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a California driver is required to carry a valid driver’s license at all times and provide it for a police officer upon request. California Vehicle Code Section 12951 states that failure to present a valid driver’s license is against the law and is punishable by a maximum court fine of $250, as well as possible additional fees.
If a driver can prove that he/she had a valid driver’s license when stopped, but did not have the license in the vehicle, the charges can be dismissed by a judge. If a driver is stopped three times and found not to be in physical possession of a valid driver’s license, a judge has discretion not to dismiss the charges due to multiple offenses.
Proof of guilt for not possessing a state issued driver’s license
1. The individual was operating a motor vehicle when stopped.
2. A police officer was enforcing vehicular law and asked that the individual present a driver’s license for examination.
3. The person did not display a valid driver’s license upon the officer’s request.
There are important details to be aware of if you have been charged with failure to provide a driver’s license at law enforcement’s request.
Examples for consideration
A woman makes a quick trip to the store and forgets her wallet. She is pulled over for an improper turn. She explains to the officer that she forgot her wallet, and the police officer verifies this. Even so, the woman could still be cited in violation of VC12951. A judge may later dismiss the charges when the woman presents her driver’s license.
If the police officer stopped the woman without her making a traffic error, the woman can challenge the legality of the proceedings and will gain the possibility of complete suppression of all evidence. In this case, the court would need to dismiss the case.
Bob is 17, and he is driving under the influence of alcohol. When a police officer stops him for a traffic violation, he is afraid he will receive a DUI. He refuses to show the officer his valid driver’s license.
At this point, Bob’s offense becomes a misdemeanor with fines up to $1000 and/or six months in jail.
A man is apprehended walking where a crime recently took place. Law enforcement demands his driver’s license, but the man has left it at home. In this case, the man cannot be guilty of refusing to present a valid driver’s license, because he is walking, not driving a motor vehicle.
There are important features to be examined when a person is charged with failure to present a driver’s license upon demand of a peace officer. There is no reason to be without adequate representation in a court of law for this charge.
Please call a Los Angeles criminal attorney to receive counsel about your case involving VC12951. It is important to have skilled representation in a court of law while presenting your defense of driving without a valid driver’s license in your vehicle.