Driving without a license may be charged as a criminal offense in California and if you are convicted, the consequences can be serious.
Fines, fees, and even potential jail time may result. However, there are several valid defenses and, at times, people may be wrongly charged with this offense. Sometimes, people are charged with driving without a license by making an honest mistake, like driving with an out-of-state license for longer than 10 days.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you escape the most serious consequences and prevent a criminal record.
The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian have experience with these types of cases and may ensure that a mistake on the road does not jeopardize your rights and freedoms.
The main provision of CA Vehicle Code Section 12500 (“VC 12500”) is as follows:
“A person may not drive a motor vehicle upon a highway, unless the person then holds a valid driver’s license issued under this code, except those persons who are expressly exempted under this code.”
This law applies to people who drive motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and motorized scooters, and also to those who drive on an off-street parking facility. Additionally, VC 12500 also requires that a driver only drives the class of vehicle that they are licensed for.
Every California driver (and those who permanently move to California from another state) must have a valid California driver’s license or face criminal prosecution.
The offense of driving without a license should not be confused with driving on a suspended/revoked license or failing to present a driver’s license.
VC 12500 is typically charged when someone is pulled over by the police for a separate offense and is found to be driving without a valid driver’s license.
This could be due to:
- The failure to renew a driver’s license.
- The driver never obtained a valid driver’s license.
Failure to get a license within 10 days of becoming a California resident (using an out-of-state license).