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What to Expect If You Get Caught Driving Without a License

undefinedWhat to expect after getting caught driving without a license in California depends on your circumstances. If you have a license and left it home, it could be a “fix-it” or correctable ticket. If you do not have a driver’s license or it has been suspended, your circumstances could be more critical.

When you do not have a driver’s license, it is up to the judge whether to charge you with an infraction, which typically entails a fine and a negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) point. However, the judge could charge you with a misdemeanor, which could mean jail time, particularly when your license was suspended or revoked.

If convicted for a misdemeanor driving without a license, you could spend up to six months in the Kern County Jail and pay a $1,000 fine, or both.

Should You Hire an Attorney for Driving Without a License

Driving without a license is typically known as a “wobbler” offense. This is not the time to “roll the dice” and represent yourself or “throw yourself on the mercy of the court.” Maybe if you have a first-time cellphone ticket and you really want to know what it feels like to represent yourself, you can try it then. Even if you lose, it is only about $150, with no NOTS points or jail time.

However, when you face six-months of jail time if convicted, you should always consult a traffic attorney with criminal trial experience, such as Bigger & Harman, APC. Bigger & Harman are licensed to practice law across California but are most widely known in Central Valley, including the Bakersfield Court. Even attorneys who typically handle other areas of law, hire traffic attorneys to defend them in traffic court.

Speaking of Bakersfield Traffic Court, this is a difficult court with many traffic violators coming in from I-5 and SR-99. Therefore, it is a busy court for traffic violators.

Out-of-State or Another County Licenses

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 12500, Issuance of Licenses, Expiration, and Renewal, states, “A person may not drive a motor vehicle upon a highway, unless the person then holds a valid driver’s license…” This includes a motorcycle. If you do not have a license or motorcycle endorsement you may not legally drive a motorcycle.

However, you can drive with your home state or country’s driver license in California until you become a resident. When you do any of the following, you have ten days to get a CA driver’s license, or risk being ticketed for driving without a license:

  1. Vote as an in-state resident
  2. Register as an in-state student
  3. Accept benefits normally provided to a CA state resident
  4. Pay property tax or request a homeowner’s tax exemption

If you are ticketed, and one of the above applies, you should get a driver’s license before your court date. However, depending on your circumstance, follow the advice of your traffic attorney.

Traffic Attorneys Who Can Help with Driving Without a License in Fresno and Fresno County

When you have a charge of driving without a license, an expired license, or driving on a suspended license, it is time to call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Consider what Johnny, a commercial driver from Kern County, had to say about Bigger & Harman, APC, “I have a Class A driver’s record. I need a clean driving record for my job. Over the last four years Traffic Lawyer Mark Bigger defended me on five tickets and kept me from getting a point on all of them. I trust Mark to do a great job defending my driving record. I recommend him to my friends and co-workers whenever they get a ticket. He knows traffic law and cares about providing good results.”

Although we cannot promise you the same results, we can and do promise to do our best to get you the best possible outcome, regardless of your driving class.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC 12500, Issuance of Licenses, Expiration, and Renewal