car accident without license

Driving without a license can have serious consequences in California, especially after a car accident. What happens next depends on the details of the crash, your driving history, how you negotiate with the insurance company, and whether your lawyer has the right kind of expertise.

Don’t give up hope! You can still pursue a claim for accident compensation whether you’re a licensed driver or not.

Of course, the insurance company will argue that if you were unlicensed, you were uninsurable. This complicates your claim and brings California’s Proposition 213 into the discussion, which we’ll explain in more detail below.

Penalties for Driving Without a License

First, you’re probably wondering whether driving without a license is a crime. Yes, it can be. The police can cite you with a $250 ticket for driving without a license or they can pursue it as a prosecutable misdemeanor offense

The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor traffic offense in the state of California is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. That could significantly shake up your life and impact your family, job, and ability to move forward from the crash.

If you have previous offenses, you’re even more likely to face legal penalties that escalate in terms of fines and potential jail time. For example, if you’re a habitual traffic offender who lost your license in the past, the courts will probably come down harder on you now.

Plus, if you hurt someone or damaged their vehicle, that person might use your failure to have a license as additional evidence against you in a civil action. This could set off a legal battle where you’ll need excellent representation from a California car accident lawyer who handles cases involving unlicensed drivers.

Does Not Having a License Impact My Settlement?

Now let’s look at what happens when you’re pursuing an accident settlement as compensation for your losses. You might be wondering whether your lack of license matters. 

Yes, not having a license impacts a potential settlement award, even if you’re not at fault for the accident. Look at it this way: The insurance company is a for-profit business that’s always looking to minimize its payouts. 

When calculating an offer, they’ll seize any opportunity to lower the dollar amount. They’ll look at your lack of a driver’s license, view you as uninsurable, and say you deserve less money because you weren’t a licensed driver. 

Unfortunately, the law may be on their side if they can prove you were uninsurable due to being unlicensed. Under California Proposition 213, an uninsured driver is eligible only for reimbursement of their economic damages, like lost wages and medical bills, and is barred from receiving money for pain, suffering, disfigurement, or disability. This lowers your potential settlement substantially.

But it’s not the end of the story! A talented traffic accident lawyer knows the games insurance companies play and can help you seek the maximum compensation possible for your medical costs. We may also be able to negotiate with your medical providers to lower or eliminate your outstanding medical bills.

You Still Have Rights After a Car Accident!

Driving without a license is the wrong thing to do, but it doesn’t take away your rights after an accident. You still have the right to pursue compensation from someone who hurt you. And you still have the right to a good lawyer!

At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have compassion for people who have been injured in traffic accidents. Contact us for a free consultation about your accident and don’t let your lack of a license stop you from claiming the compensation you deserve.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including accidents involving unlicensed drivers. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details. 

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.

Accident Client

If you’re looking for a trustworthy, dedicated personal injury law firm, look no further. Annie and her team from Sally Morin Law were literally the best thing to happen to me in one of my worst and unexpected hardships. After being struck by a vehicle while in the crosswalk, I had injuries that took some of my favorite activities away from me for awhile. The injuries I suffered, countless doctor visits, and work issues nearly drove me crazy. Looking into personal injury lawyers, no one had better reviews than Sally Morin Law. NOW I understand why, from the beginning to the end, I truly loved working with Annie. Annie expressed nothing but honest care and concern for me and my situation. She stood up for me, & worked extremely hard for me. Annie told me not to worry about anything but my recovery and she meant it! Annie and her team took care of EVERYTHING. She kept me updated on what was going on with my case, and answered any questions and concerns I had. Aside from the case, Annie, Carmen and everyone else at Sally Morin Law truly care about you. Which is very hard to find out there! I was afraid at first of who I would work with on my case, but they went above and beyond! Annie will truly go to bat for you! At the end of my case, I was very happy with my settlement, even more than I expected to receive thanks to Annie’s hard work! If you’re in need of a personal injury lawyer, DO NOT look any further! Annie and her team at Sally Morin are the best out there! They make you feel like close friends and I really wish I could give them 6 stars! Thank you again Annie & the Sally Morin Team!

We're here to help with your Personal Injury claim

Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of traffic injury claims. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a
free online case evaluation.


It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible