Driving Without a Valid License in Your Possession

Drivers who are caught driving without a valid drivers license in their possession are subject to California Vehicle Code Section §12500.

It is illegal in California to drive a motor vehicle without a valid drivers license in your possession. This charge is a misdemeanor. California Vehicle Code Section §12500 is different than driving on a suspended drivers license, which is California Vehicle Code Section §14601. Drivers that are discovered to be driving without a valid drivers license face potential penalties of 6 months in jail or a $500 fine.

This code section encompasses a number of different situations. One situation might be that the person never got a drivers license. For example, a recent client, of Hoffman & Associates, from Ukraine was visiting temporarily. She is not a United States citizen and therefore, not being a citizen she did not have the right to get a drivers license. When she was caught driving she was charged with driving without a valid driving privilege.

Another scenario is where someone had a valid drivers license but did not have it in their possession at the time they were stopped. California Vehicle Code Section 12500 covers this situation. Although this might seem quite minor, the consequences are not necessarily minor, including large fines and probation.

An experienced traffic court lawyer, like the lawyers at Hoffman & Associates, have years of experience preventing convictions of these types of charges. Our strategies include: having clients obtain (if they don’t already have them) reinstatement of their driving privilege from the Department of Motor Vehicles) and show them to the prosecutor and get the charges totally dismissed or reduced to an infraction. The result is no probation and sometimes no charge meaning, possible no consequence. Understanding the legal system and implementing effective strategies is essential to creating excellent solutions to our client’s legal problems.

California Vehicle Code Section §12500 states:

  1. A person may not drive a motor vehicle upon a highway, unless the person then holds a valid driver's license issued under this code, except those persons who are expressly exempted under this code.

  2. A person may not drive a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle upon a highway, unless the person then holds a valid driver's license or endorsement issued under this code for that class, except those persons who are expressly exempted under this code, or those persons specifically authorized to operate motorized bicycles or motorized scooters with a valid driver's license of any class, as specified in subdivision (h) of Section 12804.9.

  3. A person may not drive a motor vehicle in or upon any offstreet parking facility, unless the person then holds a valid driver's license of the appropriate class or certification to operate the vehicle. As used in this subdivision, “offstreet parking facility” means any offstreet facility held open for use by the public for parking vehicles and includes any publicly owned facilities for offstreet parking, and privately owned facilities for offstreet parking where no fee is charged for the privilege to park and which are held open for the common public use of retail customers.

  4. A person may not drive a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles that is not of a type for which the person is licensed.

  5. A motorized scooter operated on public streets shall at all times be equipped with an engine that complies with the applicable State Air Resources Board emission requirements.

Client Reviews
I can't begin to thank Mr. Hoffman enough for his extensive efforts throughout the entire case. He went absolutely above and beyond throughout the entire process. From day one he was immediately actively pursuing ways to prevent my case from ever going to court and once that was no longer an option, actively began working on getting the case ultimately dismissed. His communication was consistent and reassuring, despite my frantic worries all the time... Micaiah Botts
My family and I simply owe our life and future to Ron Hoffman. If you are looking for a lawyer that goes above and beyond the call of duty you can't find a better lawyer than Ron. He took my case head on from the moment I called his office. I was involved in an accidental hit and run where I was unaware of the injury. Every step of the way, Ron guided me through an almost two year long investigation and court settlement process and was constantly by my side through out every crossroad... Bill Martin
Ron Hoffman and his staff were Fantastic when dealing with such a serious issue of DUI. When I first Called Ron I was very nervous and worried for my daughter and her freedom. She had a failure to appear on top of her DUI and I knew just how bad this could be. Ron was able to immediately put me at ease and gave me the confidence that there was hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. Ron was able to get the failure to appear dismissed and also no jail time for my daughter... Claude Brown
I have been working with Mr. Hoffman for over 11 years. I have seen first hand his genuine dedication to his clients, and how his experience, knowledge and passion have gotten clients fantastic results. He treats each of his clients as his only client, and takes the time to develop detailed strategies and defenses for each individual case. I have never hesitated to refer Mr. Hoffman to anyone who has asked me for a good Criminal Defense attorney. He is a fantastic attorney!... Neeta P.
I had a DUI issue recently. I have never had a problem with the law as serious as this one. I did panic a bit after and knew I had to get a lawyer to help my future. I researched the Web and read the reviews for awesome DUI Lawyers. Hiring a lawyer can be intimidating. Ron's 30 years experience and step by step guidance helped me with my case. Jonie was amazing with keeping me calm. Ron Hoffman is a great lawyer and I would refer any friends or family to him... Manuel Gomez
Ron was so accommodating and professional. With a Firm like his you wouldn't expect him to be as accessible, but he immediately returned phone calls, was easy to communicate with and was very sympathetic to my situation. He went above and beyond and was able to get a better result than I'd hoped or expected. I highly recommend Ron Hoffman and his firm. He made a difficult and anxiety fueled process bearable and made me feel safe. He is a lovely man. One does not wish to need a criminal attorney, but if you do need one, Ron's the guy to call... Teri A.
Ron and his team were the perfect pairing for what I needed taken care of. Every step of the way he was extremely helpful and informative (not his first rodeo). His work ethic and attitude were exemplary and it showed with the results of using his services. I would recommend anyone I know to give Ron a call if they need help in his realm of expertise. Many thanks Ron and associates!... Donald N.
I didn't hire a lawyer for my first DUI... What a mistake! Ronald goes above and beyond with his art and knowledge of custom strategy according to your case. lawyer of the year (every year)... Adam R.
I hate lawyers. They are hard to get a hold of, greedy and unreliable. Ron is the opposite of all these things. He deserves 6 stars, and I very much recommend him. He helped me through my case with nothing but kindness, understanding, and knowledge and eventually got it dropped. Thanks for everything Ron!... Avi Z.