Michigan law requires all drivers in the state to have a license. Individuals who disobey this law and get involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving without a license may face serious penalties – including jail time. That said, can unlicensed drivers still get no-fault benefits if they are involved in a car crash? Does driving without a license automatically make someone liable for a crash?
At Jay Trucks, our knowledgeable vehicle accident lawyers in Flint have been handling car crash claims for decades, recovering millions in compensation for our clients. Call our law offices to learn about your legal options today. There is no cost or obligation for this meeting, and you can learn if you may have a valid claim.
Jay Trucks. A Law Firm You Can Trust. (800) 762-8623
No-Fault Benefits for Unlicensed Drivers Involved in a Crash
If you drove without a license and caused an accident, you will have some legal penalties to deal with, but you may be eligible to receive no-fault benefits. If you have valid insurance, you will likely be covered for your medical costs, lost wages and other no-fault benefits under your own policy. If someone else owned the vehicle you were driving, you may be able to seek no-fault benefits through their insurer. However, be aware that if you were driving the vehicle without the owner's permission, you will not qualify to receive no-fault benefits.
Here are some common situations which, if they apply, disqualify individuals, licensed or not, injured or not, from receiving Michigan no-fault benefits after a crash:
- The vehicle was stolen or unlawfully taken - this could include unlicensed drivers who operate a rental vehicle
- The driver was operating his or her vehicle and that vehicle was not insured
- Out-of-state residents who neither own nor insure a Michigan-registered vehicle
Are Unlicensed Michigan Drivers Automatically Liable for a Crash?
Being unlicensed does not automatically make a driver liable for a car crash. Police and insurance adjusters will still need to investigate who caused the crash. It is, however, illegal. So why do people do it? There are many reasons individuals may get behind the wheel without a license, such as if the person:
- Never had a driver’s license and drove someone else’s car with their knowledge or permission
- Had a driver’s license and is still insured, but the license recently expired due to an oversight
- Was driving with a suspended or revoked license due to multiple DUIs or other traffic offenses
- Unlawfully drove someone else's vehicle with no license and without their knowledge or permission
Unlicensed Drivers Face Stiff Penalties
Drivers who get behind the wheel without a license face harsh penalties. Michigan has some of the toughest consequences in the country for drivers who are unlicensed. If you are a first offender, you may get off lightly. For example, if you drove not realizing that your license had recently lapsed. Even in that situation, you can still expect to get a ticket, a hefty fine and a mandatory court appearance. Repeat offenders, such as drivers whose licenses were previously suspended or revoked for various reasons, can expect stiffer penalties, such as those who:
- Never had a license: First-time offenders can face up to 90 days of jail time, and a $50 to $100 fine. Repeat offenders will be fined, and serve a minimum of two to 90 days jail time.
- Have a license, but were not carrying proof: This is still a misdemeanor. If convicted, it brings up to 90 days of jail time and a $100 fine. You may be able to get the charge dismissed after showing proof of your current license to law enforcement before your scheduled court appearance.
- Had an accident while driving with a suspended or revoked license: Even first-time offenders face serious penalties, including a fine of up to $500, as well as up to 93 days of jail time. Second offenders can spend up to a year in jail and also be fined $1,000.
- Had an accident that caused injury or death: The penalty is up to five years in prison for an injury - and a fine of up to $5,000. If a death occurs, the unlicensed driver can be sentenced to jail for up to 15 years and be fined up to a $10,000 fine.
The Experienced Attorneys at Jay Trucks Are Ready to Protect Your Rights
At Jay Trucks, we are ready to help victims injured because of another's negligence. If you are having problems obtaining your no-fault benefits after a motor vehicle accident, contact our law offices today. We provide a free first-time case review to help injured victims understand their rights and potential legal options.
While you are not obligated to hire our firm after this initial consultation, if we do represent you, your case is in experienced hands. We have recovered millions for our clients, including $2 million for a 43-year-old victim who suffered catastrophic injuries in a car crash.
Get started today by calling our law offices to schedule your free case review.
We are here to help. Ph: (800) 762-8623