California Vehicle Code (VC) 12500(a) – Unlawful to Drive Unless Licensed
Reasons that you can be charged with a VC 12500(a) offense:
- Living in California with an out-of-state driver’s license
- Living in California with an international driver’s license
- Never had a valid driver’s license
- California driver’s license has expired or it was never renewed
For any of these scenarios, the police and the prosecutor can charge you as an unlicensed driver.
If you have a fixed and permanent home and principal residence in California, you are considered a legal resident in the state of California. Therefore, you are required to have a valid California driver’s license to lawfully drive in this state.
The Use of Your Out-of-State License
It is common for people to move to California but continue driving on an out-of-state license. By doing so, you risk being charged with a VC 12500(a) offense if pulled over by a police officer who requests to see your driver’s license.
If you moved from out of state to live in California and you are now considered a California resident, you are prohibited from using an out-of-state driver’s license. In this case, you must obtain a valid California driver’s license.
For a VC 12500(a) offense, you can be issued a ticket if you have never had a driver’s license, live in California but are driving on an international driver’s license, or your California’s driver’s license has expired or you have not had it renewed.
Consequences of a VC 12500(a)
By driving on a suspended driver’s license or driving without having a valid California license, according to Vehicle Code (VC) 12500(a), you are at risk for having your vehicle impounded in certain situations. For that reason, it is important that you always operate a motor vehicle with a valid California driver’s license when living in the state.
Based on Vehicle Code (VC) 12500(a), you can be charged with a misdemeanor if you fail to appear in court or miss the court date listed on the issued ticket.
A violation of VC 14601.1, driving on a suspended license, can result in the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) adding two points to your license record. In comparison, a violation of VC 12500(a) does not add points to your record.
What to Do When Charged with VC 12500(a)
For a VC 12500(a) Offense, We Can Help
For more information, visit https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/vctop/vc/d6/c1/a1/12500.