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What happens if you drive without a license in Hawaii?

Your license expired a month ago, but you haven’t had a chance to get it renewed. As you drive into work, you hear sirens behind you. Looking down at the speedometer you realize that you are ten miles over the speed limit.

Now you have for two violations – speeding, and driving without a license. You know that speeding will probably result in a ticket, but what happens if you drive without a license in Hawaii?

Driving without a license

You are considered to be driving without a license if:

  1. You have a driver’s license, but it is not in your possession
  2. You do not have a driver’s license, or your license is expired
  3. Authorities previously stripped you of your driver’s license

The first case is the easiest to handle. You can have this infraction dismissed if you are able to prove that you legally possessed a driver’s license at the time that you were pulled over by police.

Scenarios two and three are considered traffic crimes and they are accompanied with more severe consequences.

The penalties for driving without a license

If you drive without a license in the state of Hawaii, you may:

  1. Be arrested
  2. Be required to appear in court*
  3. Be held in jail for up to 30 days
  4. Be fined up to $1,000

*Failure to appear in court can result in a warrant for your arrest, and having a driver’s license “stopper” placed on your record. A driver’s license stopper prevents you from obtaining another driver’s license.

If you drive a commercial vehicle without a license, fines may be as high as $5,000.

Options if you get a ticket

You have several options if you receive a ticket:

  1. Pay the ticket. You may admit guilt to driving without a license, and pay the fine. If you do this, the traffic crime will remain on your driving record. Hawaii does not have a point system for recording infractions; however, your driving record that can be accessed by potential employers and auto insurance companies.
  2. Fight the ticket. Even if you were driving without a license, you can fight your ticket. You have the opportunity to explain your circumstances in court, and you may hire an attorney to fight on your behalf.

Driving without a license is a serious traffic crime with consequences that can follow you for years to come. Hiring an attorney gives you an experienced advocate who knows Hawaii’s laws, can help you plead for lesser charges and develop a more favorable plan of action.

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Rustam A. Barbee
1188 Bishop Street Suite 2606
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Phone: 808-379-3575
Phone: (808) 524-4406
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