If You've Been Charged With Driving on a Suspended License Contact Traffic Attorney Jennifer Gerstenzang Today for a Consultation!

  1. If I have an out-of-state driver’s license or license from another country, can I drive in California?

It depends. If you are a resident in California, then you are supposed to have a California driver’s license within 10 days of your arrival.  If you really are just visiting, you may be fine with your out-of-state license, as long as that license is not suspended or revoked. California has a very specific definition for the word "resident," which is outlined in Vehicle Code section 12505.  If you are not sure whether you are required to have a California driver’s license or not, it is wise to find out the answer before getting a ticket.

  1. If I am not a resident in California and do not have a California driver’s license, can the DMV suspend my driving privileges anyway? How will this impact my driver’s license?

Yes. California state has the authority to regulate its roadways and to take away a person’s privilege to drive. If you live in another country, this action may have no impact on your home country’s driver’s license.  However, if you live in a different state, your license may be suspended or impacted  in your home state.  This is because the DMV has an interstate information sharing system called the Driver’s License Compact. Thus, if the California court or DMV inputs the suspension into the Compact’s shared database, your home state may see it and suspend your driver’s license. It is a good idea to take care of any license issues swiftly, as it sometimes takes your home state a bit of time to check the Compact and learn about the suspension. Acting quickly may avoid a suspension of your driver’s license.


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  1. What if I live out of state and my suspension in California is triggering a suspension in my home state? Do I have to come back to California to take care of this?

It depends on the reason for the suspension. If your license is suspended for not attending a DUI class in California, you will have to complete the class to be reinstated. California has very strict program requirements. While other state DMV offices may allow out of state programs to satisfy their requirements, California mandates a driver complete the program in California. Thus, you may have to come back to California to complete the class. Alternatively, you may request a waiver.

What is a waiver?

As mentioned above, even if you do not live in California a DUI conviction may impact your driving privileges in your home state until you complete the required DUI program. If you are an out of state driver and are mandated by the DMV to complete a California DUI program, fulfilling that obligation can prove to be quite costly, inconvenient, and extremely difficult. If you live out of state and plan to continue to live out of state then you can call the Mandatory Actions Unit and request a 1650 waiver packet. You are eligible for this waiver if:FAQ driving on suspended license

  1. You can provide proof of residency in another state (a utility bill or another official document will suffice.)
  2. Have an SR22 (proof of financial responsibility) on file with the DMV. For the purpose of an out-of-state SR22, the 1650 Waiver includes a DL-300.
  3. You have paid the reinstatement fee
  4. You are applying after California DMV’s suspension period has concluded (4 months to 2 years according to your particular case.)

As a condition of receiving this waiver, you must agree not to drive in California for a minimum of 3 years. Additionally, you are only eligible for this waiver once in your lifetime.

  1. How do I find out if and why my license is suspended?

There are a few different ways you can accomplish this. Some of these include physically going to the DMV to ask, calling the Mandatory Actions Unit of the DMV, going to a traffic court to ask a clerk, or asking an attorney or someone with access to DMV abstracts.

If you have good reason to believe your license or privilege to drive is suspended or revoked, it may be risky to drive until you have confirmed your license is valid. In other words, you may ask a friend or a ride share service to bring you to the court or DMV. You can call the Mandatory Actions Unit at 916-657-6525.  Be sure to have your driver’s license number available.  Also, be prepared for a long wait on hold as many people dial this number.