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The following inquiries received by the BobSaid.com Web site are exactly as written by the inquirers. As much as we would love to know how some of these situations worked out, we seldom receive follow-up correspondence.

Hi, Bob I just found your site, you certainly do have an impressive resume. My question is: Is it illegal to use photo blocking spray on your car license in California?
Thank you,

California Vehicle Code:
Section 5201
g) A casing, shield, frame, border, product, or other device that
obstructs or impairs the reading or recognition of a license plate
by an electronic device operated by state or local law enforcement, an electronic device operated in connection with a toll road, high-occupancy toll lane, toll bridge, or other toll facility, or a remote emission sensing device, as specified in Sections 44081 and 44081.6 of the Health and Safety Code, shall not be installed on, or affixed to, a vehicle.

5201.1. (a) A person shall not sell a product or device that
obscures, or is intended to obscure, the reading or recognition of a
license plate, as prohibited by subdivision (g) of Section 5201.

The additional problem a person creates using such a product is, if a police officer can see that the plate is obscured, they will very likely be very meticulous in checking paperwork and inspecting the vehicle for violations which otherwise might go unnoticed.

The more significant ethical problem is that a person who uses such a product, like those who use radar/laser detectors, is revealing themselves as having the thought processes of a criminal. They cannot be trusted to accept that rules and laws apply to them.


Their Response:

Thanks for your help, your answer was very thorough.

Dear Bob,

On February  14th 2009 my husband and I were driving on missions street in San Francisco looking for a parking space and when  we found one we signaled that we were going to park there and then all of a sudden a motorcycle cop was behind us with his lights on. He came to the window and said  that my smoked license plate covers were illegal and we were double parked and he asked for my husbands license and well he doesn't have one. The officer took the insurance and registration and checked it, then he came back to the car and had my husband step out and was talking to him about towing the car, thats when I got out of the car and asked the cop why can't he release the car to me? I have a valid drivers liscense and the car is in my name? The SF Police have done it before for me why not now? He just told me that legally he needed to impound the car due to my husband not having a drivers license. And told me to go to Bryant and I would sign a paper stating I will not let someone without a license operate my cars and if so the car will be impounded for 30 days. I asked him where I could find information stating that the covers and not releasing my car to me is legal and he gave me no answer and drove off after issuing my husband a ticket.  I have various friends and family that have been pulled over for no license and have not had their cars impounded. So I went to the station to get the release on my car and they told me due to my husband not having a license and having been pulled over various times for this they couldn't release my vehicle for 30 days, I told them I never signed a paper stating that and they told me that didn't matter and I could come back on March 13, 2009 to get my car. Or my husband needs to get a license but he can because he doesn't have social security.  I never knew that license plate covers were illegal , and why not a warning? or fix it ticket? Obviously  this officer didn't want to give me a break, I think it was unfair treatment, and wrong that he towed my car,
I would like to know the legality of this and why some people get a break and their cars are not towed and why others are? Can you help me find information

Thank you,

BobSaid - The officer was right.  Quit it.

Dear Bob,

Please explain what constitutes a DUI offense by CA law. My husband was arrested on a DUI charge; however, he was never observed operating the vehicle. His truck rolled on its side, and he got out of the truck. He was sitting outside the stationary vehicle when he was discovered by a passerby who then called the Sheriff's dept. Neither the passerby nor the Sheriff observed him operating the vehicle, although they might assume he was the driver. I am curious if he can be legally arrested for a DUI based on the assumption alone that he was the driver if he was in fact not observed operating the vehicle and was not pulled over while the vehicle was in motion, but rather, the Sheriff was called to the scene after the vehicle had stopped running and was on its side. The keys also were NOT in the ignition. I'd appreciate any information you could give me on the CA DUI law regarding the operating of a vehicle. Thank you!

What do you mean by "the vehicle was on its side"?

The vehicle rolled onto it's passenger side after sliding on ice when the truck had been in operation. My husband was never pulled over by police in a moving vehicle and no one witnessed him driving the truck. The police were called after a passerby saw the truck rolled on it's passenger side. My husband was outside the vehicle when the truck was discovered stationary. I hope that clarifies my Bobsaid question. Thanks, Sandy
PS...I am not a supporter of anyone driving while under the influence, and I am simply trying to clarify the legality of a DUI arrest based on assumption alone of who the driver was. Thanks.

If your husband is the owner of the vehicle, he is standing next to the crashed vehicle and he does not identify another driver, then what is the obvious conclusion? He can, knowing he is guilty, take it to court and see what a jury decides. Trust me, you don't want that expense.

It is the mind set of a criminal to think like you are thinking. That is your greater problem. That, and being married to an unrepentant drunk driver. Why aren't you angry with him for his irresponsible trashing of the family car?


My daughter will soon to be 22. There was a time period of 15-16 years old that she received two citations(possesion for less than an ounce of marijuana and school delinquency) violations. She appeared in informal juvenile traffic court here in San Bernardino county, California. She never kept future appearances with the commisioner, paid her fines, or completed community service as ordered. Her license(that she never had)was placed on future suspension and at 21 the DMV still has a hold on her license stemming from her juvenille traffic tickets.I know that She has to go back to informal juvenille traffic court to handle this. The fines are now thousands of dollars. Question: is there anything that she can do to get her fines reduced and license released that you know of? Is there any way of atleast her getting a provisional license so that she can be licensed to drive to work and school legally without getting ticketed and having the vehicle impounded because that is what will happen. Thank for your help.

This is the position people find themselves in when they treat the law in a cavalier manner. Her life is now in the hands of the judicial system, which means that her destiny depends on 1) the kind of day a judge is having, 2) the judge's perception of her attitude, 3) her willingness to submit to the authority of the court and do as she is told. If she has a problem with any of these, her situation will only worsen.

She needs to go to all of her court dates, be polite (without sarcasm or attitude) and attempt to clearly understand what is being said to her. This is one reason to consider hiring an attorney. They will pay attention and remember what she is supposed to do.

The fact that, at age 22, her mother is still trying to find solutions to the results of her choices is a symptom of the ongoing problem she has. This is not a criticism of you; I am a father and I understand your desire to help your child. The challenge every parent of an adult child in trouble has is stepping aside, being supportive and loving, but letting their child grow through handling their own mess, even if it means suffering uncomfortable consequences. The very possibility that she would at this point choose to drive anywhere is another indicator of the depth of the problem.

The court is where she has to deal with this. Let her do it. Do not enable her destructive behavior by allowing her to feel like a victim. She did this to herself. You are now a loving spectator.


Dear Bob,
As hard as your words are to hear and swallow, you are absolutely right. I tried to warn my daughter when she was carelessly ignoring the laws that were actually put in place to protect her and the entire public as well, that she would one day have to answer for her choices. I am going to take your advice and encourage her to go before the commissioner with humility and maturity, and allow the judicial process to take what ever steps with her it deems fair. Prayerfully, she will come to fully(and I use that word because she is starting to awaken, but not quite there)recognize the authority of the law and her responsibility to abide by it no matter what. Once again, thanks.

Dear Bob,
I am a USC Law School first year, International Student. I have a valid foreign driver license (Romania) and the school told us that we can drive with the foreign driver license as long as it remains valid. Mine is still valid. The DMV website also states that unless I am a resident or enjoy residency privileges ( which I am not ), I can drive with a foreign driver license as long as it is valid. Yesterday a police officer stopped me for going through a yellow light ( for me ) that was red light for him. I was driving my car, registered in California with California plates as I have for the past 5 months. He then saw my European driver license and arrested me, He impounded my car and finally, after an hour handcuffed, a sargeant came and spoke to him. he let me go with a misdemeanor citation. What can I do to clear my name and not have anything on my record?

