As the calendar moves into May, more people are thinking about relocating. Under
VC 12505, once you establish residency in The Golden State, you must obtain a California
license within 10 days. If you are operating a vehicle for work, the 10-day
grace period doesn't apply. You have to have a California license
before you get behind the wheel.
"Residency" is defined as an address where you are registered
to vote, payment of resident tuition at a public college or university,
filing a homeowner's tax exemption or any other "acts, occurrences,
or events that indicate presence in the state is more than temporary or
Procedurally, if you receive a 12505 citation, most judges will dismiss
the charges if you provide proof of compliance prior to the court date.
However, if you receive a traffic ticket on federal property or at a federal
facility, the procedure is much more rigid.
Bakersfield is a nice town, but even locals will probably admit that it's
not exactly a trendy tourist destination. Moreover, if you are coming
from outside Central California or from out of state, you'll probably
end driving through as well. In most cases, an attorney can appear for
you in federal traffic court, which saves you a headache and some money.
The court personnel are nice people, but the clerks in the federal court
are much more difficult to get a reschedule and traffic is only heard
one day every three months. If you have a personal or professional conflict
and don't have a lawyer, you'll almost certainly have to miss
that important client meeting or your child's school play.
Federal judges are a bit intimidating, even for lawyers. Federal court is much more formal,
and since traffic matters are considered petty misdemeanors that technically
could have jail time attached having an attorney appear for you to be
your advocate is a good approach to save you money and time.