Motorists in Rhode Island may soon get a break if they're pulled over without a license.
State lawmakers approved a bill last week that would make driving without a valid driver's license a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor.
Lawmakers say the change aims to spare one-time and accidental license violators from harsh punishments and to allow the justice system to focus on more dangerous defendants.
Current law says anyone who drives without a license - or drives with one that's expired, suspended or revoked - is subject to arrest and up to 30 days behind bars. The bill eliminates the potential prison sentence for first- and second-time offenders.
The legislation tightens the rules for anyone caught without a license three or more times.