CA Vehicle Code 12951 VC

VC 12951 – Failing to Present a Driver’s License

VC 12951 - Failing to Present a Driver’s License

Failing to present a Driver’s License – Table of Contents

Vehicle Code 12951 VC: Failing to present a Driver’s License

What are the foundation requirements for a violation under Vehicle Code 12951 VC?

A driver shall have a valid driver’s license issued to them, or on their immediate possession at all times when driving a motor vehicle upon a highway.

The license must be issued to the driver’s lawful name. This does not mean it needs to be on their possession because the next statement indicates the option of immediate access; the driver can request from the officer to allow them time to procure the license.

What is the definition of failing to present a driver’s license under Vehicle Code 12951 VC?

A driver, when asked to present a driver’s license, must present a valid driver’s license that is either accessible or at their immediate possession.iii Probable cause to request the license comes from an official duty of the officer to pull over a driver over for violating a vehicle code.

Can a police officer search the vehicle when a driver’s license is not presented?

Yes. By not presenting a driver’s license the police can infer that you are not a lawful driver and can search the vehicle to determine if crimes were committed using the vehicle as an instrument of a crime.

Are there any exceptions to the license requirement for a violation of Vehicle Code 12591 VC to not apply?

The following people do not need to show proof of compliance under Vehicle Code 12591 VC:

  • Enforcement personnel of the United States, when operating a vehicle for US business and it’s a commercial vehicle owned by the United States;
  • People operating farms who accidentally drive on major streets or highways conducting farm business;
  • ATVs not on major streets, highways, sidewalks or intersections.

Punishments for California VC 12951

What are the penalties involved for a violation of Vehicle Code 12591 VC?

A violation of Vehicle Code 12951 VC is misdemeanor. The punishments are confinement in county jail up to six months with fines not exceeding $1,000 dollars.

What are examples of violations of Vehicle Code 12591?

  • Jessica is speeding on the highway and is pulled over by an LAPD officer. When asked for identification Jessica does not have her driver’s license. She is arrested.
  • Jason is seen on the side of the road pulling things out of a vehicle by a CHP officer. The officer approaches Jason and asked if he is the owner of the vehicle. The officer asked for proof of his driver’s license and insurance. Jason does not have either. He is arrested.
  • John is pulled over for a broken tail light. When stopped, he explains that he borrowed his friend’s car and is returning the car to his friend. The officer understands the situation, but asks John to call his friend to prove ownership. John is unable to reach his friend by phone. The officer then asks John to present his driver’s license. John is unable to. John is arrested and the car is impounded.

Defending California VC 12591

What are defenses to violations of Vehicle Code 12591?

  • Lack of probable cause – The vehicle itself did not violate a vehicle code prior to being stopped by a police officer.
  • Necessity – I drove the car without a license because of threat of harm by another person to myself or to my family.
  • Lack of English proficiency, the driver did not understand the requests of the officer pertaining to the driver’s license.
  • Involuntary Intoxication – The driver took medication that rendered the driver unable to properly communicate with the police officer and to understand his requests.

We’re Here to Help

If you are charged with failing to present a driver’s license under Vehicle Code 12951 VC, call The Esfandi Law Group. Contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Seppi Esfandi.

Call Us: 310-274-6529

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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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