Driving without a license
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What are the Penalties for Driving Without a License Compared to Driving While Restrained

As per Vehicle Code 12500(a), driving without a valid driver’s license is a crime in California. If you get caught operating a vehicle, you could face severe consequences. The following violations may result in a criminal charge:

  • You have never obtained a driver’s license and are driving.
  • You have failed to renew your driver’s license and are driving. 
  • You have become a California resident and failed to get a new driver’s license within ten days.

The offense of driving without your license is classified as a wobbler, which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or an infraction, depending on the details of the case and your defense. Should you ever get yourself into a predicament like this one, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced lawyer who will help you build your case. 

What Penalties Do You Face for Driving Without a License? 

Should this be your first time driving without your valid license, then it’s likely that you will get charged with only an infraction. Subsequent offenses, however, are more likely to be charged as misdemeanors. If you get an infraction, the only consequence you will face is a fine of a maximum of $250. 

Yet, if the charge as a misdemeanor for driving without a license, then the possible maximum punishment may be: 

  • Informal misdemeanor probation of up to three years.
  • Up to six months in jail.
  • A fine up to $1000.
  • If you have previous convictions under Vehicle Code 12500 or other driving offenses, you can get a 30-day impound of your vehicle. 

The primary factor that will likely determine whether you get a misdemeanor or infraction charge is your previous driver history. If you’ve never committed any serious offenses before, you will likely get out of the situation with only an infraction.

They’re more likely to get charged as misdemeanors when it comes to subsequent offenses, especially if it’s the third or fourth time not abiding by the law. However, more experienced lawyers who have dealt with such cases before can usually persuade the prosecutor to reduce the charge to an infraction. 

What Penalties Do You Face for Driving Without a Valid License? 

Driving without a license and driving without a valid one are two totally different offenses. Driving without a valid license is illegal under Vehicle Code 14601 VC. It’s defined as a misdemeanor offense, so the penalties will depend on why your license was revoked or suspended in the first place and your driving history. Typically, potential penalties include: 

  • A fine ranging from $300 to $1000 for first-time offenders and more than $2000 for multiple-time offenders.
  • A jail sentence can last between five days and six months for first-time offenders and more than one year for multiple offenders. 

As you can see, driving without a valid license is a much more serious crime, so the consequences one may face for violating are greater. That’s why in such cases, having an attorney is a necessity; otherwise, you might face even more severe penalties. 

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law group patiently await your call.

H Law Group Online

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