Be careful of the wording of the Vehicle Code.
Section 12505 of the Vehicle Code defines residency thusly:
Prima facie evidence of residency for driver's licensing purposes
includes, but is not limited to, the following: (Bob - "but is not limited to" being undefined can be problematic.)
(A) Address where registered to vote.
(B) Payment of resident tuition at a public institution of higher
(C) Filing a homeowner's property tax exemption.
(D) Other acts, occurrences, or events that indicate presence in
the state is more than temporary or transient.

A very experienced police supervisor responds:
Depending on how long they were in Ca, if over 3 months, I would cite them CVC 12500a unlicensed driver and impound the car 30 days. We cite in the field for 12500a and release them there. The DA files it as an infraction only, no arrest. We don’t hook up our 12500a’s and book them.I’m sure the officer figured this person was living here, going to school here and trying to use their old country’s license…..That does not fly!!!

BobSays: Please notify your Student Affairs Office of this information ASAP.

I am a merchant marine who lives currently in California. the nature of my work brings me all over. I held a valid Washington state licence at the time of my pull over in San Francisco. I am writing basically to notify other merchant marine, truck drivers, pilots and military people out there. up til recently out of state ID was good if your federal ID was good...apparently the letter of the law differs.

frankly i never had to deal with officers as i am a relatively good driver, so under 12500a if you are going to be in california get a local ID..and a !@#@#$ front plate.thanks Bob. 

Please answer this one. Thank you kindly in advance. I had a car accident with my two boys in car 8 and 10. They were screaming. I turned my head to say stop your going to get mommy in an accident. I plowed down a stop sign. The boys scared I would be mad ran out of car. I franticly searched for them. Running up and down the street. I ran home and called police. I said my kids are missing they might have been kidnapped. 7 police cars came to my house. I thought the worse. They said boys called police and were placed in protective custody. They asked if I had been drinking. I said yes one margarita. They wanted to do drug test. I refused. I didnt know the law was I had to complie. Nor did they tell me. I explain the accident. They said I hit three cars and have wittness. I am quite sure I did not hit cars. They impounded my car. And put me in jail. At 11 in the morning I was handed a paper for a feeny child endagerment. When I smile at the lady who gave me the paper. She said I wouldnt be smiling you are going to jail. So they gave me my license. They said they are investigating aleged car accidents. They do not mention dui on paper they gave me. And I am going to go to court and they jump extra charges on me. How long do they have to charge me. Wish I took that breath test. Oh they said there witness is the valet man who saw me get in car intoxicated. But I did not valet park. They said they have the waitress saying I was completly out of it. But she kept giving me booze. Whic I do know that is illeagle and she would be in trouble. This is the worst thing in my life and I just survived Breast Cancer. Which police officer would not beleive. Bob What is in store for me. I havent eaten slept. What do I have to do.they never read me rights. never told me i could call lawyer. they claim they asked for a family member to take kids to. they never did. i am feeling very stupid.

BobSaid -
The information you have provided contradicts itself and doesn't make sense. The evidence will be presented and you will be convicted. At this point you need to hire an attorney and tell the attorney the truth.

For example, why would the women who served you get into trouble if, as you previously stated, you were not intoxicated?

Telling the police officer about health problems in no way relates to the incident at hand and shows that your thought processes are not rational. This tends to show that your statements cannot be believed.

You're not going to help yourself by constantly calling the police officers liars and claiming they are incompetent. They will be believed. You will not.

You didn't indicate that they said you parked with the valet. They said the valet saw you. You're not making sense. Get an attorney, now.

I have a friend who's mom is willingly to let me use her car but she won't be able to take me. Her son has his license but the registration and insurance is under her name will there be a problem for me at the dmv over this situation?

You will need to take the vehicle owner's insurance policy so that the examiner can make sure that it allows people other than the vehicle owner to drive it and doesn't exclude you. Make sure it isn't expired.

If your friend who is taking you is under 18, make sure that he doesn't violate the conditions of his provisional license by driving you to the DMV. And be sure that you don't drive on a permit with a minor as your only passenger.

Good luck.


Dear Bob,
While visiting at an aparmtent building in Moreno Valley, CA., my parent's car was impounded. The individual that my parents were there to see had mentioned that the parking space that they were occupying was one of many that were commonly used by other visitors, without incident. After tracking the car down, and noticing that several other cars along the same stretch of parking spaces were missing parking permits and left untowed, we proceded to the tow yard. Although we are unsure exactly how long the car had been impounded, the reciept states that it had been taken at 9:10pm and delivered to the tow yard at 9:50pm. After driving to Riverside and settling the issue, my parents paid a $275.00 bill and were delivered the car at 11:21pm. Although I know that the tow company cannot charge more for tow and storage than the city police ($130 and $30 respectively), is there anything that we can do about this? Has the tow company exceeded the city's tow charge? Or is the tow company being fair?
Thank you for your time

Their information is correct, however, the only way to resolve any money issues would be pursued through the small claims court process.
Presenting their tow bill and presenting the city's tow rates for the city that the car was towed from.

HOWEVER, check the property for the proper signage. Without the proper signage postings on or about the property per the California Vehicle Code, it constitutes an illegal tow. Recourse? Small Claims Court with receipts and photo's to substantiate the claim. Who do you sue? The PROPERTY OWNER, not the tow company. The tow company is the secondary defendant and would be sued after the property owner.

(If the property owner authorized the tow, they are the ones at fault for not posting the property. The tow company is towing on behalf of the property owner.)

The vehicle code requires that the property be posted at each vehicular entrance to the property, visible from a distance of 25 ft, and every 100 ft thereafter, visible from a distance of 25 ft., lettering no smaller than 1". As an example:

Unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at owners expense.
22658cvc and 14.32.180 AMC
APD 714 765-1900

If the property was properly posted, then you would go after the tow company only. However, the tow company cannot charge more that the city tow rates as earlier mentioned. From past experience, most people don't have the time to do this. But it is an option.

my ex daughter-n-law does not have a drivers license or insurance of course, her new boyfriend gave her a car to drive around in, she has been doing that with my almost 4 year old granddaughter in the car, I am very concerned for her safety. What will happen if she gets pulled over or in an accident?

Here are three responses from very experienced traffic officers.
#1 -
If she is stopped for a traffic infraction (running a redlight, failure to signal, etc.), she could be cited for that infraction, plus driving without a driver's license and for not having auto insurance. The vehicle will probably be impounded and she, along with your granddaughter, will become a pedestrian. The same will apply if she is in an auto accident. I hope your granddaughter is at least placed in a car seat when they do travel, for her own safety.
#2 -
First and foremost, God forbid she gets in an accident or stopped, sevearl scenarios could occur:
Driving in Caifornia is a misdemeanor which means it's an arrestable offense depending on the officer. (I hope she is using a car seat!) Otherwise, all she would get is a misdemeanor citation and hopefully minus the car.
22651 of the Vehicle Code allows the vehicle to be towed, but without a 30 day hold. Only the registered owner could pick up the car, as long as the registered owner has a driver's license. Vehicle release fees and towing and storage fees are applicable.
In addition, if the officer has his wits about him/her, the car also would be impounded with a 30 day hold (14602.6cvc), regardless of ownership. Only way out of that would be for the unlicensed driver to get a license.The car could be released to the registered owner along with the presentation of the driver with a new driver's license on that same day. NO EXCEPTIONS, however, not ALL officers follow the vehicle code. It says that the vehicle "shall" be impounded for a period of no longer than 30 days. That's to the tune of about $1100.00 after 30 days.
#3 -
In California, she would get a ticket for no license and the car would be impounded for 30 days. The owner of the car can be prosecuted (even though it does not happen very often) for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive the vehicle.

My stepdaughter has a valid AZ license. She is 17 and now living with us in CA. With the number of tickets (4) and accidents (2) in two years, I don't think she can get a CA driver's license. We are not allowing her to drive any longer. My husband thinks we should keep her on our insurance at over $7000 year because he is afraid that she will take our car without permission and get into an accident. My understanding is that even if we insured her, the insurance company doesn't have to pay on a person driving in CA without a valid CA license. Should we pay the insurance for the next 5 months until she turns 18, or would that all be money down the drain if she takes our car and gets into an accident in CA.

All right, here you go. DMV says, due to a lapse between the application for a license and checking the applicant's record, she would probably be issued a license. But after they discover her record, it would be revoked because her point count is way to high.

Whether any crash she is involved in as a driver would be covered by your insurance depends on whether you have a "permissive use" policy. Some insurers provide them to all insureds, some do not. "Permissive use" policies allow any person to drive the vehicle and the coverage is valid. If you check on this, also find out if the "permissive use" clause protects drivers who live with you but are not covered by your policy. If you do not have such a policy, you need to name her as an additional insured. Insurance companies are not always happy to find out you have a licensed driver who lives in your home using your vehicles and they are expected to accept the additional risk of that person driving without being paid additional premium.

California law, as you probably know, requires that a new resident of the state get licensed here within 30 days. This could be an additional complication with an insurer.

And though you didn't ask, I must ask you to seriously consider whether this girl is ready to drive. Her record indicates more than the usual risk. And it's truly not about the money -- she may die or kill an innocent. Your concern that she may steal your car and crash it is another indicator I beg you to not ignore. To the extent you can, please do not let this girl drive until she matures. It probably wouldn't hurt for her to get some serious behind the wheel driving instruction.

Bob, I have a very delicate matter right now. I have been puller over 3 times while driving on a suspended license( for DUI's), twice convicted. I am looking at a third conviction in roughly 16 months. I am almost done with my 18 month DUI school and will be eligible to get my restricted license back in roughly 2 1/2 months. With a SR-22 filing and inter-lock device. What can be done? What can I expect? I cannot afford to stay in jail on consecutive days.(More than 48hrs at a time). If that happens I will have ti declare bankruptcy and lose everything I am working towards. Thanks I would really appreciate your advice.

The following is a combination response from me and from law enforcement:
You have a significant problem. It began as a problem within yourself but you have allowed it to grow into a problem with the legal system. You have placed yourself in a situation where the judge will be able to do with you whatever he/she wants. You have disrespected the court and the law and they may very well disrespect you in return. Your risk of bankruptcy is of your own making and it is a natural consequence of the choices you have made. Multiple impaired driving arrests and multiple charges of driving on a suspended license are indications of a criminal attitude and a disregard for the people and society in which you live. You have acted on numerous occasions as if the law and the results of breaking it don't exist. You speak of losing "everything I am working towards". What you have been working toward by choosing to drive illegally is what you are about to experience. Do not expect a pleasant result. You, I am sure, know enough to present yourself to the court as sorry and to promise it will never happen again. A wise judge will know you are lying. Your immediate future depends on the judge you get. Your long-term future is a frightening thing to imagine if you don't start making better choices, right now. Start with your friends. Get rid of everyone who acts like you do. They are only going to contribute to your self-destruction. Quit drinking today, forever. You are going to kill youself, or worse, an innocent child. Surround yourself with decent people, perhaps in a church. Find someone who needs help - sick children, the elderly, the poor, a charity - and begin spending your time helping them.

You wanted to know what to expect. If you don't change now, you can expect to die young and that nobody will care.

Let me know how you do. I care.


He responded:

I have quit drinking. I have surrounded myself with other friends that do not share the same interests as my last friends. My current job is in fact helping others. My job is dealing with the less fortunate, charities, law enforcement and other non-profit organizations. I am working two jobs so that I can get out of debt. I am seeing a counslor about my past behavior and how it has devesated me and put on this terrible path. Though I cannot change what has happened in the past. I can change what am doing now and my future. I appreciate your honesty and bluntness and have taken it seriously. Thank you again. I will keep you informed of what happens to me and my legal battle ahead of me and how the rest of future pans out.

I was helping my brother inlaw move from his apartment in chino ca. while we were bringing some items from his apartment to my truck which was approx. 5 min. a tow truck company already had my vehicle up in the air from my front end of the vehicle . i was livid I told the driver we were moving and we were about done he did not want to hear it he said my vehicle was up in the air and if I wanted it put down I would have to pay half of the impound fee which would be $55.00 we tried to explain that we would be in and out of the complex for about two more trips and that we were in a parking space for about 20 to 30 min. at a time it is a first come first serve parking complex. he didnt care he stated it was all about business. but if i paid $55.oo he wouldnt fuck with me any more so my question is if a owner of a vehicle comes out side and finds a tow truck operator towing there vehicle on a apartment complex is this legal what happen . i feel like I paid this person a bribe to look the other way at my complex they always give a 24 hour notice that if your vehicle is not moved it would be towed. was this a legal impound.

Here is your response from a Traffic Sergeant:

It's sad, but the tow truck drivers have us over a barrel, ever since they won a lawsuit against Santa Ana PD. They think they are untouchable.....and they almost are. There are no laws that regulate how tow companies operate.

CVC 22658a explains private persons impounds (PPI). The apartment complexes hire the tow companies to patrol their grounds. If they see a vehicle parked in violation of an apartment complex rule, they hook it up and charge you tons to get your car back.

I've experienced this first hand, when my daughter's brand new Honda Accord was towed away (at 10:45PM) for overnight parking. She didn't park over night. I went to the tow co.who said it would be $180.00. They had the car for 45 minutes. I had a lawsuit, but my daughter did not want to pursue it.

The tow company cannot charge you more than what they would charge the local police department for a tow or storage fee. Get a copy of Chino Police Department's towing contract and it will tell you what the police pay for towing.

CVC 22658a lays out all the requirements (signs posted, etc) needed for a tow company to "legally" tow your car. Get real familiar with that section before you contact the tow company. If the tow is found to have charged an excessive amount, you can sue and collect 4 times the amount they charged you.

I wish you the best and I hope the tow company was in violation of CVC 22658a. If they were.....sue 'm.

My wife and I were on our way home and ran into a roadblock checking for DUI. We were both sober. The officer (and my wife and I) discovered that my wife's license had expired six weeks earlier.

The officer cited my wife for a misdemeanor 12500(a) and impounded our car. I asked if I could drive since we both are on the insurance and the car is registered to me, but the officer would not allow it.

I am really worried about the severity of this citation. My wife has a clean driving record, and is a model citizen ... a pre-school teacher. What can we expect to pay for the fine (after the impound fees and vehicle recovery fee)? Should we be seeking legal help. Is there a possibility of jail? Probation? This seems crazy! Is it possible to have this reduced to an infraction?

