WatchSonoma Watch

Judge: Californians can’t legally drive with foreign license


California residents cannot legally drive while holding just a foreign license and their cars could be subject to 30-day impounds.

That was the tentative ruling Tuesday from a Sonoma County judge in the case of a Rohnert Park man who was cited four times for driving without a California license.

Demetro Martinez’s last ticket came in May when he was pulled over in Santa Rosa for a driving infraction, according to a tentative ruling from Superior Court Judge Mark Tansil.

Martinez, who had been cited for the same offense two months earlier, was handed a fourth ticket and had his car impounded. He was challenging the legality of the impound.

At an administrative hearing five days later, a hearing officer confirmed the seizure was proper and determined early release of the car was not justified.

The hearing officer rejected an argument from Martinez’s lawyer that his Mexican license — which expires in 2015 — prevented authorities from seizing his locally registered car on grounds that he didn’t possess a license.

Martinez challenged the decision but it was upheld Tuesday by Tansil.

Tansil found the temporary seizure reasonable, but said he would consider additional information and make a final ruling Aug. 30.

“Towing a car … is authorized when a driver is stopped, arrested and cited and that person was never issued a license,” Tansil wrote. “This obviously means a California license.”

Car impounds are a hot-button issue in Sonoma County and elsewhere across the state.

Immigrant rights advocates say undocumented people are unfairly targeted at DUI checkpoints by law enforcement and penalized with impound fees that are often greater than the value of the car.

The problem is caused by the fact that illegal immigrants are not allowed to obtain licenses, advocates said.

Proponents of the seizures argue that allowing people to drive without proper credentials is a public safety risk.

Recently, some Sonoma County police agencies said they would soften impound policies for people whose only violation is driving without a license. And a bill from Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, would limit when officers can impound cars at DUI checkpoints.

Speaking from the bench Tuesday, Tansil suggested law enforcement agencies adopt a uniform approach to the issue of unlicensed drivers.

Meanwhile, Martinez’s attorneys, Alicia Roman and Montana Podva, argued that immigrants with foreign licenses should get consideration because they have received behind-the-wheel training.

Roman, who has been outspoken opponent of impounds occurring at checkpoints, compared people holding Mexican licenses to those with licenses from states outside California.

She said police wouldn’t impound a car from a driver just because the person had a New York license, for instance.

Mexican immigrants, on the other hand, are losing their cars, she said.

However, Tansil drew a distinction between people visiting and those who have moved to the state permanently. He said drivers are obligated to get licensed within a certain period.

If they don’t, they can have their cars impounded, he said.

“A resident of California cannot legally drive while holding just a foreign license,” he wrote. “Whether or not a resident driver had an active or expired foreign license is irrelevant in this context.”

53 Responses to “Judge: Californians can’t legally drive with foreign license”

  1. I CARE says:

    I hope you are happy with the world you are leaving for younger generations. Yes, I am a kid who cares. Yes, I think for myself and can see how cruel some of you can be to people, just because of the language they speak and a small paper booklet that dominates who they can be.

  2. Commmander Bunny says:

    Perhaps the US should patern it’s immigration enforcement policy modeled after mexicos.
    1st offence, 2 years in prison, then deportation
    2nd offence, 10 years in prison and deportation, if You live that long.

