Can I be charged with Driving Under Suspension if I never had a driver’s license?

In South Carolina, you can’t be convicted of driving under suspension if you never had a license in the first place – there is a separate statute that makes it a crime to drive without a license.

On Avvo’s neverending circus of wrong answers provided by out-of-state lawyers playing the Avvo contributor level video game, Illinois DUI lawyer Ted Harvatin not only gives the incorrect answer to the above question, but goes on to insult the asker with some nonsensical attempted wit:

As nice as it would be to get away with a crime simply by not having the necessary permission to be where you wanted to be.. just think you could trespass and while you were there you could murder someone and get away with it.

S.C. Code § 56-1-460 makes it a crime to drive on a public highway when your license has been cancelled, suspended, or revoked.  Of course, if you have never had a license, then you’ve never had a license be cancelled, suspended, or revoked.  S.C. Code § 56-1-20 prohibits driving when you do not have a license, and the punishment is provided in S.C. Code § 56-1-440 “penalties for driving without a license.”

It is a crime to drive either way, whether you have no license or you had a license which has been suspended, but the difference is in the punishment.  A conviction for DUS/ driving under suspension can carry a significant potential prison sentence – up to, on a 3rd offense when the license was suspended for DUI, a mandatory minimum of 6 months to 3 years in prison.  A conviction for DUS carries higher fine amounts and an additional suspension of the person’s license, which could complicate matters if a person has never had a license and wants to get one.

Driving without a license – DWOL or no SCDL – has significantly lower fine amounts and has no effect on a person’s ability to get a license down the road.

7 Responses to “Can I be charged with Driving Under Suspension if I never had a driver’s license?

  • It also complicates matters when you have a provisional license in one state who has permission to let you drive from another state that has permenantly revoked your privilege to drive in that state. So if you leave your wallet in your other pants and the cop misses that you have a provisional licence in this state and only sees that your licence is revoked in the other state. He in turn erroneously write the ticket for DUS is it then up to the attorney to work his magic and have the charges reduced to without a license from DUS? How would that work ?

  • Or get them dismissed, depending on the officer and the court. If your attorney can show that you had a provisional license, you won’t be convicted of driving under suspension, and the officer may dismiss the ticket once he understands what happened.

  • I never had a license to drive. But I do have 3 counts of DUS. HOW can this be when I never taken the test to get one.

  • If I have a driving on a suspended license or revoke charge and I don’t have a license can i get that fixed with the courts… My fiance got 12 months probation and 5 days in jail with a fine in 2016.. She paid and did 3 months of it but could not complete it they came to our house 530 in the morning on Thanksgiving Thursday and no one not the city the jail not even the probation even new anything about her arrest until I talked to her she is just sitting with no bond no court date I just want to know about her original sentence and a quick knowledgeable answer so I don’t say something in accurate to an attorney or whom ever .. I just want her out and I’m very upset with the system here… Thank you for your time

  • I never had a driver’s license but have been caught driving numerous of times I got tired of getting in trouble so I decided to clean up my ACT pay all my fines I hired an attorney to go to Circuit Court got approved for a full driver’s license under the hardship law. But when I went to take my written test I was told by the state that they’re not going to honor Circuit Court decision and I have to wait 3 years.i’ve Never had a DUI just driving without a licenses I don’t know what to do.

    • Ashley – you may need to get an attorney to review the situation and the reason they are not honoring the circuit court decision – you should use the same attorney who helped you to get approved if possible, or you could call us if you need to.

  • We’re gasping for air just excited about it.

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