Thanks for any comments.

Two Law Enforcement experts responded:

According to CA Veh. Code section 14602.6 - an officer can impound a car when the driver is operating the vehicle when their license is suspended, or, when the driver had never been issued a license. It would be nice to know what section the officer used as the legal authority to tow the car. It it's this section, it doesn't work.

If the officer used Vehicle Code section 22651(p), the wording gives the officer authority to store but not impound the vehicle. (The difference is that the owner can get the car back as soon as they show valid proof of new license).


You were in violation of CVC 12500a (not having a valid license), however the officer could have NOT towed your vehicle. As an unwritten rule, most departments give a 3 month grace period on expired driver's licenses and expired vehicle registrations. Apparently this officer slept during the academy when they spoke of "The letter of the law" versus "The spirit of the law." The officer used the letter of the law in your situation. Your car should have not been towed. The only impound section that the officer could have used was CVC 22651 (P).
(Bob - 22651. Any peace officer, ...may remove a vehicle located within the territorial limits in which the officer works, under any of the following circumstances:
(p) When the peace officer issues the driver of a vehicle a notice to appear for a violation of Section 12500, 14601, 14601.1, 14601.2, 14601.3, 14601.4, 14601.5, or 14604 and the vehicle has not been impounded pursuant to Section 22655.5. Any vehicle so removed from the highway or any public lands, or from private property after having been on a highway or public lands, shall not be released to the registered owner or his or her agent, except upon presentation of the registered owner's or his or her agent's currently valid driver's license to operate the vehicle and proof of current vehicle registration, or upon order of a court.)

A licensed driver could have retrieved the vehicle that night from the tow company. Make sure the officer did not use CVC 14602.6 (driving on a revoked or suspended license), a 30 day impound.

Most 12500a citations carry a fine of about $150.00. The Judge could make it an infraction if he sees fit. If it were me, I would get the CDL valid and fight the citation. The Judge may reduce the fine. Call the Captain of the agency that towed the vehicle and explain that the husband could have driven instead of having your car towed away. After all, the CDL was only 1 1/2 months expired.

There almost never is jail time on a 12500a citation, unless it is the 4th time, etc. As far as legal help, you were in violation of 12500a, it's too bad the police officer hammered you with the maximum punish that he could have, instead of just telling your wife that her license was expired and get it taken care of, then let the husband drive off, after all, you said you were both sober.

Our 20-year old son was arrested for a DUI and evading arrest by slowing down, speeding up and then finally stopping when he came to his senses. He said the CHP officer only gave him an eye test and did not follow through with a breathelizer or taking him to the hospital for a blood test. He said he didn't refuse either. Our friend who is an ex-cop said that this charge should be dropped since they don't have any real proof that he was a DUI. Is this true?

Also, the reason our son was afraid to stop was that if he got one more ticket, he would have his license suspended. Since he sped away, they charged him with felony evasion and the maximum bail of $10,000. Our friend said that we should talk to the DA and ask that if the DUI is dropped, our son would plead to a misdemeanor evasion paying the fine and penalties that go along with that. He said if he is convicted of a felony that this would be on his record for the rest of his life and bar him from working for the government and some other types of jobs. Will the DA talk to us or should we hire a lawyer?

What county is your son in?
What Vehicle Code section is stated on the citation?

The inquirer responded:
Thank you for responding. It is in ----- County, California. We also found out that there wasn't a DUI involved, but he is charged with breaking VC 2800.2(A). The other infractions are driving with a suspended license, no insurance, speeding in a residential area, and reckless driving since he ran several stop signs before stopping on his own. The CHP has impounded his car for 30-days and wouldn't release it even if he sold it to us because he has 7-points against his driving record already.

We have been given advice from several difference sources about whether we should hire a lawyer now, wait and have him get his own public defender, or to try and talk to the DA before his court date ourselves. A lawyer said we shouldn't and our ex-cop friend said we should so what is your advice?

Here is a response from a very experienced police officer. I think the word "doubt" in this indicates that your son needs an attorney. Whether he wants to spend the money for a private attorney or plead poverty and depend on the overworked public defender is his choice to make. I believe the D.A. would have no reason to negotiate with him, as his record is so poor. More from me after you read the following.

"CVC 2800.2a is the felony section for evading with a disregard for life or property. Speeding in a residential zone and running stop signs is just that. I doubt he will get prison time. Driving on a suspended CDL (if notice has been given) is a 30 day impound, and I would not give the car back either. The only other way to get the car back prior to 30 days is to get a court order signed by a Judge. 7 points is not good. We have a driving problem. That's probably why his CDL was suspended in the first place. When a Judge suspends your CDL and you drive anyways.....They (Judges) do not like that at all, no sirree Bob!!! Then to drive like that without insurance....not good!!!

If I were the Judge, I would order the driver to traffic school and then tell him I wanted a 15 page type report on the importance of safe driving. Not to mention the fines that would apply."

This is Bob again -- this is just me speaking to you as one parent to another. Your son is 20 but he is exhibiting incredible immaturity and remarkably poor judgment. He is in no way qualified to drive, period.

I am concerned that you are enabling his behavior. Your statement that "he came to his senses" says that you think that the bad he does is the abnormal behavior when his record tells us that bad behavior is normal for him. Most drivers don't get 7 points in a lifetime, let alone by age 20.

You initially explained that the reason he didn't stop was because he was "afraid" of losing his license. Subsequently you mention that his offenses included driving on a suspended license, so his license was already lost. So why didn't he stop? Because he is thinking like a criminal and attempting to flee from law enforcement.

You also indicate that you were considering buying his car in order to circumvent a 30 day suspension. Would you then have given the car back to him to drive? It was going to be released in 30 days anyway.

If the court allows him to drive at all within the next 5 years, I predict that someone will suffer because of it. If your son kills or maims someone, please do not let him blame the victim. His character and judgment are so poor that it will be years before he matures enough to be able to drive safely.

All of the above is offered with concern for you and your son, as well as those who travel the roadways with him.


Hello Bob! I wanted to know how to obtain info on Ca laws related to auto theft and felony charges. I was recently arrested! And my charges were auto theft, which is a felony. I borrowed the auto-mobile from a friend; so Im trying to figure out how to resolve this issue. The car also his company car, we have no knowledge of this. The company has went bankrupt about a month ago...so...anyways sir; please provide any info if you can. Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate greatly sir.

The way to resolve criminal charges is with a criminal defense attorney. You need to come up with a story that makes sense. Your e-mail doesn't. Try the truth -- believe it or not, that is many times the least expensive and painful way out of a situation. Let me know how it goes.

I'm 16 and had no license or insurance and got pulled over. The police gave me a breathalizer and had a alcohol level of 0.11.I took the blame for my friend who was drunk and was driving at the time. I was wondering if it is possible for him to come with me to court to switch it under his name for driving since we switched seats when we got pulled over. When i appear before court i was wondering how much the fines would be and how long would it be until i can get a license.

16, drunk, no license, no insurance and your so-called friend let's you take the fall. Excellent.

Absolutely take your friend with you. That way they'll be able to see just what a friend you are. If the system works the way it's supposed to, this is going to cost you a couple thousand dollars, you won't be able to get a license until you're at least 18, maybe 21, and if you do get a license, the insurance is going to cost a ton.

