Unlawful Use of a Driver’s License

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Your driver’s license may seem like a small, inexpensive laminated card that proves to the world that you’re legally allowed to operate a vehicle in California. What you might not realize is that there are ways you can use your driver’s license that violate California’s laws.

Examples of unlawfully using a driver’s license in California include:

  • Allowing someone else to use your driver’s license
  • Have a driver’s license that is canceled, expired, or revoked
  • Shows a license that belongs to someone else
  • Has a duplicate driver’s license
  • Alters a driver’s license

When you’re using a driver’s license in a way California lawmakers don’t agree with you’re violating Vehicle Code 14610 VC. While most of these examples might seem like relatively minor issues to you, if you’re caught violating Vehicle Code 14610 VC you’ll quickly learn that the small acts have big consequences.

Vehicle Code 14610 VC states:

    • “(a) It is unlawful for any person:


    • (1) To display or cause or permit to be displayed or have in his possession any canceled, revoked, suspended, fictitious, fraudulently altered, or fraudulently obtained driver’s license.


    • (2) To lend his driver’s license to any other person or knowingly permit the use thereof by another.


    • (3) To display or represent any driver’s license not issued to him as being his license.


    • (4) To fail or refuse to surrender to the department upon its lawful demand any driver’s license which has been suspended, revoked, or canceled.


    • (5) To permit any unlawful use of a driver’s license issued to him.


    • (6) To do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required by this division.


    • (7) To photograph, photostat, duplicate, or in any way reproduce any driver’s license or facsimile thereof in such a manner that it could be mistaken for a valid license, or to display or have in his possession any such photograph, photostat, duplicate, reproduction, or facsimile unless authorized by the provisions of this code.
    • (8) To alter any driver’s license in any manner not authorized by this code.
    • (b) For purposes of this section, “driver’s license” includes a temporary permit to operate a motor vehicle.”

    Don’t assume that the unlawful use of a driver’s license in California will result in a ticket and a fine. This is far more serious than that.

    Unlawfully using a driver’s license in California is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, you’ll leave the situation with a criminal record. The maximum sentence for this type of crime is up to six months in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

    It’s not uncommon for a judge to look at a first-time offender’s case and sentence them to misdemeanor probation.

    The best way to avoid the serious consequences of improperly using a driver’s license in California is always make sure your driver’s license is valid and that you only carry your current license with you.