How much does a ticket cost for not having a driver's license in California?
If you live in California and drive often (and, of course, since the state is known for its Pharaonic highways!), Have you ever wondered How much does an unlicensed ticket cost in California?
As you may already know, having a valid driving license is a basic requirement to be able to legally drive in the state, otherwise you could be committing a crime.
In fact, the California Vehicle Code Section 12500which establishes the obligation of everyone to abide by this rule, he says a person must have a type of driver's license that allows them to legally use a motor vehicle in the state, such as a car or motorcycle.
Going against this rule is a traffic violation which could lead to severe penalties and penaltiesespecially if you commit an infringement or cause a traffic accident.
Now, if you have a California driver's license, but don't have it with you, and are stopped on the street by a police officer for whatever reason, you will most likely have to pay a fine.
Well, in this article we will explain all the details on how much an unlicensed ticket costs in Californiasome aspects of why it's extremely important to have your California driver's license with you at all times, among other things.
How much does an unlicensed ticket cost in California?
In general, driving a vehicle without a valid California driver's license can involve several things: that you never had a California license, that you have one but it has expired, or that you have moved into the state and have not yet received your license. changed the address on the driving license.
The price of fines in California depends on many factors, such as the nature of the violation itself. And in the specific case of the ticket price for not having a driver's license, you can end up paying fines of up to $ 250. However, in some cases, this situation can be considered a felony with a maximum fine of $ 1,000, probation and vehicle seizure.
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Certain traffic violations, such as drunk driving, may result in the suspension of your California driver's license by the Department of Motor Vehicles. What exactly does this mean? Well, you won't be able to use your car (although there are exceptions, such as going to work or an educational institution) until the suspension ends.
Likewise, it's also possible to revoke your driver's license in California, which means you won't be able to drive permanently. In this way, driving on a California driver's license that has been suspended, revoked or canceled is considered a criminal offense. According to California Vehicle Code Section 14601this crime can result in imprisonment from five days to six months, as well as fines of $ 300 to $ 1,000.
Now, if you have a valid license but just forgot it at home, you may not have to pay a fine. This situation is not considered a crime, but it can lead to a "repair ticket", in which you will have to prove that you have a valid license or you will have to pay.
However, it is possible to contest a driving ticket without a license, for which you will have to prove that you have a valid driving license in your name. This is not an easy task, so you will need the help of a lawyer who specializes in the area.
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Exceptions to the rule
In some cases, Is it possible to drive without a license in California?. The sections 12501 and 12502 of the Vehicle Code list these exceptions to the rule. To start, Federal government employees who operate government-owned vehicles do not need licenses, nor do those who operate "farm implements" that move on highways.
Drivers of off-road vehicles (such as ATVs) also do not need a driving license. Also, you can drive without a California driver's license if you are a "non-resident" and have a license from another state. People who drive special vehicles, such as commercial trucks, must have specific driving licenses to do so.
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What if I have a valid license but I don't have it with me?
Now, let's talk in depth about what happens if you have a valid California driver's license but don't have it with you. Even by mistake, it is illegal to drive without proof of a valid license. It is also one of the most common driving violations, and the consequences are generally less severe than in other cases.
If you had a valid California driver's license but simply refused to show it to state agents, you will likely be sued under Section 12951 (b) of the California Vehicle Code. That section states that you can be charged with a misdemeanor, spend up to six months in jail, or pay fines of up to $ 1,000 or both.
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However, it is important to note that The California Vehicle Code punishes anyone who drives a vehicle without a valid license, but not for driving without a license in their possession at the time of the violation.. This means that if you have a valid driver's license, but don't have it with you the moment you are stopped by a police officer, it's considered a completely different offense.
The most common example of this scenario is when someone leaves their wallet at home and doesn't notice until they are stopped by the police.
In this sense, driving without a valid license is listed in Section 12951 (a) of the California Vehicle Code and the violation will be rejected if you are able to prove that you have a valid license in your name at the time you were stopped. . Penalties for this type of violation only include a fine of up to $ 250 and are denied if you prove you have a license in your name. However, the allegations cannot be dismissed if the violation occurs three or more times.
What if I drive with a suspended or revoked license?
According to California Vehicle Code Section 14601, it is a crime to drive a vehicle when you are aware that your driving license has been suspended or revoked. Driving with a suspended or revoked license is punishable under Sections 14601-14611 of the Vehicle Code, which involves a criminal charge.
In the state of California, driving with a suspended or revoked license is a completely different offense than driving without a valid license. The penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license are more severe than the penalties for driving without a license, depending on why the license was initially suspended or revoked.. The most common examples of penalties for driving with a suspended license include:
- First offense. A probation sentence of up to three years, a five-day to six-month prison sentence in the county jail, and a $ 300 to $ 1,000 fine; or
- Second offense. A probation sentence of up to three years, a ten-day to one-year prison sentence in the county jail, and an unlicensed ticket fee of $ 500 to $ 2,000.
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As mentioned, the penalties we've mentioned will vary depending on why your license was initially revoked or suspended. An example would be if your California driver's license was suspended due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, the penalties will be more severe than if your license had been suspended or revoked for reasons such as refusing to take an exam or even reckless driving.
Driving with an expired license will be seen as an intentional violation of the law, since, after all, you are driving a vehicle with the full knowledge that you shouldn't be. Therefore, driving with an expired license will likely be penalized similarly to driving without a valid license.
How much does a ticket cost for not having a driver's license in California: Conclusions
To avoid the headache of trying to figure out how much a California license free ticket costs, as well as any other issues with your California driver's license law, it's best to always make sure before you drive that you take all your paperwork with you, since as we have seen, depending on your specific situation, you can end up not only paying a fine of up to a thousand dollars, but also going to jail.
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