To test your "friend's" love for you, see if they are at least willing to reimburse you for the bucks you are going to pay.

Have your parents contact me. We need to talk. LOL.


My son lost his license for dwi for 10 years. He does not drive anymore or own a car. Sometimes his friend who also lost his license for 10 years who does have a car and does drive, picks him up from his house and drives him to his home. If Kevin ever gets stopped for unlicensed driving and my son is in the car (they are both 30 years old) will charges be brought again my son also for being in the car? I am concerned about this. Could you please email me on what could happen? Kevin is not drinking and driving but is driving with my son in car. Would he be an assoritory of some kind?

As long as your son isn't driving, or in any other way violating his probation/revocation, he's fine. But your son may be highly inconvenienced if his "friend" is stopped as his car will at least be towed, if not declared a public nuisance and forfeited. Never let this criminal borrow any vehicle from you.

If you would like to, anonymously, give me his name and address, we can get his situation dealt with.

Good luck to us all.

My teenage sister recently received a speeding ticket for going 51 in a 35. Her court date is scheduled for three days before her 18th birthday. Our mom is under the impression that my sister should not pay to go to traffic school because her record will be wiped clean on her 18th birthday. I don't think this is true and that my sister should go to traffic school to protect her driving record. Who is correct?

The DMV response:
It will NOT be removed from the public record just because of her birthday. In fact, by law, the department is required to take the same action(s) as it would an adult driver and to keep it on her record for the same period of time - unless mother and daughter were able to go back to the juvenile court and persuade them of the benefit of a court order to seal the record (the Department would of course comply). The point is: there is nothing "automatic" about removal and the only way removal could occur would be through a valid juvenile court order - which the court may very well not be disposed to grant ....I think sibling's point of view about the traffic school is probably the most realistic (and probably, most economical, considering costs of going to court and requesting the juvenile record be sealed).

after a traffic stop of another persons car,the issue resolved and the officer dimissed the vehicle to an authorized driver.the officer ask for my identification.i had none. placed in a cruiser fingered printed and ncic ID IWAS ARRESTED FOR OUT STANDING FINES.HIS RIGHT VS MINE TO DEMAND IDENTIFICATION WHEN THE STOP WAS FOR DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION OF THE DRIVER NOT ME.

Would you agree that the officer was correct in requesting that you show that you have a valid driver's license before releasing the vehicle to you? When you said you didn't have a license, he then had reason to check on why you didn't. What I am wondering about is, why would he bother?

Three questions:

What did you do that motivated him to go so far as to research your record?
Why did he have to fingerprint you?
Did you refuse to identify yourself?

Question -
i need help, i need a topic that has to do with driving, or driving safety
for my drivers ed class. It would help if it was interesting thank you

You don't indicate whether the presentation will be written or oral, but have you considered the following? Adjust for your state if you're not in California.

1) The increasing number of persons being convicted of DUI for driving under the influence of prescription medications.

2) If a person runs a red light during the DMV driving test, they fail the test and will not be issued a license. If a person successfully completes the DMV driving test, receives their license and the next day runs a red light, they will not lose their license but will be allowed to continue driving after paying a $270 fine. Why don't they lose their license? Or, stated another way - Why do we fine traffic violators instead of taking away their driving privilege? Not being allowed to drive for even a month would have a far greater impact on someone than paying a $270 fine. Could it be that the State depends on traffic violations for funding? Would that mean that the entity which issues driver licenses (the State) has a vested financial interest in those drivers violating the law?

3) For discussion - What is the purpose of the Vehicle Code?
Answer - To keep us from running into each other. Response - It doesn't work. In California there are almost 500,000 traffic collisions every year. Since the Vehicle Code doesn't work, what can be done to stop these collisions? Legislators would say that we simply need to increase the number of laws. This works great for creating debate within a group.

4) Similar debate format as above - What is the purpose of driver licenses? Answer - To assure that only qualified drivers are allowed on the road. Response - Licensing drivers doesn't work. Anyone who travels the road knows that there are innumerable people driving who are obviously not qualified or not able or not willing to do so safely. Why are these people not removed? Do driver licenses actually accomplish anything worthwhile?

5) There are 21 million licensed drivers in California. Each of them violates the Vehicle Code numerous times every time they drive. One challenge law enforcement faces is the necessity of stopping and identifying each driver they wish to cite. This severely limits the number of enforcement opportunities they have each day. Why not have an identifier, similar to the license plate, which tells law enforcement who is driving the vehicle at the moment? The identifier would be changed as the driver changes
(perhaps an electronic device on the back of the vehicle) and citations could be issued through the mail to the driver whose identifier was displayed at the time of the violation. Videotape of the violation would be provided if the person cited contested the citation. This would not only increase the number of enforcement opportunities but would also increase every driver's attentiveness.

6) Since California law requires that all drivers have liability insurance, why do insurance companies still offer coverage called "under-insured motorist" and "un-insured motorist?"

Let me know how you do.


Dear Bob,
I have a question for you. Is it legal for a CHP officer in a plainly marked car (black and white) to park on a private road or driveway while waiting for a speeder to pass on a connecting public road without the permission of that road/driveway's owner? Reason is, a chp officer was parked in a private drive that had a large tree on both sides of the private road (good hiding spot) and when i passed by on the public road, gave me a ticket for speeding (radar enforced).

thanks in advance

A VERY experienced traffic sergeant responds:

Yes. This has been an issue as long as I have been dealing with radar. Outside of the property owner demanding the police office leave, there is nothing to restrict a person of any profession from standing on the property. Unless of course the issue comes up of trespass, in which case the property would have to be properly posted and the property owner would have to physically ask the officer to leave.

Would we prohibit a cardiac specialist (M.D.) from standing on the edge of a roadway where joggers run every day offering to save someone's life if they happen to have a heart attack while jogging? Why is that so different from a police officer offering to remind drivers that speeding could kill someone? (Please excuse the soap box) If the person asking the question wants a true answer to the question, the only way to find out is to locate a police officer between two trees, speed past him, accept the citation and take it to court. If the basis for the defense is the location at which the officer was standing and the defendant wins, I will offer my apologies. I am not a lawyer, but I have been doing this for a while and the subject has come up before.

Dear Bob,
My car got towed and impounded for 30 days due to someone else driving it w/ a suspended license. I thought the person had a license but it turns out they lied. I don't have a license at this time and was told that I can't get the car out until the person that was driving it gets their license or 30 days whichever comes first (he's about to get it back). My car has a lien on it from my bank, and now I don't believe I am going to be able to afford to get it out.

Well turns out that I found a buyer and called the sheriff's dept to find out what paperwork the buyer and I needed to furnish them with in order to get a release for the car and they said that the car can't be released even then is that true?

I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone, I thought that if the title is transferred then the new owner can retrieve the vehicle??? Where can I go to find out exactly what is needed to get the vehicle out with or without a different owner? This is a nightmare!!! Please advise ASAP thank you!

First question a buyer should ask is, "Who will pay the impound/storage fees?" That should be negotiated in the purchase price of the vehicle. Once the new owner has purchased the vehicle they go to the DMV, get the new title showing that you are no longer the owner and they will be able to get the vehicle by simply paying whatever fees are due. You would be able to get it out if you had a valid driver's license.

Dear Bob,
I'm a visitor from China and rent a car during my trip in Califonia. The police gave me a ticket and with 2 violation

1/ Unlicensed driver
2/ drive side ofroad.

