Driving Without A Valid Minnesota License: What are the consequences?

October 9th, 2009

 

Driving After Cancellation (DAC), Driving After Revocation (DAR), Driving After Suspension (DAS), and Driving After Disqualification are common additional charges that individuals can end up facing, if their driver’s licenses have been invalidated for a period of time due to a recent DUI or DWI conviction. 

In a nut shell, all four of these offenses are governed by Minnesota Statute 171.24, which reads, “[A] person is guilty of a misdemeanor if: (1) the person’s driver’s license or driving privilege has been suspended; (2) the person has been given notice of or reasonably should know of the suspension; and (3) the person disobeys the order by operating in this state any motor vehicle, the operation of which requires a driver’s license,” while the person’s license or privilege is suspended, revoked, or canceled.  Also, if a person is operating a commercial vehicle and has been disqualified from holding a commercial driver’s license in Minnesota, that person is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

The statute continues to state that a person has committed a gross misdemeanor if the “person’s driver’s license or driving privilege has been canceled or denied” because “the commissioner has good cause to believe that the operation of a motor vehicle on the highways by the person would be inimical to public safety or welfare,” and “the person has been given notice of or reasonably should know of the cancellation or denial; and… the person disobeys the order by operating in this state any motor vehicle, the operation of which requires a driver’s license, while the person’s license or privilege is canceled or denied.” 

If an individual already has a conviction for one of the charges involving driving without a valid license, the penalty for a second offense is much steeper.  Minnesota Statute 168.041 subdivision 2 states, “If a person is convicted of violating a law or municipal ordinance, except a parking law or ordinance, regulating the operation of motor vehicles on the streets or highways, and the record of the person so convicted shows a previous conviction for driving after suspension or revocation of the person’s driver’s license or driving privileges, the court may direct the commissioner of public safety to suspend the driver’s license of the person for a period not exceeding one year. The court may also require the registration plates of any self-propelled motor vehicle owned by the violator or registered in the violator’s name to be surrendered to the court.” 

As the 168.041 subdivision 2 indicates, in addition to the criminal misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor charges that an individual who drives without a valid license can face, plate impoundment can also result, whether the individual driving without a license owned the vehicle or not.  Minnesota Statute 168.041 subdivision 1 reads, “When a person is convicted of driving a self-propelled motor vehicle after the suspension, revocation, or cancellation of the person’s driver’s license or driving privileges, the court shall require the registration plates of the self-propelled motor vehicle involved in the violation owned by the person or registered in the person’s name to be surrendered to the court. …If the violator is not the owner of the self-propelled motor vehicle, the court shall require the registration plates of the motor vehicle to be surrendered to the court if the vehicle was used by the violator with the permission of the owner and the owner had knowledge of the fact that the violator’s driver’s license had been revoked or suspended prior to the commission of the offense.” 

Driving without a valid driver’s license can put not only an individual’s future driving privilege in jeopardy, but can also potentially lead to license plate impoundment for the vehicle, even if the vehicle belongs to a third party. 

All Minnesota Statutes can be found online, in full, at:https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/index.php  This website is kept up to date by the Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes and provides a comprehensive key word search of all Minnesota Statutorylaw.

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