If you are involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, you may be frustrated and confused about your rights. However, the situation can become even more confusing if you are involved in an accident where the at-fault driver doesn’t have a license. How is your claim affected if the person who hit you is not supposed to be on the road?
Driving without a license is a crime in California. However, there is a difference between not having a license at all and not carrying one with you. While the driver can still be ticketed for either offense, the former is much more serious.
So, what is the difference between driving without a license versus driving without a license on your person? This blog post will explain.
Is It Illegal To Drive Without a License in California?
You might be wondering, “Is it illegal to drive without a license on you?” In most cases, the answer is yes. California law prohibits driving any motor vehicle for which a person is not licensed except for a few exceptions outlined by law.
Driving without a physical license can be charged as a misdemeanor criminal offense or a non-criminal infraction. If charged as a misdemeanor, the offense carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If charged as a non-criminal infraction, the maximum fine is $250.
What Is the Difference Between Driving Without a License And Driving Without a License On Your Person?
Driving without a license is different from driving without a license on you. The first means that you do not have a valid license issued to you. For example, you may:
- Have failed to ever obtain a driver’s license
- Failed to renew your driver’s license
- Failed to obtain a driver’s license in California after becoming a resident
In California, driving on a suspended or revoked license is a separate offense from driving without a license; it is charged more heavily, with potential jail time and a fine.
Driving without a license on your person means that you have a driver’s license but did not have it with you at the time.
It is still technically illegal to drive without a license on your person; you are required to have your driver’s license in your immediate possession while driving a motor vehicle on a highway, for instance.
However, you can have the charges dismissed if you present your driver’s license in court and show it was valid at the time of the stop. If the driver had a temporary, interim, or duplicate driver’s license, the driver would need to provide proof from the DMV that this license was issued before the stop and that their driver’s license had not been suspended or revoked.
What if This Is a First Offense?
Driving without a license is typically charged as a non-criminal infraction for a first offense. However, if a person was injured in an accident caused by an unlicensed driver, the court may show less leniency to the driver.
How Much Is a Ticket for Driving Without A License?
A ticket for driving without a license in California is a maximum of $250 if the offense is charged as a non-criminal infraction. If the offense is charged as a misdemeanor criminal offense, the fine is up to $1,000.
Were You Hurt in a Car Accident With an Unlicensed Driver?
If you were hurt in a car accident with an unlicensed driver, you may be dealing with additional complications. For example, the at-fault driver may also be uninsured, or they may have committed a hit-and-run because they were afraid of getting in trouble with the law. The vehicle owner or the driver’s parent may share responsibility for the accident.
If you are dealing with these complications, you may want to contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and options.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.
M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Los Angeles Office
4929 Wilshire Blvd Suite 960,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Office
350 S Figueroa St Suite 276
Los Angeles, CA 90071