January 31, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Driving without a license is no joke in North Carolina
In late 2012, 11-year-old Steven Dixon was hit by an unlicensed driver while walking to his bus stop in Forsyth County, North Carolina. "I was walking and I heard something go boom... [the car], it hit me and ran over my legs," said Steven. Both of his legs are now in casts. Unfortunately, unlicensed drivers are not uncommon in North Carolina. State Trooper Robert Reavis says he pulls over about one unlicensed driver a day, which is not far from estimates for the entire state.
A recent AAA study revealed that one of every seven North Carolina drivers is driving without a valid license. That means that for every seven cars on the road, one of them is being driven by someone who either has not been trained to drive, could not qualify to drive or whose privilege to drive has been revoked for bad behavior. Whatever the reason, unlicensed drivers are a danger to everyone else on the road and everyone eventually pays a price.
According to AAA, 21 percent of all fatal accidents in North Carolina involve an unlicensed driver. In another report, "Unlicensed to Kill," AAA said that 18.2 percent of deadly crashes nationwide involve an unlicensed driver. To give that percentage context, those accidents killed 21,049 people between 2007 and 2009. AAA also estimates that just over half of all drivers who fled the scene of a fatal accident lacked a license.
The cost of unlicensed drivers is immense. An unlicensed driver is an uninsured driver, so when he or she gets in an accident the other party or the other party's insurer usually foots the bill. Unfortunately, the cost is passed along to everyone else through increased premiums. That said, unlicensed drivers should be everyone's concern.
By state statute, driving without a license is a class 2 misdemeanor offense that carries fines and a possible jail term. Driving with a revoked or suspended license because of driving without insurance or under the influence is more serious. If a lack of insurance is the reason for the suspension, a first offense will result in a yearlong suspension, two years for a second offense and a permanent revocation for a third or subsequent violation.
The penalties for driving on a suspended license or for driving under the influence are harsher. A first offense carries a mandatory one-year suspension and requires substance abuse treatment, fines and court costs. A second offense could require a suspension as long as four years in addition to treatment and a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID).
Third and fourth offenses are class F felonies that carry at least a jail term and may include prison time. They certainly result in a license revocation, substance abuse treatment, fines and fees. If the driver ever gets their license back, they might have to use an IID for seven years thereafter.
The penalties for driving without a license in North Carolina are severe, not to mention the increased statistical risk of being involved in a fatal accident. For those reasons it is not worth taking to the wheel without a valid license. However, if you or a loved one is charged with driving without a license, contact an experienced defense attorney to discuss your situation and your options.
Article provided by Wood, Rabil & Peake, LLP
Visit us at http://www.wrplaw.net---
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