Los Angeles Driving Without a License Attorney

Los Angeles Driving Without a License Attorney

Have you been cited or charged with driving without a license in Los Angeles, CA? Depending on the circumstances, you may face anything from an infraction and a fine or a misdemeanor and jail time. The penalties can even extend to years of probation and higher insurance premiums.

The Rodriguez Law Group has represented clients facing driver’s license charges for more than 20 years. Call our law office at (213) 995-6767 today to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles driving without a license attorney for the help you need.

How The Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if You’re Charged with Driving Without a License in Los Angeles

Driving without a license is a serious traffic violation in California. You do not have to simply accept a citation or face the consequences of an arrest alone. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you preserve your driving record and avoid the harsh penalties of a driving without a license charge.

The Rodriguez Law Group has represented drivers against license charges in Los Angeles, California, for more than two decades. Our founding attorney, Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, uses the insight he gained as a Senior Deputy District Attorney to build the strongest defense for your case. He has worked on both sides of the system and fights to protect your legal rights.

When you choose The Rodriguez Law Group to represent you, you can count on us to:

  • Protect your legal rights at every stage
  • Provide the legal advice and guidance you need
  • Seek a dismissal or reduction of your charge
  • Help you postpone your case to give you time to obtain a valid driver’s license
  • Seek the most satisfactory outcome possible in your case 

Before simply paying a ticket or accepting the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction, call The Rodriguez Law Group for the help you deserve. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who will fight for you.

Overview of Driving Without a License in California

The State of California requires that all California drivers hold a valid driver’s license to drive a motor vehicle on any roadway in the state. This includes people who have permanently moved to California from another state and do not get a California driver’s license.

You may face several potential charges for driving without a valid license, depending on the circumstances. The charge will depend on whether you have a valid license not physically present and whether your license was suspended, revoked, or expired.

California VC 12500: Driving Without a License

Under California Vehicle Code Section 12500, it is a crime to drive a vehicle on any California “highway” without a valid license. “Highway” is defined as any place publicly maintained and available for public use for the purpose of traveling in a vehicle. This generally includes all public roads and highways in the state.

To be valid, a driver’s license must:

  • Not be expired,
  • Be issued in your home state where you maintain primary residency, and
  • Issued for the type of vehicle you drive. 

There are many situations in which you can be charged for driving without a license.

After moving to California, you are required to obtain a permanent California driver’s license within 10 days. After this point, continuing to drive with a license from another state is considered driving without a license.

You may also be charged with driving without a license if your license is expired. This is one of the most common scenarios and usually a simple oversight.

12500 VC can also be charged against someone who is operating a motor vehicle but has never been issued a driver’s license.

Finally, you are required to have a valid license for the type of motor vehicle you are driving. This means a motorcycle license or endorsement if you are driving a motorcycle or a CDL if you are driving a commercial vehicle or large truck.

Driving without a license can be an infraction or a misdemeanor.

California VC 14601: Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

Driving on a revoked or suspended license is a separate offense from driving without a license. Law enforcement may charge you with this offense if you are found to be driving a motor vehicle after your driving privileges are formally revoked by the DMV.

A driver’s license in California can be suspended or revoked for several reasons:

  • Arrested and/or convicted for driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Getting into an accident without minimum car insurance
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test for drugs or alcohol after a DUI arrest
  • Being under the age of 21 with alcohol in the vehicle
  • Accumulating too many points on your driving record
  • Failure to pay a traffic fine or failure to appear (FTA)
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Mental or physical condition that impairs your ability to drive. 

Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a misdemeanor offense.

California VC 12951: Driving Without a Physical License

You can be charged under 12951 VC for failing to present your driver’s license to law enforcement or failing to have your driver’s license physically present while driving.

Driving without your license in your possession is an infraction. Refusing to present it to an officer enforcing the Vehicle Code is a misdemeanor.

What Are the Penalties for Driving Without a License in Los Angeles, CA?

The penalties for driving without a license in Los Angeles depend on the charge and circumstances.

Driving without a license is a wobbler that may be an infraction or a misdemeanor, depending on your driving history and the circumstances. As a non-criminal infraction, you face a fine of up to $250. As a misdemeanor, driving without a license can be punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail. If you are a repeat offender, your vehicle may be impounded for up to 30 days.

Driving on a suspended or revoked license is more serious. The penalty for this misdemeanor offense depends on why your license was suspended. 

You may face:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Summary or informal probation
  • Fines
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device 

Driving without a physical license is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $250. If you refused to display a license to law enforcement, you may face up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or summary probation.

What Defenses Are Available if You’re Charged with Driving Without a License?

Depending on the circumstances, you may have many defenses when charged with driving without a license. 

Your criminal defense lawyer may recommend the following defenses:

  • Your license was valid when you were stopped
  • Your license was valid but issued in another state
  • You were not required to have a California-issued license when you were stopped
  • Lack of required knowledge if your license was suspended
  • Law enforcement was not enforcing California Vehicle Code (for 12951 VC)
  • You were in the vehicle but not operating it
  • Necessity or Emergency

There may also be options to have your charge dismissed or reduced to an infraction. For instance, obtaining a license while your charge is still pending can be enough to convince a prosecutor to drop the charge.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Los Angeles Driving Without a License Attorney

Driving without a license may only be an infraction or misdemeanor, but you can still face jail time, points on your license, higher insurance costs, and a mark on your driving record. Contact The Rodriguez Law Group today for a free consultation with a Los Angeles driving without a license attorney to discuss what we can do to help you.

Last Updated on June 3, 2021