California Vehicle Code 14610(a) VC
VC 14610(a) – Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License
Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License – Table of Contents
- VC 14610(a) Overview
- VC 14610(a) Sentencing
- VC 14610(a) Prosecuting
- VC 14610(a) Defending
- Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License – Hire Us
VC 14610(a) – Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License
Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License, CA Vehicle Code 14610(a) VC, is defined by the state as anyone who displays or possesses any canceled, revoked, suspended, fictitious, fraudulently altered or fraudulently obtained driver’s license.
Additionally, the statute prohibits anyone from lending or knowingly permitting any other person the use of a driver’s license. This also includes the unlawful use or alteration of a temporary driving permit.
When a driver’s license is properly issued to a person, that person is authorized to drive a vehicle. Moreover, a driver’s license is a common form of identification that is used in many ways including cashing a check, purchasing alcohol, enrolling in school and applying for a loan.
Further, the driver’s license is universally recognized as an official government document that serves as a personal identification card. Accordingly, VC 14610(a), Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License, prohibits anyone who uses someone else’s driver’s license, lends a driver’s license to another person, or alters a driver’s license fraudulently.
Certainly, borrowing an older sibling’s driver’s license in order to purchase alcohol may be considered a harmless rite of passage, but in California, both the younger and older sibling could be charged with violating VC 14610(a), Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License.
VC 14610(a) – Sentencing
Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License in California is a misdemeanor, and if a defendant is convicted of VC 14610(a), Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License, the possible penalties include:
- custody in county jail for up to six months and/or
- a fine up to $1,000.
The judge could also order a term of probation which may include community service in lieu of incarceration or a fine.
Another consideration with a charge for VC 14610(a), Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License, is that prosecutors often charge multiple crimes for one prohibited activity. This is not uncommon and you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to explain how the charges overlap and which charges could result in harsher penalties. Moreover, an attorney will be able to help assess the facts and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each charge which is very helpful in persuading the prosecutor to drop charges or negotiation a favorable plea bargain.
Other charges that could be filed in conjunction with VC 14610(a), Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License, include:
- CA Penal Code 470(a) PC – Forgery of a Driver’s License, which prohibits the producing of a “fake” ID with the intent to commit a forgery
- CA Penal Code 470(b) PC – Possessing a Fake Driver’s License, which prohibits the possession of a “fake” ID with the intent to commit a forgery
- CA Vehicle Code 13004 VC – Unlawful Use of Identification Cards, which prohibits the use, lending, displaying, altering or intentionally misrepresenting an ID card.
As mentioned, VC 14610(a), Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License, is a misdemeanor, however, a conviction for either PC 470(a), Forgery of a Driver’s License, or PC 470(B), Possession a Fake Driver’s License, can be charged as a felony and penalties include a fine and up to three years incarceration.
VC 14610(a) – Prosecuting
In order for a conviction for VC 14610(a) Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License, the prosecutor has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the crime. According to the CA Vehicle Code, there are several ways a person can violate the law including:
- displaying or possessing any canceled, revoked, suspended, fictitious, fraudulently altered or fraudulently obtained
- lending your driver’s license to anyone else or knowingly allowing another person to use it
- displaying or representing any driver’s license not issued to you as being your license
- permitting any unlawful use of your drivers’ license
- failing or refusing to surrender you driver’s license to the DMV upon a lawful request after license has been suspended, revoked or cancelled
- reproducing or duplicating any driver’s license including photographing, facsimile or photostat so that it could be mistake for a valid license; or displaying or possessing any such photograph, photostat, duplicate, reproduction or facsimile unless authorized by law
- altering any driver’s license in any way unauthorized by the CA Vehicle Code.
As noted, the statute also covers any temporary driving permit to operate a motor vehicle.
VC 14610(a) – Defending
Since the prosecution must prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, an experienced criminal defense attorney is necessary to review the facts as well as the police reports and other evidence. Not only is this important to prepare a defense strategy, but your attorney can identify and discuss weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case to argue that charges should be dropped or negotiation an acceptable plea deal.
With that said, common defenses include:
- notice was never provided and you were not aware that your license was suspended
- no actual possession of the driver’s license
- you did not lend or knowingly permit the license to be used by another person.
- the duplication or alteration was authorized under the CA Vehicle Code.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will also be able to determine whether any of your rights were inadvertently or purposely violated. This could include an improper traffic stop or unlawful seizure of evidence. These violations can lead to evidence being inadmissible at trial, or more significantly, persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges.
Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle – Hire Us
If you or a loved one is being charged with VC 14610(a), Unlawful Use or Alteration of a License, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.
Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529
Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 20 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.
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:
- Don’t ever talk to the police
- Do not discuss your case with anyone
- Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
- Tell police you need to contact your attorney
- Never consent to any search by the police
- If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
- Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
- Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
- Information on your cell phone is evidence
- Early Intervention is the key