CA Vehicle Code 12500 (a) - Unlawful to Drive Unless Licensed
You can be charged with this offense VC 12500 (a) if:-
- You live in California but you have an out of state license
- You live in California but have an international license
- You have never had a license
- Or your California license is expired and you did not renew it.
In these cases, the police and the prosecutors can charge you with being an unlicensed driver.
If your true fixed and permanent home and principal residence is in California then you are considered a California resident and you must have a valid California Drivers license to lawfully drive in California.
Using your out of state license
Many people move to California and continue to use their out of state license while driving in California. By doing this you risk being charged with VC 12500(a) if pulled over by a police officer who asks to see your drivers license and you provide an out of state license. So if you have moved here from out of state and have become a California resident, you cannot continue to use your out of state license – it is a compulsory requirement that you obtain a California driver’s license within 10 days. If you hold a driver's license from another state, the driving test can be waived. If you have a driver's license from another country, you will be required to take a driving test. See info at: DMV - How to apply for a driver's license
If you have moved here and are a new resident of California, you will need to provide proof of residency. See info at: DMV - Residency documents
You can also receive a ticket for a violation of VC 12500(a) if you have never had a driver’s license, you live here but have an international license or if your California drivers license has expired and you have not renewed it.
Consequences of 12500 a VC
Driving on a suspended license or driving without a valid California license VC 12500(a) can also put you at risk for having your car impounded under certain situations so it is very important that you always drive with a valid California drivers license if you live here.
Vehicle Code VC 12500 (a) can be charged as a misdemeanor so if you fail to appear in court and miss your court date, then a warrant for your arrest can be issued. A violation of VC 14601.1 driving on a suspended license can result in 2 DMV points going on your license record. A violation of VC 12500(a) does not put any DMV points on your license record.
VC 12500 (a) - What to do
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See also: DMV Vehicle Code VC12500(a)