Allowing your child to practice before they get their permit is a necessity. But finding the best way to do it can be challenging. Many consider teaching out of the way in a parking lot, but is it legal?
You cannot drive in a parking lot without a permit in all 50 states. While parking lots are considered private property, their general accessibility to the public subjects them to the same jurisdiction as public property.
The rest of this article will cover the topic in greater detail. I’ll also explore the safest ways to practice before trying for a permit.
Consequences of Getting Caught Driving Without a Permit as a Minor
If your child is caught driving without a permit as a minor, the consequences can be quite serious. In most cases, parents are held responsible under Parental Responsibility Laws when they allow their child to drive without a permit on public property. In certain states, the fines associated with driving without a permit are minimal.
But in certain cases, allowing your child to drive without a permit can result in thousands of dollars of fines and up to a year of jail time.
Specifically, here are the consequences of getting caught driving without a permit as a minor.
|State||Is driving in a parking lot without a permit legal?||Type of Crime||Penalties|
|Alabama||No||Misdemeanor||Up to $100 in fines; $50 traffic fund penalty|
|Alaska||No||Traffic Infraction||Up to $300 in fines|
|Arizona||No||Class 2 Misdemeanor||Up to $750 in fines and up to 4 months in jail|
|Arkansas||No||Misdemeanor||Up to $500 in fines and up to six months of jail time|
|California||No||Misdemeanor/Infraction||Infractions are penalized with up to $250 in fines, while misdemeanors are penalized with up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.|
|Colorado||No||Class A Traffic Infraction||Up to $100 in fines|
|Connecticut||No||Infraction||Up to $90 in fines|
|Delaware||No||Punishable Offense||Up to $200 in fines|
|Florida||No||Second-Degree Misdemeanor||Maximum of 60 days in jail and $500 in fines|
|Georgia||No||Misdemeanor||Up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines|
|Hawaii||No||Crime||Up to 30 days in jail and $1,000 in fines|
|Idaho||No||Crime||Up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines|
|Illinois||No||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to six months in jail and $1,500 in fines|
|Indiana||No||Class C Misdemeanor||Up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines|
|Iowa||No||Misdemeanor||Up to 30 days in jail and $625 dollars in penalties|
|Kansas||No||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. The offender also receives a 90-day license suspension.|
|Kentucky||No||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 90 days in jail and $250 in fines|
|Louisiana||No||Misdemeanor||Up to six months in jail and $500 in fines|
|Maine||No||Class E Offense||Up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000|
|Maryland||No||Punishable Offense||Up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500|
|Massachusetts||No||Crime||Fine of up to $500 for the first offense. Ensuing offenses can result in charges of up to $2,000.|
|Michigan||No||Crime||Up to 93 days of jail time and fines of up to $500|
|Minnesota||No||Crime||Up to $200 in fines|
|Mississippi||No||Misdemeanor||Up to six months in jail and $500 in fines|
|Missouri||No||Class D Misdemeanor (for first offense)Class A Misdemeanor (for second offense)||Fines of up to $500. Second offenses are penalized with up to 1 year of jail time and up to $2,000 in fines.|
|Montana||No||Punishable Offense||Up to $500 in fines|
|Nebraska||No||Class III Misdemeanor||Up to three months in jail and incur a penalty of one point to their driving record|
|Nevada||No||Misdemeanor||Up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines|
|New Hampshire||No||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to $1,200 in fines and up to four traffic violations demerits points on their record. Drivers are also rendered ineligible to receive a driver’s license for one year.|
|New Jersey||No||Punishable offense||Up to $500 in fines and 60 days of jail time|
|New Mexico||No||Misdemeanor||Up to $300 in fines and up to 90 days in jail|
|New York||No||Crime||Up to $400, including the surcharge and up to 15 days in jail. They may also face penalties from their insurance company.|
|North Carolina||No||Traffic Infraction||Up to $100 in fines plus court costs, three points on their driving record, and one point on their insurance record|
|North Dakota||No||Moving Violation||Up to $20 in fines and up to four demerit points on their record|
|Ohio||No||First-Degree Misdemeanor||Up to $1,000 in fines and six months of jail time|
