Everyone knows you’re required to have a license to drive an automobile, but what happens if you’re caught driving without one? The answer to that depends on the particular circumstances.
It’s not uncommon for someone to have left their driver’s license at home. How often do you leave the house in a rush and forget to grab your wallet? If this is the case and you get pulled over by the police while driving you’ll be found violating California Vehicle Code 12951, failure to display a license. This is a pretty minor infraction and at most you’ll be issued a $250 fine. In most cases, if you can show that you had a valid license at the time and simply didn’t have it on you for one reason or another, the judge will dismiss the charge.
Being caught driving without a valid license, however, is a more serious crime. If you let a license expire and failed to renew it or you never had one to begin with, you’ll be charged with driving without a license (California Vehicle Code 12500). That’s a misdemeanor charge that can net you up to a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail (although usually people do not go to jail for this kind of offense).
That’s not the worst penalty for driving in San Diego without a license, though.
If you don’t have a license because it was suspended or revoked, you could be found in violation of California Vehicle Code 14601, driving on a suspended license. This is also a misdemeanor, but the penalty depends on the reason your license was revoked in the first place. Penalties range from five days to a year in county jail, $300 to $2000 in fines and probation for up to three years. On top of that, if you lost your license because of a DUI conviction, you will be violating your DUI probation.
As you can see, driving without a license in San Diego can have serious consequences. If you’re caught without your license, particularly if you never had a license, it’s expired or it had been suspended or revoked, call the Seneca Law Group at (619) 630-8529 or email us today for a consultation.