San Diego Driving Without a License Law
Driving Without a License
Vehicle Code 12500(a) VC
Vehicle Code 14601.1(a) VC
Driving without a license is not a relatively minor ordeal - it is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, 3 years of formal probation, and potentially having your car impounded for 30 days (which you will have to pay to get out). The city attorney will offer "Community Court" to first time offenders - but it will require you to plead guilty to an offense which will go on your record. To learn how to get these charges dismissed, or reduced to an infraction, consult with a local San Diego criminal attorney today.
The basis for this charge is your DMV record. If the DMV record shows your license was suspended or that you did not have a valid drivers license at the time you were pulled over, you could be cited with a violation of vehicle code 12500(a) or vehicle code 14601.1(a) or BOTH. These records are easy for the city attorney to obtain and are proof-positive of the charge. The best method of contesting this as a misdemeanor is by pleading not guilty, and filing evidentiary motions to suppress the basis of the stop and/or any statements.
Defenses to Driving Without a License
"I Wasn't Driving"
There's no basis for a charge of driving without a license or driving on a suspended license if you are not driving a vehicle. That means that if you are stopped with the vehicle on, but not moving, you are not technically driving.
DMV Administrative Error
Administrative errors are common. It is entirely possible that your license was wrongly suspended due to fact that the DMV is a governmental agency and mistakes occur regularly.
It's an Infraction not a Misdemeanor
While driving without a license or driving on a suspended license may be charged as a misdemeanor, the prosecutor has the discretion of charging the crime as an infraction. An infraction results in a lower fine and no work duty through Community Court.