Solano County Courthouse

Top Ten Questions > From Non-Residents

3. I live in California now: Should I get a California license?

A knowledgeable Solano DUI lawyer should tell you that California law requires most people to obtain a California driver license within ten days of becoming a California resident (CVC 12505). (At least two exceptions are certain military and farm driving situations). Therefore, if your presence in the state is more than temporary or transient, and you do not have evidence that your primary residence is in another state, then you are likely required to get a California license in order to drive here legally.

CDLIn addition, as you will see below, if you intend to stay in California, then you may very well wish to obtain at least restricted driving privileges in the event that you suffer a DUI conviction in Solano County court or a suspension of driving privileges from the Fairfield, Vallejo, or Vacaville DMV. Restricted "work" privileges cannot be issued for non-California licenses without substantially more bureaucratic effort; in most cases, the most straight-forward and easist approach is to get a California license.

Therefore the best Solano DUI lawyers generally advise most drivers who intend to stay in California that they should immediately apply for and obtain a California driver license in order to ease the consequences of a subsequent DUI conviction or suspension, and become eligible for maximum driving privileges at the earliest opportunity. In these situations, speak to a Fairfield, Vallejo, or Vacaville DUI lawyer about the advisability of having a new California license in hand before allowing a conviction or DMV suspension to start, in order to avoid having your temporary California License Canceled before just before issuance because of an intervening conviction resulting in a home state suspension, triggering a California cancellation. Although each person's situation is unique, a Fairfield, Vallejo, or Vacaville DUI attorney may even be able to help Reverse a Foreign Suspension in time to prevent cancellation of a California license.

Local Solano DUI attorneys know our local DMV practice in Solano County (Fairfield, Vallejo, or Vacaville DMV field offices) has been to allow you to apply for and take the written and/or drive test(s) prior to, but not during, any actual suspension, and therefore assuring the fastest return of driving privileges typically counsels immediate application for a California license; this approach is particularly important to consider if there are no viable defenses in your Solano County DUI case, and this is usually the best information for those who have no prior DUIs, and for those who missed the 10-day rule for requesting a DMV hearing (the 10-day rule is described under "Contact DMV" at Ten Tips For the First 48 Hours After Arrest on this site). Ask a local Solano County DUI attorney if this approach would be helpful in your individual circumstances.

Click on Driver License Information to find fast information on getting a California driver's license. Click on Ten Tips For Easing the Consequences Of a DUI on this site for a detailed discussion about restricted "work" driving privileges. Consult with a Solano County DUI lawyer about your specific circumstances.


Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

Our DUI Lawyers

Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, North Bay resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of North Bay DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.

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Dave Jake Schwartz