In Indiana, driving is not a right but a privilege. When your license becomes suspended or revoked, you cannot operate a vehicle legally.
Indiana drivers need to understand the penalties for choosing to drive without a valid license.
According to Indiana law, driving on public roads with a suspended or revoked license is a Class A infraction. This can result in a fine of up to $10,000. The penalties become more severe if you drive with a suspended license for a second time within ten years. This transforms into a Class A misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense. A conviction could result in incarceration for up to one year and fines of up to $10,000.
Certain situations result in escalated charges due to the nature of the suspension. If a drug offense or other criminal conviction led to the suspension of your license, you could face more severe consequences.
Repeated violations of suspension conditions may bring additional punishment. Accumulating multiple violations, including major offenses or reckless driving, could lead to your categorization as a habitual traffic offender. This classification might result in an extended or permanent suspension.
If you caused injuries to others in an accident while driving with a suspended license, authorities might charge you with a Level 6 felony, which carries the potential for up to one year of incarceration. For a fatal accident, you could face a Level 5 felony charge, possibly leading to a prison sentence ranging from one to six years.
Indiana recently enacted legislation that aims to address the 330,000 Indiana residents with active driver’s license suspensions. The new law focuses on helping those suspended for economic reasons such as unpaid fines or lack of car insurance. It introduces a mechanism that allows you to pause a suspension by obtaining car insurance, provided you can maintain it for six months.
Additionally, the bill eliminates license suspension as a penalty for failure to appear in court, extending support to nonviolent offenders. It is now possible to temporarily waive reinstatement fees and offer permanent fee waivers if you maintain consistent employment and avoid further suspensions for moving violations over three years.
Driving with a suspended or revoked license is not a good idea. Fortunately, Indiana’s recent legislative changes regarding driver’s license suspensions make it easier to address suspensions in many cases.