In every state, a person needs a valid driver’s license in order to operate a motor vehicle. Along with having a valid driver’s license yourself, it is also necessary for anyone else driving your vehicle to carry a license.
In North Carolina, the penalty for letting an unlicensed driver drive your car is as severe as driving without a license yourself.
The Danger of Letting an Unlicensed Driver Drive your Car
You may think you are doing an unlicensed friend a favor if you’re letting them borrow your car. However, you are putting the life of people on the road at risk by permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a vehicle.
An unlicensed person is :
- Someone who never obtained a license
- Someone who had their license revoked or suspended
- Someone who committed criminal offenses
- Teenagers who are too young to have a valid license
If you willingly allow such a person to drive on a public road, they pose a safety threat to everyone on it. If they do not have the proper knowledge of road safety or traffic rules, they can cause an accident and cause harm to other people on the road.
What Happens if Someone Is Caught Driving Without A License In Your Car?
In North Carolina, permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle is considered a criminal offense. This can happen if a friend, family relative, or colleague borrows your car and is cited, gets into a car accident, or is arrested for traffic violations.
Similar to driving without a license, letting an unlicensed driver drive your car is considered to be a Class 3 misdemeanor.
What is a Class 3 Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors are placed into different categories according to the level of their seriousness. While a class 3 misdemeanor is not the most serious of offenses, it can still have repercussions and implications. Examples of Class 3 Misdemeanors include:
- Driving without a valid license
- Permitting an unlicensed driver to operate your vehicle.
- Failure to comply with license restrictions
What Is The Penalty For Letting an Unlicensed Driver Drive Your Car?
The penalty of letting an unlicensed driver drive your car is similar to the penalty for any Class 3 Misdemeanor. According to North Carolina law, you can face up to 20 days in jail and a fine of up to $200.
Who Is Liable For Damages if An Unlicensed Driver Is Driving Your Car?
When you let an unlicensed driver borrow your car, there is a possibility that they may get into an accident. In this case, who is liable for damages?
Most insurance policies follow the vehicle and not the driver. If such a case, if the unlicensed driver using your car causes an accident, then your insurance policy will most likely cover the damages of the injured party. This is, however, only applicable if the unlicensed driver was using your car with your permission. If they were not, then you will not be held liable for any damages.
However, if your insurance policy does not cover the unlicensed driver or the damages are beyond what is covered by your policy, then you may be held responsible for paying out of pocket. This is why it is important to have proper insurance coverage and to only allow licensed drivers to operate your vehicle.
What If Their North Carolina Driver’s License Has License Restrictions?
If the unlicensed driver has a North Carolina driver’s license with certain restrictions, then they may only operate a vehicle under those conditions. Ignoring these restrictions can lead to penalties such as fines or jail time.
Some examples of common restrictions are:
- Having to wear corrective lenses while driving
- Being restricted to driving during daylight hours
- Not being allowed to drive on highways
- Only being able to drive a car with automatic transmission
If you let an unlicensed driver borrow your car and they are caught violating their license restrictions, you may be held liable. In this case, you may face the same penalties as if you had let an unlicensed driver use your car.
How To Prevent An Unlicensed Driver From Driving Your Car?
The best way to prevent an unlicensed driver from driving your car is to never let them borrow it in the first place. If someone asks to borrow your car, always ask to see their driver’s license first. If they do not have one or if it is invalid, then do not let them borrow your car.
You should also avoid loaning your car to anyone who has had their driver’s license suspended or revoked. If you do, you may be held liable if they are caught driving.
If you must let someone borrow your car, make sure that they have a valid driver’s license and that they are aware of any restrictions on their license. You should also check to see if your insurance policy covers unlicensed drivers.
The Bottom Line
Allowing an unlicensed person to drive your car is a bad idea. Not only is it illegal, but it can also be dangerous. If you are caught permitting an unlicensed driver to use your vehicle, you may face criminal charges and penalties. It is always best to err on the side of caution and not let anyone drive your car who does not have a valid license.
Have You Been Charged For Allowing An Unlicensed Person to Drive Your Car?
If you let an unlicensed person borrow your car, you may have had no idea they did not carry a valid license. If you’ve been unknowingly dragged into a messy situation, we can help you! We work tirelessly for each client we represent to secure positive results on their behalf. Contact us for the legal representation you deserve!