A California driver’s license is something you should have for as long as you are in California. It frees you from standing in long queues waiting for cabs and spending hefty sums on public transport. However, there are a few things you’ll need to take care of while applying for your license.
Not holding a driver’s license in California is a highly punishable offense. In such cases, the DMV may charge a case against you according to the California Vehicle Code. Under this code, if you don’t hold a proper license, you may be imprisoned from 3 days to 6 months. You may also have to pay a penalty of $1000-$300.
Different types of California driver’s license
There are four types of driver’s licenses that you are eligible for in California.
You are eligible for a Class A license if your car is towed and weighs more than 10000 lbs. In addition, any car that tows more than 1 vehicle falls under Class C.
Cars and other vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 26,000 lbs. with 3 axles belong to class B. These must weigh less than 6000 lbs. and have 3 axles.
You can get a C Class California driver’s license under multiple provisions. Firstly, your car should have 2 axles and a GVW rating of 26,000 lbs. or less. Secondly, your car should have 3 axles and a GVW rating of 10,000 lbs. or less. Finally, in a third case, motor vehicles of 4o feet or more. Most importantly, your car should have a GVW rating of 10,000 lbs. or less.
If you are in need of a California driver’s license for your motor vehicles, then you can apply for Class M1. To belong to this class, you should see that you own two motor vehicles or motorcycles with Class A, B, or C licenses.
You may apply for an M2 class license if you have motorcycles or mopeds with Class 2 endorsements. Also, being an applicant for this class, you are free from any examination. Furthermore, you also need to complete the motorcyclist program, producing the proof of necessary documents.
How to get a California driver’s license
Get a learner’s license
You are eligible for the learner’s license if you are in the age category of 15.5 years and 17.5 years. You then need to get it approved by the DMV. For this, you’ll need to attend the DMV-approved driver’s education course. It will take you 30 hours to complete this course. Also, be sure to keep the handbook copy of the course with you and attend a few mock sessions if you can.
To apply for a learner’s license, you should bring:
- Proof of your Social Security Number (SSN).
- Certificate of completion of your DMV-approved course.
- The application fees.
Remember, even on getting your license, make sure that you drive under supervision.
Take the driver’s tests.
Produce the necessary documents while appearing for your tests. Take the proof of your documents while you go.
Driver’s Tests to Pass for a California License
You must pass the vision test if you are planning to drive in California. It is recommended must for both fresh applicants as well as those who are planning for license renewal.
For drivers in California, the ideal eyesight is 20/4o for both eyes or 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other. You are ineligible for the license if you don’t meet the vision standards.
Also, in the case of restricted drivers, you’ll need to produce a negative report of visual examination. In such cases, you’ll be given a visual specialist license with a validity of 5 years.
To attend the knowledge test, you must go through the Californian Driver Handbook (PDF) and follow the instructions carefully. Also, make sure to read all the questions given before you start writing.
A road test aims to check your ability to handle the traffic and follow safety standards. You’ll have to pass three types of road tests- Pre Safety Driver’s Test, Driver’s Performance Evaluation Test, and Area Driver’s Performance Evaluation.
The Pre Safety driver’s tests check your knowledge about following safety measures, and the latter looks into your driving skills. Then, there is also a Supplementary Driver’s Performance Evaluation. This is for applicants with physical disabilities. The Area Driver’s Performance Evaluation test checks your ability to drive expertly in your tested areas.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Your driver’s license is valid for a period of 90 days.
- You can receive your license by mail.
- Make sure to drive under supervision for 12 months.
- Do not drive between 11 pm to 5 am.
- You are not eligible to drive with passengers under 20 in your car till you hold a proper license.
Ways to Renew Californian Driver’s License
You can renew a Californian Driver’s License in three ways.
- Via mail
However, you’ll need to put a 60-day prior notice for renewal. Then, you must submit a DL40 form.
How to Replace a Californian Driver’s License
- Pay the application fee online.
- Take a fingerprint scan.
- Go for a vision test.
- Attend the knowledge test. Besides, getting 15/18 questions right makes you eligible for the license.
- Get your real driver’s license issued.
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