It is against the law to drive without a license in California. What happens if you get caught driving without your license? You could face criminal charges under Vehicle Code (VC) 12500. Learn more about a VC 12500 violation in this post. A conviction could result in fines and even jail time.
Learn More About VC 12500 Charges
The court system in California uses VC 12500 charges to prosecute drivers who operate a vehicle without a license. This criminal charge functions as a “wobbler.” This means that you may face infraction or misdemeanor charges.
Infractions are treated as relatively minor charges in California. Generally, drivers charged with an infraction only face fines. You may face fines of around $250 for an infraction if you drive without your license.
You can also face misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanor accusations are more serious. Drivers often face misdemeanor charges for a second offense. Drivers convicted of a misdemeanor may face:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to six months
You can get help handling these charges by contacting a lawyer for a consultation. Start discussing your legal options now by calling (310) 862-0199.
Getting Caught Driving without a License in California
Police officers often immediately ask to see your driver’s license after they stop you. You are also required to provide your proof of insurance and registration in many cases. You are legally obligated to have a valid driver’s license in order to operate a vehicle. Drivers may face charges for VC 12500 if they:
- Did not obtain a driver’s license at any point
- Used to have a driver’s license but didn’t get it renewed
- Moved to California from another state and did not get a new license
A law enforcement officer may issue a ticket if you cannot provide your license at a traffic stop. You may also face additional criminal charges. However, it’s important that you understand that police officers should not stop you just to check your license. This means they may stop you because you were speeding, driving recklessly, or committing another traffic offense.
A lawyer in California can help you with any traffic charges you are facing. Discuss all charges you are facing with your lawyer as soon as possible.
Your Options if You Have a Driver’s License in California
Some drivers are accused of driving without a license because they do not have their license with them. You may mitigate the severity of this charge if you actually have a driver’s license and just forgot it. Inform a lawyer if you are licensed to drive.
Note that you may avoid these charges if you are licensed to legally drive in another state. However, it may prove difficult to show that you are a licensed driver in this situation. Your lawyer may need to acquire DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) records from your state.
Showing that you are appropriately licensed may help you resolve VC 12500 charges in California.
Consider Getting Your License After a VC 12500 Arrest
You have options if you were not licensed to operate a vehicle at the time of your arrest. A lawyer may work to get your case postponed in this situation. In some cases, the court may place your case on hold to allow you to acquire a driver’s license. Note that this is more likely for a first offense.
Once you have your license, the court might reassess your case. If you were charged with a misdemeanor, the court may drop your charge to an infraction. The court may also dismiss your charges completely. This could allow you to avoid jail time or fines in California.
You can also avoid VC 12500 charges if you were not driving at the time of your arrest. You are allowed to sit in a car without a driver’s license. You are just not allowed to drive. Additionally, you do not need a license to drive all vehicles in California. Speak with a lawyer about your case. A lawyer may help you review your options to build a defense.
Find Out What Happens if You Get Caught without a License in California
You may face criminal charges for driving without a license in California. However, a lawyer can help you handle these accusations. You can get help on your side now. Just call (310) 862-0199 or complete our online contact form.
Discuss VC 12500 charges with a free consultation. Take steps to avoid fines and jail time with legal help. We’re standing by to discuss your case today.