Because I'm not a English-speaker, I don't know the meaning of Unlicensed Driver.So that I explain it to you.I had a Chinese drive license and really didn't know that I could not drive in Califonia unless the policeman told me. I rent cars both in Califonia and Ohio, I showed my driving license(issued in China and validity till year 2006) when I rent the cars the gentleman of car company didn't tell me. I went to the US several times before, and saw our Italian friends and Canadian Friends how to rent car, it really so convinient in the US.

I was scared when the police stopped me and speak loudly. Please kindly let me know how can I get a license and what is the penalty. Am I will put in jail?

The second question is that, I have to leave the US on last Thursay according to my flight ticket and don't know if and when I have the oppotunity to come the US again.

Because of regulation of control of foreign currency in China, I have problem to send checks in $US to pay the penalty. Is it possible for me the pay it later. I promise I will do it, Should I can come to US.

Please kindly let me know what shall I do.

Thanks a lot in advance

I was so happy to find this web and oppotunity to contact you, it's really good system which we don't have in China.

Unless you have become a resident of California, you are allowed to drive on the license issued by your home country (California Vehicle Code Section #12502)

I am sorry that the police officer frightened you by speaking loudly. Sometimes people speak loudly when the other person doesn't understand. This is a combination of frustration and thinking that maybe the other person has a hearing impairment.

You will not go to jail.

Look on the citation, probably at the bottom, for a website address for the court. Many times you can deal with this through the website if you just want to pay the citation. You should be able to pay with a credit card. You do not have to wait for the court date on the citation to deal with it. Approximately 10 days after you received the citation, it should have been in the system and you can then deal with it through the website or in person at the court.

I hope that the rest of your trip was pleasant.

Dear Bob,
When there are double right turn lanes at the end of a freeway offramp, can both of these lanes make a right turn on a red light or can ONLY the right lane make a legal right turn on red light? (assume traffic is light and not a factor)

It is legal to turn right from either of the marked right turn lanes on a red light. Two sections almost address the question:

22100(a)(3) says - Upon a highway having an additional lane or lanes marked for a right turn by appropriate signs or markings, the driver of a vehicle may turn right from any lane designated and marked for that turning movement.

The above section says nothing about turning on a red light.

21453(b) - Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, a driver, after stopping as required by subdivision (a), facing a steady circular red signal, may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street. A driver making that turn shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to any vehicle that has approached or is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard to the driver, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that vehicle until the driver can proceed with reasonable safety.

The above section says nothing about double lane situations.

There is no section that specifically refers to a double right turn lane situation and turning on a red light. Therefore, it is not illegal to make such a turn. I have had others tell me that they have received a warning not to make such a turn, but no one has told me what Vehicle Code section would be used to issue a citation and no one has told me they were actually cited.

Dear Bob,
Does stop sign in a private property ( say in a shopping mall parking lot ) have any legal constraints?

Section (b) below is very important. The essence of the following is that the vehicle code can be enforced in a privately owned parking lot if the owner of the lot posts a sign saying so. Also remember that if a collision occurs as a result of running a stop sign, even on private property, the injured party can sue based on the other party's running of the sign.

21107.8. (a) Any city or county may, by ordinance or resolution, find and declare that there are privately owned and maintained offstreet parking facilities as described in the ordinance or resolution within the city or county that are generally held open for use of the public for purposes of vehicular parking. Upon enactment by a city or county of the ordinance or resolution, Sections 22350 (appropriate speed), 23103 (reckless driving), and 23109 (racing) and the provisions of Division 16.5 (commencing with Section 38000)(off-highway vehicles) shall apply to privately owned and maintained offstreet parking facilities, except as provided in subdivision (b).

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a), no ordinance or resolution enacted thereunder shall apply to any offstreet parking facility described therein unless the owner or operator has caused to be posted in a conspicuous place at each entrance to that offstreet parking facility a notice not less than 17 by 22 inches in size with lettering not less than one inch in height, to the effect that the offstreet parking facility is subject to public traffic regulations and control.

(c) No ordinance or resolution shall be enacted under subdivision (a) without a public hearing thereon and 10 days prior written notice to the owner and operator of the privately owned and maintained offstreet parking facility involved.

(d) Section 22507.8 may be enforced without enactment of an ordinance or resolution as required under subdivision (a) or the posting of a notice at each entrance to the offstreet parking facility as required under subdivision (b).

(e) The department shall not be required to provide patrol or enforce any provisions of this code (Vehicle code) on any privately owned and maintained offstreet parking facility subject to the provisions of this code under this section except those provisions applicable to private property other than by action under this section.

Hope this helps.

Dear Bob,
What do you do if your breaks fail?

Thank you

First thing is what NOT to do. Do not turn off the ignition. Doing so would turn off the power steering and could lock the steering wheel.

Second, consider that maybe the POWER ASSIST has failed rather than the complete brake system. In this case, it would simply require more power to apply the brakes. Try using both feet.

Otherwise, in rapid succession:

1) Take your foot off the gas

2) Pump the brakes

3) Down shift to reduce speed

4) Shift into neutral

5) If 1) through 4) are not working, SLOWLY apply the parking brake (previously, but no longer, known as the emergency brake)

6) Worst case, shift into Park. This can cause serious transmission damage at high speeds, but what can you do?

7) If on a freeway, move to the right side of the roadway so you can coast to a safe stop on the shoulder

8) If you are on a downhill and 1) through 6) aren't working quickly enough, attempt to slow the vehicle by impacting "soft" things such as bushes; they can slow you with minimal damage.

Dear Bob:
I have an eight year old little girl who has just informed me that her father wants to take her on his motorcycle. I was explaining how dangerous it is to be a passenger on a motorcycle. I then got curious as to the laws pertaining to passengers on motorcycles.

In a car, children under a certain age or weight have to be belted in a car or booster seat. But, in the most dangerous vehicle,(a motorcycle), there is no limits on anything,except they have to have a helmet.This means that my inexperienced ex-husband who has hardly ever operated a motorcycle, by law, can put my 8 year old, fifty pound little girl on his bike and there is nothing I can do except pray that she doesn't get killed.

With such safety laws when it comes to children, why can't we protect them when it comes to riding on motorcycles? What can I do to provide protection for my daughter when the law doesn't care? How many children will die from riding passenger on a motorcycle before limits will be set?

Waiting with concern,

The following response is from a California Highway Patrol officer:

Bob, she is right. I don't understand why nobody has ever attempted to pass a law requiring a certain age limit before you can ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. I never could understand why so-called "adults" would jeopardize their own children. The word buffoon comes to mind when parents do such things. I guess the only thing to do is to make sure that the child is wearing protective clothing and a helmet.

And from an Orange County Sheriff's Sergeant:

I believe CVC 27800 deals with the subject, but she is essentially correct. The only restrictions are 5 years old and able to reach the foot pegs. I have heard of parents modifying the foot pegs. You might also mention that if she has the intention of pursuing this issue,she might decide to delete the last sentence of her message. This is a statement that is considered by many in the profession to be overused, illogical, and manipulative. Many people will automatically turn a deaf ear to a request for help when that question is used. I think she has raised a valid argument for child safety.

