California Driver Handbook - General Information


The fees listed in the California Driver Handbook are subject to legislative change. This handbook provides a summary of the laws and regulations outlined in the California Vehicle Code (CVC). The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), law enforcement, and the courts follow the full and exact language of the CVC. The CVC and DMV fees are available online at You may also buy a copy of the CVC at any DMV office.


The reliability, integrity, and confidentiality of the California driver license (DL) and identification (ID) card is of prime concern to all levels of government, the private sector and the general public.

It is critical that these documents be completely authenticated and accurate. The California Legislature has declared that the DL or ID card is the primary identification document in this state. California law requires that all applicants who apply for an original California DL/ID card submit proof of legal presence in the U.S. as authorized under federal law. Your true full name as shown on your legal presence document will appear on your DL/ID card.

NOTE: Pursuant to AB 60 (Ch. 524, Stats. 2013), DMV will begin issuing driver licenses to applicants who are unable to provide evidence of their status in the United States (U.S.). As such, requirements for driver licensing will be modified in accordance with the effective date of January 1, 2015.


A California driver license shows that you have been given permission by the state to drive on public roadways. You may apply for a driver license at most DMV offices. Refer to this page for more information.

It is a misdemeanor to drive in California without a valid driver license. If you do, you can be cited, your vehicle may be impounded, and you may have to appear in court.

If you do not have outstanding actions on your record, you will receive a driver license after you pay the application fee, pass all applicable knowledge examinations, show that your physical and/or mental condition is satisfactory, and demonstrate your ability to drive safely. If you have a medical condition or a disability, the DMV may require you to take a driving test. You may also have to provide a statement from your physician regarding your current health condition.

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