Learner’s Permit Violations

Father and son driving

Getting your learner’s permit is a rite of passage but what happens when you don’t abide by the specific conditions associated with it? You could end up facing criminal charges for driving without a license and your learner’s permit could be suspended. Not only that, your passenger may also be at risk for criminal charges or having their license suspended.

Massachusetts Learner’s Permit Rules

When driving with a learner’s permit in Massachusetts, you must be accompanied by a driver who is licensed, who is at least 21 years of age, who has at least one year of driving experience, and who is occupying the passenger seat beside you. If you are under age 18, you may not drive between 12:00/midnight and 5:00a.m. unless you are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, who has an active driver’s license with at least one year of driving experience.

What happens if you violate the rules of your learner’s permit?

If you have a learner’s permit, and the person in the passenger seat, is not a licensed driver, 21 years or older, with at least 1 year of driving experience, then the law considers you to be driving without a license. This means you can be criminally charged for operating a motor vehicle without a license.

If you operate a vehicle without a valid driver’s license then you face:

  1. Up to 10 days in jail for a first offense
  2. Not less than 60 days nor more than one year for a second or subsequent offense
  3. Your learner’s permit will also be suspended for 60 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense and for 1 year for a third or subsequent offense.

What happens if you let someone with a learner’s permit operate your vehicle, but you are not legally able to be the supervisor?

If you are the owner of the vehicle or in control of the vehicle (maybe it’s registered to your parent), and you allow the learner’s permit holder to drive the vehicle even though you are not 21 years or older with at least one year of driving experience, then you face:

  1. Up to one year in jail for a first offense 
  2. Up to 2.5 years in jail for a second or subsequent offense
  3. The RMV may suspend your vehicle registration and/or your license for up to one year.

We often see this kind of scenario when a 20-year-old and 17-year-old are dating. The 20-year-old sits in the passenger seat while the 17-year-old with a learner’s permit drives the 20-year-old’s vehicle. You are just asking for trouble in this kind of scenario. The easiest way to avoid facing charges is to have the 20-year-old licensed driver operate the vehicle but we know that sometimes that doesn’t happen.

Have You Received a Ticket with a Permit? We Can Help.

Sweeney & Associates, LLC is here to help you! There are so many ways we can help you successfully resolve your case whether you are the permit holder or the passenger. We will do everything we can to get you the best possible outcome. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. We can be reached at (617) 300-0212 or

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