And from Bob, personally:

The very existence of motorcycles as a means of transportation on the same roadways as huge SUVs and semi-trucks is foolishness. The fact is, in a crash, mass wins and this emphasizes the problem. The statistics regarding death and injury on motorcycles involved in traffic collisions are ridiculously high and rising. But, for a while longer yet, this is still America and each of us has the choice whether we will ride such a vehicle in such conditions. When a child is involved, it is the responsibility of the parents to protect that child. Laws are not the solution to anything, unless they are consistently and diligently enforced and since most are not, tens of thousands of people die in traffic annually in the U.S.

I believe that your last sentence is the true heart of the problem, legally speaking. Until we have a pile of dead children sufficiently high to attract the attention of the legislators, there will be no change in the law.

The presumption is that parents are adults, possessing mature attitudes and with sound judgment. When a parent puts their own child at risk, whether it be by leaving poison on a kitchen counter, having a vicious dog in the house or putting that precious bundle on the back of a motorcycle, it is obvious that the parent in question is themself still a child.

We all have some childhood trauma which haunts us throughout our life and many times contributes to a lifetime of suffering, either physically or mentally. Your sweet little girl will have hers.

You chose this person to be the father of your child. I pray with you that he will, by some miracle, not damage her permanently.

Dear Bob,
I received a DUI approximatley three years ago. This DUI is adversly affecting my ability to obtain work. Is there any way that I can have it removed?

Your question is, "Can I change the past?" The answer is "no." The DUI will be on your DMV record for 10 years. Society has decided that it wants to know when someone has a DUI conviction not only because of the driving danger inherent in such an act, but also because such a conviction tells society some important things about the character of the person arrested. Your prospective employers do not want such a person working for them. Therefore, from their point of view, the DMV record is a protection for them. Depending on the type of work you are seeking, you might be able to provide an explanation as to what specific steps you have taken to assure that you have solved the problem. For certain types of careers, it won't matter what you say because the DUI conviction speaks too loudly and those careers are now closed to you. The more time passes without a repeat offense, the less significant it will be but what you are experiencing is part of the cost of the choice you made.

There is a WebSite and a lot of e-mail chain letters about something called an International Drivers License or International Drivers Permit. Is this valid in California?

Bob Said,
I put the question to 3 separate law enforcement agencies - you know, the men and women who will decide whether to cite a driver for driving unlicensed - the following are their responses:

Response #1 -


This is a scam. Somebody is apt to lose $147.00 of their hard earned cash. A driver from a foreign country is treated much like a driver from another State in the USA. The driver license issued in their homeland is valid in California for a short period of time, as long as it is accompanied by their passport. Of course, a Nebraska resident doesn't have to carry a passport, but a resident of Bangladesh does. The Department of Motor Vehicles in California does not honor anything like an "International Driver License" except a "Diplomatic" license. I would imagine, one must be employed by the diplomatic corps of the country from which they are visiting. An international license may be valid in other States, but this offer should probably be accompanied by a set of ginzu knives too.

Response #2 -

Never heard of them or seen them before. In California, a resident MUST get a California drivers license within 30 days of residency. Therefore, if that is valid, a person residing in this state has 30 days to get a California license or they will be arrested under 12500 CVC - unlicensed driver and their vehicle will be subject to 30 day impound. Hope that helps.

Response #3 -

The basic laws apply to international licenses as they do to an out-of-state license... meaning...If you are a resident in this state you have 30 days in which to get a California license. An int'l license is only good if that driver has a license issued from his HOME country along with the int'l permit. Without it, he is driving unlicensed.

Bob adds: In Vehicle Code section 12501 it states that, other than farmers driving across a road on a tractor, etc. or a person off-roading, the only resident drivers not required to get a California license are an officer or employee of the United States, while operating a motor vehicle owned or controlled by the United States on the business of the United States, except when the motor vehicle being operated is a commercial motor vehicle...

Remember that all traffic laws, including licensing of drivers, are passed and enforced at the state level and the state is under no international obligation to accept any other jurisdiction's license except by choice. California has chosen to have the following rules regarding non-residents:

12502. (a) The following persons may operate a motor vehicle in this state without obtaining a driver's license under this code: (1) A nonresident over the age of 18 years having in his or her immediate possession a valid driver's license issued by a foreign jurisdiction of which he or she is a resident, except as provided in Section 12505. (2) A nonresident having in his or her immediate possession a valid driver's license, issued by the Diplomatic Motor Vehicle Office of the Office of Foreign Missions of the United States Department of State, for the type of motor vehicle or combination of vehicles that the person is operating. (b) Any person entitled to the exemption contained in subdivision (a), while operating, within this state, a commercial vehicle, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 15210, shall have in his or her possession a current medical certificate of a type described in subdivision (c) of Section 12804.9, which has been issued within two years of the date of operation of that vehicle. 12503. A nonresident over the age of 18 years whose home state or country does not require the licensing of drivers may operate a foreign vehicle owned by him for not to exceed 30 days without obtaining a license under this code. 12504. (a) Sections 12502 and 12503 apply to any nonresident over the age of 16 years but under the age of 18 years. The maximum period during which that nonresident may operate a motor vehicle in this state without obtaining a driver's license is limited to a period of 10 days immediately following the entry of the nonresident into this state except as provided in subdivision (b) of this section. (b) Any nonresident over the age of 16 years but under the age of 18 years who is a resident of a foreign jurisdiction which requires the licensing of drivers may continue to operate a motor vehicle in this state after 10 days from his or her date of entry into this state if he or she meets both the following: (1) He or she has a valid driver's license, issued by the foreign jurisdiction, in his or her immediate possession. (2) He or she has been issued and has in his or her immediate possession a nonresident minor's certificate, which the department issues to a nonresident minor who holds a valid driver's license issued to him or her by his or her home state or country, and who files proof of financial responsibility. (c) Whenever any of the conditions for the issuance of a nonresident minor's certificate cease to exist, the department shall cancel the certificate and require the minor to surrender it to the department.

Bottom Line? If a drunk or any other irresponsible driver has had their license suspended or revoked, there is no legal way around the fact that they are not allowed to drive - period.

Response from the DMV:

The way that the International License being "hawked" on the Internet is a scam. They certainly may be of value if you are traveling/driving Internationally, HOWEVER, if the California driving privilege is suspended or revoked you are still subject to the penalties associated with such an offense, even with an International License (California's actions are taken against the driving privilege as opposed to the document itself) - thus one with a revoked license could spend the money, obtain the International License, and still subject themself to fine, imprisonment and impoundment/forfeiture of vehicle.  Of course there may be some defenses down the road and in court which they would not have if they did not have the International License - but it would still be at risk of fine, imprisonment and loss of vehicle, to say nothing of the exorbitant costs.

Dear Bob,
Are there laws concerning how far a tire can stick out past the fender?

Law Enforcement responds:

California Vehicle Code 27600 states that thou shalt not spray mud. Therefore, mudflaps or extended fenders may be used to keep that from happening. "....and all such equipment or such body or attachments thereto shall be at least as wide as the tire tread." There are of course, limitations regarding maximum vehicle width, pilot cars, permits etc. But the non-heavy equipment type vehicle is not allowed to have the tires extending past the wheel wells or mudflaps.

