In California, driving is a privilege, not a right. You must have a valid license to drive. A valid license is one that is not suspended, revoked, or expired, and it is issued to you.
Reasons your license may be suspended or revoked
- You have been arrested for D.U.I.
- You have refused a chemical test for blood alcohol.
- You have been involved in a collision without insurance.
- You failed to appear in court.
- You failed to complete a court-ordered program.
- You violated your probation or parole.
- You failed to pay your court-ordered child support.
- You have been issued a citation for being an unlicensed driver.
- You have medical restrictions.
If you get caught driving without a license...you can be arrested! This is a misdemeanor crime, and you can go to jail. Under certain circumstances, you may be released on a signed promise to appear (ticket). If you fail to appear, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
Depending on your previous record, fines for driving while your license is suspended can range as high as $2,700. Since a large majority of unlicensed drivers are also uninsured, please take note: If you do not have insurance, the fine for the first offense is $290. The courts can also order your vehicle impounded.
Costs for Impounded Vehicles
- $185.00 - Administrative Release Fee
- $175.00 - Initial Cost of Tow
- $1,500.00 - Outside Storage Rate (30 days @ $50/day)
- $100.00 - Lien Processing Fee
The approximate total cost for a 30-day impound is $1,860.00. The owner of the vehicle will be responsible for the towing, storage, and release fees. If you are unable to pay, your vehicle will be sold to cover the fees.
Upon a second conviction, the vehicle can be forfeited. That is, ownership of the vehicle can legally be taken away from you and the vehicle sold, with proceeds of the sale used to cover the cost of the legal action.
Did you know....
- Over half of all persons driving with a suspended license were convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
- Fifty percent of all hit & run collisions involve a driver with a suspended license or no license at all?
- Forty percent of those driving with a suspended driver's license are repeat offenders?
- A large majority of persons involved in other crimes, including drive-by shootings, etc., are driving while unlicensed or while their driving PRIVILEGE is suspended or revoked? Removing them from the streets makes GOOD sense.
Your are responsible for your vehicle
- Know the person you allow to drive your vehicle.
- You will be responsible for your vehicle if the person driving does not have a license.
- You will be the one without a vehicle if yours is impounded for 30 days.
- You are the one who will be responsible for the cost of the vehicle release.
- Know where your car is and the keys are at all times.
- Many cars impounded each month were being used to go to the store or take a friend home. Is it worth the hassle or the cost?
Before you loan your car to a friend
- Ask yourself why that person doesn't have a car.
- Ask to see their driver's license.
- Look at the license to be sure it isn't expired.
- Remember that just because someone has driven in the past, it does not mean they have a license.
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This City of Stockton webpage last reviewed on --- 4/11/2011