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both
  • Those who are not residents of Pennsylvania
  • Individuals who have not met all the requirements for obtaining a license, such as passing the required tests or providing proper documentation

Getting Caught Without a License in PA

If you are caught driving without a license in Pennsylvania, the penalties can vary depending on the circumstances. Generally, first-time offenders face a fine of up to $200. If you are caught multiple times, the fines and charges will increase.

In addition to fines and charges, your vehicle may also be impounded if you do not have someone with a valid license to drive it away. The impounding of your car can result in additional fees and inconvenience.

How You Get a Revoked, Canceled, or Suspended License in PA

As mentioned earlier, driving without a valid license in Pennsylvania is a serious offense. You can have your driving privilege revoked, canceled, or receive a license suspension for various reasons, including:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a DUI conviction
  • Receiving too many points on your driving record within a certain period (more on this later)
  • Committing a felony while operating a motor vehicle
  • Failing to pay fines or appear in court for traffic violations
  • Being involved in a hit-and-run accident or found guilty of reckless driving
angry male driver being arrested outside of the car by a female police officer

The PA Driving Points System

For each traffic violation, there is a corresponding vehicle code where points are added to your driving record. If you accumulate too many points within a certain period, your license may be suspended or revoked. Here is an overview of the point system in PA.

Speeding Ticket Points

If you are caught driving over 11 mph and the violation occurs in an active work zone, you will receive points on your license and an automatic 15-day license suspension.

Additionally, there are also specific consequences if the speeding violation occurs in areas with a special speed limit:

  • Speeding in a school zone: 3 points
  • Speeding past a truck on a downgrade: 3 points

Failure to Stop Points

  • Failure to stop at a red light: 3 points
  • Failure to stop at a flashing red light: 3 points
  • Failure to stop at a stop sign: 3 points
  • Failure to yield: 3 points
  • Failure to stop at railroad crossings or a railroad crossing gate: 4
  • Failure to stop for a school bus with red lights flashing: 5 points and an automatic 60-day suspension

Other Traffic Violation Points

  • Careless driving: 3 points
  • Improper backing: 3 points
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk: 2 points
  • Improper passing in a no-passing zone: 3 points

How Many Points Do You Need to Have on Your License Before They Revoke or Suspend It?

In PA, when you accumulate six or more points on your license the first time, and you are over the age of 18, the following happens:

  • A written notice will be sent to you informing you that you have to do one of the following:
    • You will have to attend Driver Improvement School within 30 days of receiving the notice or
    • You will have to take a special written point examination test within 30 days of receiving the notice

On the second offense of further accumulations, you will have to do the following:

  • Attend a formal PennDOT departmental hearing
  • Attend and complete Driver Improvement School to learn proper safe driving techniques

For Legal Help With Driving Without a License in PA, Contact Marinaro Law

If you have had your driving privilege revoked due to the PA driving points system and need legal support, we are here to help at Marinaro Law Firm. With our years of experience handling DUI, license suspension, and driving without a license in PA, we are here to help you restore your rights as a Pennsylvania resident and get back on your feet. If you are ready to schedule your consultation with our team, contact us today, and let us help you fight to restore your driving privileges.


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