Dear Bob,
A friend told me about the California Comfort Law. He said that it says a driver who is uncomfortable parking their vehicle in a single space can, to protect the vehicle from damage, occupy more than one space. Is this true?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!, wait, wait, let me catch my breath. OK, I'm all right now. Isn't it unbelievable what laws people will create to attempt to justify their selfish, self-serving acts? Do you remember the one a few years ago that supposedly said that if the driver in front of you made a complete stop at a stop sign that you didn't need to? People swore to me that it was true. There is no such law as the California Comfort Law. City ordinances provide the most specific guidance regarding this topic. Take the city of Anaheim as an example - No vehicle shall occupy more than one parking space in any parking lot within the City of Anaheim. (14.32.140 A.M.C.) Also note 14.32.170 - No vehicle shall be parked in any city owned parking lot across any line or marking of a parking space in such a way that the vehicle is not within the lines or markings.

I guarantee you that the person who whipped up this fantasy and the people who gleefully believe it drive the largest vehicles they can afford and probably in the most obnoxious manner imaginable. When existing laws don't please them, such people create the laws they want and act accordingly. Are you beginning to understand how people justify their lousy driving to themselves?

Hi Bob,
I have a question about whether DMV records are kept for persons not ever having received an ID card or driver's license anywhere in the US.
I am a Canadian who received a speeding ticket in California 2 years ago (on my Canadian driver's license), which I failed to pay. I have since returned to the US, and recently attempted to apply for an ID card at the DMV in California and, being honest, supplied my Canadian driver's license number on the application. I was refused a new ID card and given a printout stating that I had an outstanding failure to appear and failure to pay. The employee of the DMV returned my application to me with this receipt and said I can just come back and use the same application after I take care of the FTP/FTA.My question is, does the DMV now have a record of my SSN and the Canadian driver's license associated with it through my name? If my application was refused and handed back to me, and I was not issued anything, does the DMV have any right to keep information on me? They wouldn't have a driver's license or ID card number to use. The printout 'FTA/FTP INQUIRY' that I received uses a DL/ID # of this format: (number deleted for privacy of inquirer) (an X followed by 7 other numbers, which are not my SSN or anything else familiar to me).

I am going to take care of the violations promptly - but I would really like to know if the DMV can keep information from my refused application.. would be very grateful to hear your thoughts on this or any information you could point me to.

Love your site!

DMV responded:


This may sound technical and not be especially the answer your inquirer wants to hear, however, once the application is submitted, even if the application is refused, the information although it is "personal information" becomes the DMV's information - DMV is required to maintain confidentiality which is governed by the Vehicle Code. In fact, after a period of time, (Section 1807 regarding destruction of records) if there are no further applications or contacts, the information is purged (deleted from the system).

If you never drive in California and you have no offenses or accidents in California you will not have a California record. However, even if you do not have a driver license or Identification Card, if you either have an accident, violation or other driving related incident then a record will be created and kept for a reasonable period of time (this varies, for example a one point ticket might remain on a record for only three years, a failure to appear in court on that ticket for at least five years a DUI or DUI failure to appear remain for at least 7 on the public record and at least 10 on the departmental record - to a commercial driver with a lifetime disqualification for a specified second major offense in a commercial vehicle). In sum, it all depends....

If he had waited a little longer there might have been no record. As I attempted to access the number provided, I was unable to find a record. Maybe it has already been purged or combined with a California number. The fact is, if you (Or anyone) drive in California with or without a license and something happens there will be a record which is created. The severity of what occurred and the necessity for retention will determine the length of time the record is maintained.

The information which is provided the department in conjunction with an application, citation, accident, etc., becomes the department's information (even though it is about the person) and it is no longer the person's information it is only the department's information about the person....

I hope this is somewhat helpful.

Dear Bob,
Bob,My friend and I went to a draduation reception on Wednesday, June 5, 2002. He asked me if he could drive home and I said yes. Unfortunately, Police Officer pulled us over for driving over 15 mph the speed limit. The police verified his info and said that he has a suspended license. I had no idea my friend has a suspended license. The police impounded my car and said that i could get it back in 30 days. I went to the STOP Office in SF the next morning to get my car back. I explained to an officer that I had no idea that my friend's license is suspended. And if I would've known it, i would have not let him drive home. He then released my car after paying $150.00 + $273.25 of storage fee =$323.25 The police officer have me signed an agreement that this is going to be in my driving record for 7 long years. And if i let anyone drive my car or any car under my name by a person w/o valid license, they will sell my car for auction to the state. My question is why does it take 7 years to get it off my driving record? What is it for and what does it do to my diving priveleges? Was the police information right? I was not the one driving without a valid license... why am i being penalized for this? Please get back to me ASAP! I really need some explanation.... thank you Bob!

The time period is 7 years because the crime is serious. You are being punished because you broke the law. You made it possible for your "friend" to break the law - compare it to you providing a hand gun to a convicted burglar while they are on probation. Your "friend" is not a friend. Their willingness to drive your car on a suspended license and therefore put you at risk AND THEN to drive 15 miles over the speed limit confirms that none of us want this person on the road. Your "friend" should repay you for all of your expenses, but what you did is your fault and the record reflects that.

This won't affect your driving privilege but if it happens again, it will affect whether you own a car. Whenever someone asks to drive your car, always ask to see their license. DMV guidelines now require that a driver with a suspended license must return the license to the DMV during the period of suspension.

hello bob here me again,
how r u? you told me that dmv took exam in so many language but there is no my language. so can you please help me . where can i find place who can teach me dmv book because now i have to give dmv test. or the place who take test. please reply me soon im very depend on you now. help me.

What is your native language?

gujarati, but this rules might be diffecult to understand in gujarati.

The DMV responds:
Her ability to express herself in English impresses me - for a non-English speaker, English is a very difficult language to learn - thus leading to my next question, in that she seems quite able to make her self understood, my question: - How comfortable is she with the English language used in the Driver Handbook? I grant some of the questions on the test may be a little difficult for a non-English speaker, however, the test is really at a seventh/eighth grade level - if she can, it may benefit her to try and study the handbook and try the test in English - if she is unable to pass, they do have oral tests and can even make arrangements for a person to take a person to person oral test (one on one) - these are probably the best alternatives in that the DMV field offices are already set up to offer an appointment to take the oral test and arrangements can be made with a manager for a one-on-one test if that should be necessary - because this process is used by so many people it may actually go much faster for her than attempting to find something for her with her native language and/or use of an interpreter. She may just surprise herself and pass the English written test - I would say it is worth at least an attempt; however, make sure everyone understands that if the results are not favorable that there is the language concern and that an oral test or a person-to-person oral test might be the most appropriate way to proceed. After all the basic assessment is not and should not be how well someone speaks English - it is "How well do you know the driving laws and how well do you drive?" The biggest thing for her is to remain as calm as possible and not be flustered by the language....I know, easier said than done....but I think it is worth at least trying.

Hope this is of some help.

hi bob
me again
i read every thing in english and planning to give test tomorrow 07/16/02 . i hope i will pass. do you have any suggestion? or any latest paper which can help me? can you reply me soon if possible.
thank you very much.

The best advice I can give you is to follow the instructions in The BobSaid Method for Passing the DMV Written Test. A link to it is found at the top of each test on the site.

Take your time. Read each question until you understand what topic the question is about. Read all of the answers. If you absolutely have no idea what the answer is, discard any answers which are obviously wrong and then guess from the remaining answers. Answer every question.

Let me know how you do. I'm with you.


hello bob
i went for the test and can believe i passed it with two wrong.i think it is because of you. all credit goes to you. thank you very very much.

Hey!! You are AWESOME! Congratulations!!!!!!

I'm very proud of you.