Driving Without a License in Oakland
Although driving without a license in Oakland may not be as severe an offense as driving with a suspended or revoked license, it can still result in criminal charges. Even if the offense results only in an infraction, it can adversely affect your driving record and vehicle insurance rates. As a result, contacting legal counsel for advice may be wise.
Various defenses and mitigating factors may exist in your case. Without the guidance and knowledge of a skilled criminal attorney on your side, you may not be aware of all the options available to you. By getting the legal advice that you need, you may be more likely to reach a positive outcome in your case.
Charges for Operating a Vehicle Without a License
California Vehicle Code § 12500 requires that most drivers hold a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle, with few exceptions. As a result, most individuals who drive vehicles on public streets or highways without a proper license can face criminal charges.
In many cases, charges for driving without a license result from human error. For instance, people could face these charges if they:
- Forgot to renew their licenses
- Failed to get a California license within 10 days of relocating to the state
- Never got a valid state license
People who have valid state licenses but do not have it with them while driving likely will not face driving without a license charges in Oakland. However, they could face charges under California Vehicle Code § 12951 for failing to present a driver’s license. This offense, however, is an infraction with a maximum fine of $250.
Defenses for Not Possessing a Driver’s License in Oakland
In some situations, individuals may not be guilty of this offense, even if they do not have a valid license. For example, a visitor from another state who is driving in California is not required to have a California license. It is a violation to possess to licenses at the same time under California Vehicle Code §12511 which states that “no person shall have in his or her possession or otherwise under his or her control more than one driver’s license.” A driver license from the state identified as an individual’s state of permanent residency will serve as the location for a valid driver license.
Some people are exempt from having a valid driver’s license. U.S. government employees can operate vehicles owned by the federal government without valid licenses. People driving specific “off-road” vehicles are also not required to have licenses. As various circumstances may preclude charges, getting legal advice about particular situations can be crucial to avoiding or defeating these charges.
Driving without a license in Oakland can result in an infraction or traffic ticket that does not carry the potential for a jail sentence, but does include a maximum $250 fine. However, driving without a license is also a “wobbler” offense under state law, meaning that it can result in an infraction or lead to criminal misdemeanor charges.
This offense can potentially result in a misdemeanor charge, with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A conviction can also lead to a period on probation and impoundment of vehicles. People likely will also experience an increase in insurance premiums that can remain in effect for several years.
Discuss Oakland Driving Without a License Charges with an Attorney
While driving without a license in Oakland is not the most severe traffic violation or misdemeanor offense that exists under state law, a conviction for this offense still can result in unwanted consequences. Knowing when you must have a valid license before driving is crucial to avoiding this type of charge. The stakes can be high if you are convicted of this offense, even for first-time offenders.
By seeking legal advice from the outset of your situation, you may place yourself in a better position to obtain a satisfactory outcome in your case. You may qualify for reduced charges or penalties based on your specific circumstances. Discuss your options in a free case consultation. Call now.