What is the penalty for driving without a license?

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What is the penalty for driving without a license?

I’m 21 years old, i have a clean record, and I go to school. Recently I received a ticket for driving without a license. I have a court date. But I’m terrified of going to jail. I don’t have any priors; this is my first offence. What are the chances of me just receiving a fine?

Asked on September 20, 2011 under General Practice, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

So you have been charged under California State Motor Vehicle Code 12500, correct? Although driving without a license is a relatively minor offense, it’s still a misdemeanor. A conviction, if you suffer one, will appear on your criminal record. You could even receive a maximum of 90 days in jail.  Have you never obtained a driver's license?  You need to speak with an attorney in your area.  There is a very good chance that the matter can be pled down to a minor traffic infraction which would result in only a fine and which would not have long lasting negative results such as a criminal record. It could even be dismissed entirely. Take the matter seriously.  California does.   


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