Driving without a License: CA Vehicle Code 12500

If you are a resident of California or have established yourself in the state, you need a driving license to drive a motor vehicle on the street or a highway. The California’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) has CA Vehicle Code 12500 in place to charge the persons driving without possessing a valid driving license.

Driving without a driving license is not a just a traffic infringement in California, it is a criminal offense. An offense of driving without license can be charged as

  • An infraction or
  • A misdemeanor

The charges of driving without a license can cost you a fine of up to $1000, probation and can also lead to jail time. Because of the seriousness of the issue, it is better to consult an experienced and qualified defense attorney to prepare your case. As Defense attorneys in California for past 35 years, we have an in-depth knowledge of California’s criminal and traffic laws. We have defended hundreds of driving without license cases in local courts and understand the due procedures. We aim to reduce the charges if not completely dismiss them.

What is Valid License in California?

  • A valid license is the licensed issues for the type of the vehicle the driver is driving.
  • A Valid license can also be issued from the motor authority of another state in which you reside and are only in California for a short time.

When Does the Charges of Driving Without License Apply?

The charges of driving without license apply when you fail to provide valid driving license at the time you are stopped by traffic police. You should be driving on the street or highway without holding a valid driving license for the prosecutor to press charges against you.

The situations leading to the CA Vehicle Code 12500 include,

  • You never obtained a driving license from the DMV.
  • You did not renew the driving license after it expired. An expired license is also invalid.
  • You moved to California from another state, established yourself as a resident, but you did not obtain the state’s driving license. It means that even if you have a valid driving license from another state, but you have registered yourself as a voter in California now, but did not get California’s driving license.

Penalties for Driving Without License

There are different penalties for the driving without license in California,

Infraction: An infraction is penalized with up to $250 fine.

Misdemeanor: The penalty for a misdemeanor is up to $1000 time (also court fees), a probation period of up to 3 years, and up to 6 months’ jail time. In the case of a prior conviction of Vehicle Code 12500 or other specific driving codes, your car can be impounded for up-to 30 days.

Along with these psychological, physical and financial costs, it also becomes a part of your criminal record, putting your reputation at risk.

Available Defense in Vehicle Code 12500

In VC 12500 charges, the burden of proof lies on the defender. The defender has to proof that the charges are void by showing the original, valid license to the authority.

  • You can show the valid driving license to prove that you did not infringe the codes.
  • You can prove that you have recently moved to California and have not established yourself yet. You should provide the valid driving license of another state in this case.
  • Finally, if you do not have a valid license, your defense attorney can request to delay the case until you get a valid license.

If you are able to show the driving license at the time of hearing, there is high probability that the misdemeanor charges be reduced to infraction.

Let Us Help You

If you or anyone in your circle is charged with driving without the license, things can be tricky. Even though it is charged as an infraction most of the times, but the sentence can be hard in case of the misdemeanor. Our defense attorney has local offices in all major cities with extensive court experience. We prepare a strong case in your defense and try to postpone the hearing if you do not have a driving license to make sure that you have to face minimum consequences if any.



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