In California, driving without a license is illegal. So what happens when you are caught operating a vehicle without a license? Well, you could face criminal charges that lead to fines or even time in jail.
If you have been caught driving without a driver’s license, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel in battling your charges. With an attorney on your side, it is possible to mitigate the consequences of driving without a license.
What Is Vehicle Code §12500?
Vehicle code 12500 is used by the California court system to charge and prosecute drivers who drive their vehicles without proper licensure. When charged with a crime based on this code, you can face an infraction or in other cases, misdemeanor charges. The infractions are only minor charges, while misdemeanor charges are more serious.
What Are the Penalties for VC §12500 Infractions?
In California, infractions are typically treated as minor charges. If you get an infraction, the primary consequence is usually just a small fine. These fines amount to approximately $250 for most drivers.
What Are the Penalties for VC §12500 Misdemeanors?
Some unlicensed drivers are charged with a misdemeanor rather than a minor infraction. Misdemeanor accusations tend to be more serious and often lead to greater consequences than infractions. When you get a misdemeanor charge, it is likely because this is your second offense of driving without a license.
These are the most common misdemeanor penalties for people convicted of driving without a license:
- Fines of $1,000 maximum
- A maximum of six months of jail time
What Should You Do if Caught Driving Unlicensed?
If a police officer stops you, they will ask for your driver’s license under most circumstances. You will also be required to provide some proof of insurance and proof of vehicle registration. If you do not have your license or your license has expired, you will have a problem.
In California, drivers are required to have valid driving privileges through licensure to legally operate a vehicle. If you do not, then you may be subject to VC 12500 charges. Some scenarios that may lead to a charge include:
- You have not obtained a driver’s license
- You had a driver’s license and did not have it renewed on time
- You relocated to California from elsewhere but did not get your license replaced
A ticket or charge may be issued if you are unable to provide proof of your driver’s license during a legal stop. Though, it is important to note police officers are not allowed to stop you only because they suspect you may not have a license. Usually, your lack of proper licensure is discovered through stops made for other reasons, such as speeding, reckless driving, or a different traffic violation.
What if Your License Isn’t with You?
You can be charged with driving without a license when you don’t have your license with you. How severe this situation is depends on whether you actually have a license and forgot to keep it on your person or in your vehicle. Things get even more complicated if you are licensed to drive in other states but did not have your license with you.
If you do have a license and received charges for driving without a license, speak to a lawyer immediately. They can help you sort things out by acquiring DMV records from the state you are licensed to drive in. This can help you mitigate your VC 12500 charges.
Can You Get a License After Your VC §12500 Charge?
If you are arrested for not having a valid driver’s license while operating a vehicle, you may have the opportunity to have your case put on hold while you acquire a proper license. This outcome is more attainable likely for people who are on their first VC §12500 offense, though some second-time offenders are granted this grace period under certain circumstances.
Once a proper license is obtained, the court has the option to reassess your case. For example, people with misdemeanor VC §12500 charges could have the charges dropped down to a minor infraction. In some cases, the charges could be completely dismissed. If it is, you won’t need to serve jail time or pay fines related to the charges.
If your goal is to have VC §12500 charges dropped entirely, it makes sense to hire an attorney to help guide you through the legal process. With legal counsel, your chances of avoiding a conviction are much greater.
What if Someone Else Was Driving?
If you were not driving at the time of your arrest, you should be able to avoid charges completely. It is not illegal to sit in a car while you do not have a driver’s license. Rather, you are not legally supposed to drive the vehicle.
If this is the situation you have found yourself in, you need to speak to a lawyer about your case. Through the case assessment process, your attorney can help you review your options for building an effective legal defense.
Avoid Criminal Charges for VC §12500 Arrests
Being caught driving without a license can quickly lead to criminal charges being filed. To avoid this, have a lawyer help you combat the accusations. This can prevent a conviction, allowing you to avoid jail time and any associated fines.
To discuss VC §12500 charges during a free consultation, just call or complete the online contact form. Los Angeles DUI Attorney will stand by your side as you work to fight these troublesome charges.