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Los Angeles Driving Without a License

The state of California requires that all of its drivers–including those that move to California permanently from another state–to have a valid driver’s license. Anyone found operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license can be prosecuted on criminal charges under California Vehicle Code Section 12500 VC.

A driver’s license does not necessarily have to be issued by the California Department of Vehicles in order to be valid. It must, however, meet the following criteria:

  • A valid driver’s license from the state in which you live
  • It must be specific for the type of vehicle you are driving (car, motorcycle, commercial truck, etc.)

It is lawful for the police to charge you with Vehicle Code 12500 vc if you are caught driving in any of the following situations:

  • You have never attained a driver’s license
  • You failed to have your driver’s license renewed after it expired
  • You failed to obtain a California driver’s lilcense after moving to the state permanently
  • OR you are not eligible for a California driver’s license, as in illegal immigrants

If you are given a citation by the police for driving without a valid driver’s license, either you or the attorney you choose to hire for your defense are required to appear in court on your scheduled court date. If both you and your attorney fail to appear, the judge will issue a bench warrant for you arrest.

Driving without a valid license is a relatively minor offense, however it is still considered a misdemeanor, and if you are convicted, will appear on your criminal record. If you have been charged with driving without a license, you should contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately to learn what legal options are available and may help your case.

In order for a prosecutor to find you guilty of driving without a license under California Vehicle Code 12500 VC, he must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant drove a motor vehicle (includes any passenger vehicle, bus, school bus, motorcycle, motor scooter, truck, trailer, or commercial vehicle) on a highway (i.e., any area that is publicly maintained and open to the public for the use of travel by way of motor vehicle, including streets)
  • WHEN the defendant drove, he or she did not hold a valid California driver’s license
  • AND that the defendant was not excused from the requirement to have a valid California driver’s license

Penalties for Driving Without a License in Los Angeles

This “wobbler” offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a non-violent infraction, depending largely on the defendant’s driving history. If the violation is the defendant’s first offense, the prosecutor will likely charge him or her with an infraction, and the maximum penalty is a $250 court fine. If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is six months in jail and court fines of $1,000. If the defendant works to show proof of his or her responsibility by obtaining a valid California driver’s license while the charges are still pending, oftentimes, prosecutors will reduce a misdemeanor charge to an infraction, and sometimes, even dismiss the case altogether.

Our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Firm Will Build a Defense For You!

If you have been charged with driving without a valid license under California Vehicle Code Section 12500 VC and wish to find a reputable and experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you in court, you are urged to contact our firm today to set up your free consultation. Our top-notch team of professional lawyers is well respected in the LA area, and that is because we have years of combined experience handling and resolving cases involving driver’s license violations. We make it our mission to deliver to our clients the very best outcome possible, every time.

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