Traffic laws are set at the state level, which means that the traffic laws in California can be different from those in any other state. If you are planning on driving within the state of California, it is important that you are aware of what the laws are before you get behind the wheel. Today, we will address California laws regarding driving without a license, driving without a registration, and driving without insurance.
Driving without a License
In California, driving without a license is considered a serious crime. In other states, it might be classified as a simple traffic offence. That is not the case in California, where it is considered a criminal offence.
When it comes to deciding punishment for this offence, multiple factors will be considered. Among the variables at play include: whether you have a valid license but did not have it on you, have never had a license, or had a license once but had it revoked due to other criminal or traffic offences. Each of these is considered with a different amount of severity, and will result in different punishment.
What are the most severe punishments you can face? You can be fined up to $1,000 dollars for driving without a license; the court may also hold you responsible for any court fees. The length of a potential jail sentence is not strictly set, but jail time is possible, as is probation. In most cases, your car will be towed and impounded, and you will be held liable for all costs.
Driving without Registration
In California, this is considered a traffic violation, and it is generally not treated with much severity if you are still within the first 180 days of ownership. At most, you can expect to be given a ticket. However, this ticket does not count for moving violation points, and you can pay a small fee to dismiss it once you do register the vehicle.
The greater risk is having your wages or other assets garnished by the California Franchise Tax Board. They can move to do this once your registration fee is 90 days past due. If you still fail to pay after the first 180 days, your car can be towed if it is on public property.
Driving without Insurance
If you are trying to find ways to save money, you might be tempted to forgo car insurance. If you are driving in California, this is a very bad idea. Below are just some of the legal penalties you might face if caught driving without insurance.
When caught driving without insurance, you will be made to pay a fine. For a first offence, this will be between $100 and $200. If you are caught a second time, that fine could be as much as $500.
There is a chance that the officer who catches you will opt to have the car towed and impounded. If this happens, you will need to pay the towing and impounding fee as well as have proof of valid insurance before they will release the vehicle to you.
If you are caught three times or you are involved in an accident, your license can be suspended. This can be done for up to four years, but should be for at least one year at minimum.
Is it worth the risk to drive without a license, registration, or insurance? Not in our estimate.