What happens if you drive a motorcycle without a license in the USA?
In the US, there are several conditions that you must fulfill if you want to ride a motorcycle. In most states, you will need a motorcycle license and be over 18 years of age. This looks similar to motor vehicle laws, doesn’t it?
That may be the case in some situations, but there are certain areas which are limited to motorcycles. For instance, in all the states, if you want to ride a motorcycle, you will have to provide proof of ownership and registration.
In general drive a motorcycle without a license
In most of the states, the motorcyclists are obligated to have the headlights on at all times. This is probably for visibility purposes. The weather may suddenly change and leave you prone to accidents during the day.
Another general rule applies if you intend to use your motorbike on public highways. There are specific requirements set out which you should first meet before your bike is registered for such use. These requirements vary between states.
If you own a bike which is less than 50cc, you may be prohibited from using it on highways or you will have limited access to them.
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You will also discover that all states prohibit riding the motorbike in between lanes of traffic, as well as having two motorbikes on the same lane simultaneously.
Having your motorcycle insured is also mandatory. The costs tend to vary depending on a variety of factors. They include age, your experience on the road, the cubic capacity (cc), and the type of the motorcycle.
Last but not least, all states recommend that you use very strong locks for your bikes. They are valuable and expensive items, so you would have to ensure that they are completely secure from burglars.
A motorcycle license
This is a necessity in all the states before you can ride a motorcycle. There are a few steps that you should expect to go through before you get yourself a driving license.
A motorbike permit
The first step in most of the states is getting a motorcycle permit. This law applies to drivers who have not yet attained 18 years of age. The minimum age requirement ranges from 15-16 years.
To get the permit, you will be taken through a driver’s test, followed by a written motorcycle test and finally a test of your vision.
Once you get this permit, you can later on apply for a motorcycle license.
A motorcycle endorsement
In some states, if you have a driver’s license and you wish to operate a motorcycle, you would not need to get an additional motorcycle license. Rather, you can apply to have an endorsement added to your driving license.
This would act as a supplement to your license and would give you a legal mandate to ride a motorcycle or a scooter.
How long would it take to get a motorcycle license?
The time it takes to get this license depends on a number of issues. They include the time you will take to complete and pass your motorcycle safety and driving exams in that order.
The length of time it takes to process your application will also determine when you will get your motorcycle license.
The penalties for driving a motorbike without a license
As you would have guessed by now, the penalty for riding a motorbike without a license in the USA varies from one state to another. The penalties range from fines to jail time.
We shall take you through the penalties of driving a motorcycle without a license in different states in the US.
The State of Texas
In Texas, if your license was up to date when you committed the offence, you would present the license to the courthouse on or before your scheduled court appearance.
You will then pay a $10 fine and the charge would be dismissed.
If the license was expired, you will have to renew it, present the proof of renewal to the courthouse before your scheduled court date and finally pay a $20 fine. The charge would then be dismissed.
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The state of Pennsylvania
In PA, if you ride without a license, you will be slapped with a $200 fine. Additionally, your motorbike will be towed away and impounded until you pay the fine.
You will also get increased insurance premiums as well have 3 points added to your license.
The State of Florida
In this state, riding your motorbike without a license is considered a second degree misdemeanor. You could be slapped with a maximum fine of $500.
Alternatively, you could be put on a probation period which should not exceed 6 months or even be handed down a 60-day jail sentence.
On top of that, your motorbike will be impounded by the police and be held there until you put your issues in check.
The State of California
In this state, two situations may arise. If the offence is treated as an infraction, the maximum fine that one can pay is $250.
However, if it is considered a misdemeanor, then you can be fined up to $1000 or be given 3 year probation or face up to six months jail time or all.
Additionally, your motorbike may be impounded for 30 days.
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The state of Kansas
For the first time offender, this case is treated as a class b nonperson misdemeanor. You would be liable to pay a minimum fine of $100 or serve a jail time of five days.
If you are a repeat offender, then this would be a class A nonperson misdemeanor. This means that you would be liable to pay a $100 fine or serve a 5 day jail time (without the possibility of parole) or both.
Additionally, your license suspension would be increased by 90 days
The above are just a small sample of the penalties in different states for riding a motorcycle without a license. As you can see, it is not peanuts. That amount could have been put to better use.
We therefore urge to fully comply with the motorcycle laws in whichever state you are in so that you can avoid paying out such crazy amounts of money as fines.