|Oklahoma||No||Misdemeanor||Up to $300 in fines and up to 30 days in jail|
|Oregon||No||Class B Traffic Violation||Up to $1,000 in fines. Offenders will also be prohibited from obtaining their driver’s license for a minimum of six months.|
|Pennsylvania||No||Crime||Up to $350 in fines, including court costs|
|Rhode Island||No||Misdemeanor||The first and second offenses can result in up to $500 in fines, while subsequent offenses can incur penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and a license suspension of up to 90 days.|
|South Carolina||No||Crime||The first offense can result in up to $300 in fines and up to 30 days in jail, while the third and subsequent offenses can lead to a maximum of six months in jail.|
|South Dakota||No||Class 2 Misdemeanor||Up to $500 in fines and up to 30 days of jail time|
|Tennessee||No||Class C Misdemeanor||Up to $50 in fines and up to 30 days in jail|
|Texas||No||Crime||Up to $200 in fines, a ticket for a moving violation, a permanent misdemeanor conviction on their criminal record, and impoundment of their vehicle. Later offenses can result in up to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines.|
|Utah||No||Infraction||Up to $200 in fines|
|Vermont||No||Traffic Violation||The first offense can result in up to $162 dollars in fines, while ensuing offenses come with a penalty of up to $5,000 in fines and up to two months in jail. Each violation results in two license demerit points.|
|Virginia||No||Class 2 Misdemeanor||The first offense can result in up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in jail, while subsequent offenses can be penalized with up to $2,500 in fines, up to 12 months in jail, and the possibility of vehicle impoundment.|
|Washington||No||Traffic Infraction||Up to $250 in fines|
|West Virginia||No||Misdemeanor||Up to $500 in fines. Subsequent charges for unlicensed driving can result in up to $500 in fines and up to six months in jail.|
|Wisconsin||No||Crime||Up to $200 in fines. The second conviction can include a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days of jail time. Subsequent convictions can include a fine of up to $500 and up to six months of jail time.|
|Wyoming||No||Misdemeanor||The first offense can result in up to $150 in fines. Subsequent violations may result in license suspension.|
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Where Is the Best Place To Practice Driving?
The best place to practice driving is inaccessible private property. Although parking lots are considered private property, they are subject to the same legal jurisdiction as public property because they are accessible to the public.
Likewise, if you choose to teach your child to drive in the neighborhood, it could still be considered a violation of the law because the neighborhood is publicly accessible.
Legal jurisdiction over private property doesn’t apply when it would reasonably be considered trespassing to enter the property, and you have rights to the property.
For example, if you choose to teach your child to drive on your privately owned field, you would have the complete right to do so without the risk of prosecution. It’s safe to say that the best place to allow your child to practice driving is a property that you own or were privately granted access to.
Can You Practice Driving Without a Permit?
If your child is itching to learn how to drive and they don’t have a permit yet, you may be wondering whether it’s a good idea to put them behind the wheel.
You can practice driving without a permit as long as you are supervised and you are not driving on a public road. However, your best bet is to obtain the necessary permits per your state or area’s laws and comply with other applicable rules and regulations.
Remember that, at the very least, a driver caught without a valid permit or license will be subject to costly fines. At worst, they may lose their license and serve jail time, depending on the state they live in.
Related Can You Test Drive a Car with a Learner’s Permit?
Teaching your child to drive is a wonderful thing. Allowing your child to practice before they get their permit is a great way to inspire confidence, but unfortunately, it’s illegal in every state.
Understanding the potential consequences of allowing your child to drive without a permit and finding the safest way to let your child practice is necessary. With the information in this article, you’ll have all the information you need to help your child learn to drive without a permit.
Thanks for reading!
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Hey, I’m Jim, and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!