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Driving Without a Valid Operator’s License in Ohio

Were you cited for driving with an expired license? Call LHA for a Free Consult: (513) 338-1890.

Regardless of whether you’re an excellent driver or didn’t realize your license expired, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Ohio without a valid license. Doing so could result in a criminal conviction, damage to your driving record, and other significant penalties.

At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our defense attorneys know that people sometimes forget to get their licenses renewed and are ready to help if you’re charged with driving without a valid operator’s license in Ohio. Call (513) 338-1890 for free, initial consultation. We’ll explain what to expect and how we can help.

Ohio Requires a Valid Driver’s License

Driving without a valid license is covered under Ohio Revised Code (ORC 4510.12). This law states  that anyone who operates a motor vehicle on a public road, highway, or private road intended for public use must do so with a VALID driver’s license.

What If You Forgot Your License

Ohio law Ohio Revised Code (ORC 4507.02) requires all drivers to carry their license with them while operating a motor vehicle. If you are pulled over, and you do not have your license, you may be issued a citation and required to provide proof of your license. This is separate from driving without a valid license or driving while your license is suspended, which are both much more significant offenses.

Infographic with penalties for different types of license offenses

Penalties for Driving Without a License in Ohio

If you never got a license and are convicted of driving without a valid driver’s license, you could be charged with an unclassified misdemeanor. While this is a less severe offense than a felony or other misdemeanors, this offense can mean being required to complete up to 500 community service hours and fines up to $1,000.

Repeat Offenses of Driving Without a License

If convicted for subsequent driving without a valid driver’s license offenses, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This is much more serious and punished by up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.

Driving With an Expired License in Ohio

If your license is expired and you’re convicted of driving without a valid driver’s license, it is treated as a minor misdemeanor, punished by up to $150 in fines. While a single offense is not very serious, if you are convicted of three or more driving without a valid driver’s license offenses in three years, you face first-degree misdemeanor charges. This is a more significant offense, punished by up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.

Why You Need an Ohio Traffic Lawyer

You may initially think that driving without a valid Ohio driver’s license is no big deal, but there are various other consequences if convicted aside from fines and possible time in custody. You may need to deal with points on your license, higher insurance rates, difficulty getting around, and fewer job opportunities without a license.

An experienced lawyer can work to preserve your driving and criminal record so you can move on easily and hopefully continue driving legally. Although every case is different, a knowledgeable attorney with a background in Ohio traffic law can fight for your best interest and pursue the best possible outcome. This could result in the dismissal of the charge, a reduction, or a result that preserves your ability to keep a conviction off your record.

Charged With Driving Without a Valid Operator’s License? Call LHA.

The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better your options. The Cincinnati criminal defense team at LHA has successfully defended countless individuals charged with driving without a valid driver’s license. Our knowledge, experience, and attention to detail can help protect you and your license.

Cincinnati traffic lawyer Brad Groene is here for you and available to discuss your license. Don’t hesitate to contact LHA today at (513) 338-1890 or email us at