Driving Without a License in California
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Obtaining and maintaining a California driver’s license is no easy task. People who have waited hours at the CA DMV can attest to that. However, California drivers are required to carry a valid license while driving a vehicle in order to avoid prosecution. Let’s examine the three main reasons for driving without a license, the associated penalties—and how to avoid them!
Did you merely forget to bring your license on a drive? The most likely outcome is being charged with an infraction of CA VC 12951. This means you were licensed to operate a vehicle, however you lacked proof at the time of the traffic stop. Don’t fret—all you have to do is prove to the court that you are in possession of a valid CA driver’s license, and the initial charges will be dismissed, not going on your record as a criminal violation. Keep in mind, fines are often handed out to violators of VC 12951. Without including additional fees, the fine for this offense can be a maximum of $250. A steep traffic fine for simply forgetting your license at home.
If you find yourself with a ticket for driving with an expired license, there is a chance of getting charged with a misdemeanor. This is a violation of CA VC 12500. Violators of this code are typically transplants from out of state. The California DMV requires that you have a valid California license, regardless of your home state’s license validity. If you are able to obtain a new, valid license shortly after being charged with the misdemeanor, prosecutors will commonly reduce the penalty to a basic infraction. If the penalty is reduced to an infraction, the fine will be a maximum of $250, without other fees. As a misdemeanor charge, however, the maximum fine can be up to $1000, including possible vehicle impoundment, and summary probation.
This is by far the most serious of the three offenses—it is the most expensive infraction as well. To drive with a cancelled, revoked, or suspended license is to break CA VC 14601. This means you could be subject to imprisonment in a county jail for at least five days, with a maximum of six months. Incurred fines will range from $300 to $1000. Probation and vehicle impoundment are on the table as well. You could be put on informal probation for a maximum of three years, and your car could be impounded for a maximum of 30 days. Be aware that there are high fees associated with towing and impoundment. Over the course of 30 days, these could add up to over $1000. Common examples of breaking CA VC 14601, include drivers with DUI-related license suspensions. This particular offense brings with it a minimum jail sentence of 10 days for the first offense, 30 days for the second, and an ignition interlock device installed on the violator’s car.
There is a chance you may not even need a license; hence the above regulations would not apply to you. According to CA VC 12501, the following individuals are not required to obtain and hold a valid California driver’s license:
If you do not fit any of these criteria, it is imperative that you hold a valid California license while driving—if you are looking for motivation, look no further than the steep fines that come with these types of infractions.
If you receive a California ticket revolving around not carrying a valid license, contact us at Get Dismissed for assistance. We also specialize in fighting tickets for speeding, red lights, red light cameras, cell phones, signs (primarily stop signs), carpool violations, out of lane violations, commercial violations, and more.
GetDismissed produces results in fighting all kinds of tickets. Unfortunately, this list does not include exhibition of speed citations. Your best bet in fighting one of these infractions, is to contact an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to try and reduce fines, or even to reduce the charges to a lesser infraction which could possibly qualify for traffic school.
We do however, contest infractions revolving around speeding, red lights, red light cameras, cell phones, signs (primarily stop signs), carpool violations, U-turns, out of lane violations, and commercial violations. If you receive a citation and have questions, contact us today.