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In California, You Must Have Valid License in Your Possession While Driving

Most every driver knows to always have an active driver’s license before heading out on the road in California. However, many people do not know that you need to keep your valid driver’s license in your possession when you are driving. Keeping your license at home, in a second handbag or wallet, or anywhere else not immediately accessible while driving can get you in serious legal trouble.

When You Need to Produce a Valid CDL

There are several sections of the California Vehicle Code that apply to carrying a valid driver’s license while driving, including but not limited to the following situations:

  • When a person has a valid California Driver’s License (CDL), they must apply to change their address within 10 days of an official change of residence address. As a former police officer, Attorney Ivan Morse has stopped many people who had not complied with a change of address requirement. Normally, he would advise them they had to change their address to be in compliance with the law and let them off with a warning. Not all police officers will be as forgiving, though.
  • If you have complied with the change of address, the California DMV will provide you with a document you can keep with your current CDL advising the police that you have complied with a change of address. (See §14600 CA Vehicle Code.)

What Happens If You Have No Valid CDL On You?

If you are stopped in California by a police officer while driving a vehicle, you are required to produce a valid CDL or a license from another jurisdiction. If you cannot produce a license, the officer may issue you a citation for violation §12951 of the California Vehicle Code.

On the other hand, if you cannot produce a valid license when stopped, you may be arrested based on the officer’s discretion and other outlying factors. California law considers driving without a valid CDL a criminal offense, not a traffic violation. As a misdemeanor crime under §12500, you can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and penalized with up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. If a prosecutor decides to charge the crime as an infraction, the penalty will be reduced to a $250 fine.

Retain Professional Defense for Your Case – Call 925.452.4065

If you are given a citation or placed under arrested for driving without a valid California Driver’s License, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Ivan O.B. Morse for a free consultation. Attorney Morse and his team have helped many drivers facing this precarious legal situation with success. Insight from a former police officer is truly invaluable when you are trying to protect your future freedoms. Call toll-free at 888.865.0741 today to begin your defense.