Driving without a valid license is an offense for drivers under the penal code 12500 in the state of California. A driver can receive a charge if he or she gets behind the wheel and drives in California without ever having applied for a driver’s license in any state.
The person can receive the same charge if he or she operates a vehicle during a period in which his or her California driver’s license is suspended.
Furthermore, a driver cannot operate a motorcycle or any other kind of vehicle if that person does not have the appropriate endorsements for those vehicles. A driver can have serious consequences if a police officer catches that person committing any of the above-stated violations.
Non-Resident Driving vs. Resident Driving
A driver may come from another state or country and operate a vehicle on California streets without receiving a ticket. The person will not have any problems as long as the license from his or her state or country remains valid.
- If the license becomes invalid for some reason, the person will have to secure a California driver’s license.
- A person must also apply for a California driver’s license if he or she becomes a resident of South Carolina.
- The person can receive a charge of driving without a license if he or she operates a vehicle without completing the process of getting the California credentials.
A driver can apply for a California license by visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles with identifying information and out-of-state license and an application form.
Misdemeanor vs. Infraction
The issuance of a ticket for driving without a driver’s license can result in a misdemeanor crime or a simple infraction. Many differences exist between infractions and misdemeanors.
- An infraction is just like a regular traffic ticket. It does not harm the driver’s criminal record and will only result in a fine of about $250.
- A misdemeanor offense is a criminal offense that can result in jail time and a large fine. The driver can end up spending up to six months behind bars.
- The driver may also have to pay a fine of up to $1,000 for the offense.
- The person may end up getting hit with both consequences, as well. The misdemeanor will also stay on the person’s record and can prevent that person from getting a new job or an approval for an apartment or rental home.
The drivers however, always have the option to consult a qualified traffic ticket attorney to resolve the situation with minimum or no fine.
How an Attorney Can Help
A local attorney can assist a driver in a number of ways.
- One thing that an attorney can do is force the accusing party to show concrete proof of the violation. Police officers must have documentation or witnesses to prove the basis of any charge.
- The next thing an attorney can do is try to lessen the charge for the offender by negotiating with the prosecutor or the judge. An attorney can persuade the prosecutor or the judge to downgrade a misdemeanor offense to a simple infraction.
- Another way that an attorney can help a person who has an unlawful driving violation is by bargaining to reduce the sentence if for some reason the judge does not agree to downgrade the violation of which that person is convicted.
The attorney can bargain for a shorter jail term or a lower fine. It is therefore a good idea to contact an experienced attorney and schedule a consultation to discuss how he or she can help with the case.
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