  3. Common Sense says:


    While I appreciate your point of view, I do not agree with it. At the core, I believe one needs to enforce laws in order to make them worthwhile, otherwise they’re just words on paper with little or no real meaning.
    As for all your responses to my points. While I agree that the violence in Mexico has increased, I don’t agree that our country is the sole cause just because the Cartel’s sell their drugs to American’s. Drug addiction is worldwide issue and thus, the market is worldwide. While we are their closest and easiset market to reach, we aren’t the core reason for violence in Mexico. Mexico’s history, just as ours, is unique to it’s people, government and culture. They will need to deal with their issues, just as we will need to deal with ours.
    I’ve dealt with the issue of unlicensed, illegal drivers for many years now and quite frankly, nothing I’ve experienced would indicate that a majority of those who drive illegally and who come here illegally from other countries, especially South America, would obtain a license. Businesses should be held responsible for hiring people who aren’t here legally and thus able to work legally, whether knowingly or by willfull blindness. Just as we shouldn’t tolerate people who break the law and enter the country illegally. As for legal immigrants, they are required to have a working knowledge of the English language, and while they may not speak or write it perfectly, they can speak and write it. The majority of those who cross the border illegally, do so because they cannot document their identity and most cannot read or write their own language, let alone English. So, they will not succeed at a visa application or a driver’s license application. My great grand-parents immigrated from Germany and My mother in law immigrated from Japan, and I have many close friends who have immigrated from China and South America and all of them were glad to be able to learn english and wanted to become American citizens. Many who come here for work only, don’t want to be American citizens and I don’t have a problem with that, I do have a problem with breaking our laws. One either wants to ba a citizen or not, by requiring a basic ability to read and write english and understand our culture and history, one doesn’t have to give up their own culture, but one does need to understand our laws, language and culture to be a citizen. Just as I would if I wanted to be a citizen of almost any other country, including Mexico. Maintaining cultural identity doesn’t equate to isolating oneself by culture and/or language. Those born here and who don’t read or write english, do so because they were raised by parents/family who didn’t speak or write the language. Laying the sole blame for that on our education system just isn’t accurate. Quite frankly, it also ignores our limited resources and is just another indicator that many who come here illegally can’t speak or write english and pass that on to their children. One of the reasons our system is overburdened is the fact that many schools are trying to catch students up by teaching them to read and write english, which is harder to do when no one at home does. Our schools encourage learning a second language, and it’s always a great idea to learn multiple languages, but each and every country has a native language and those that intend to reside in that country should learn it, period.
    So, while I appreciate your comments, I don’t think we would ever persuade each other based upon the discussion thus far, so we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  4. Skippy says:

    @ Rat
    America is a unique culture whose ingredients are from everywhere.
    These international/multi-cultural influences added tiles to the American mosaic, yet the whole remains superior to the sum of the parts.
    Nobody wants to delete any evidence that those immigrants passed this way and enriched our culture.
    Only liberals demand that American traditions be crushed and eliminated.(see creches, ten commandments, crosses on soldiers tombstones, etc.)
    America is the light of the world, despite the fact that 25% of us are anti-American liberals and statists.
    Even with that stain on our collective shirts, oppressed people worldwide dream of the day when they will get permission to become one of us.
    Millions of others just lie, cheat and sneak in to eat the feast and trash the dining room. All on your dime, of course.
    Come, be welcome, pitch in, learn our language and laws, stop complaining, and live the American dream.
    A little gratitude goes a long way.

  5. David says:

    Do any of you realize that the DMV is the LOWEST paid department in Ca? They take in the most money,yet they are paid the lowest AND Brown wants 15% more from them?? Sorry, I too have a license from another country(Kuwait) but I keep my Ca. license current. The DMV offers over 18 tests in different languages for a license. This must stop! English ONLY!!!

  6. River Rat says:


    I’m right there with you. If you’re in America, you’re American. No more St. Patrick’s Day, no Chinese New Year, Tet, no Cherry blossom Festival, no Roma Festival in Sebastopol, no Festa Italiana, no Norway Day Festival, No Santa Lucia, etc. This is all about people who REFUSE to assimilate!

    Foreign flag stickers on cars (yeah I’m talking about you Sweden flag on volvos!), they need to be removed NOW!

    And no more US politicians wearing Israeli flag pins. AMERICA FIRST!

    Now excuse me while I go have a Corona

  7. Graeme Wellington says:

    I know I’m beating a dead horse but I have just one more thing to say on this before it scrolls off…

    Why so much effort to influence people to not want the law enforced? Why so much pressure to overlook things that are clearly crimes? Counterfeit social security cards, counterfeit resident alien cards — they all pretty much have them. Why are you trying so hard to guilt trip us to justify crime?

    And for some reason we should just ignore the laws? We should just invalidate and devalue all the legal immigrants who did everything right?

    And this business of ginning up a tall tale about police harassing immigrants.

    Every one of these appeals to guilt are actually proof positive of a knowing and intentional effort to break the laws — a whole lot of laws and a whole lot of lies. And these are the reasons we should open the gates for you? For this kind of stuff? Think about it people. Look at their methods of influencing you and you can be sure you’re dealing with people who do not deserve entry into the United States of America.

    Actions speak louder than words. While so many concentrate on making excuses for criminal conduct and justifying bad behavior, aren’t there any advocates for the Mexican people working to get that guest worker law written and adopted?

    The issues of licenses is out the window if they are here temporarily on a guest worker visa – their Mexican driver’s license if they bother to get one is going to be good if they are here legally temporarily.

    Come on. There are doable solutions that don’t involve blatant criminality and counterfeiting. We can’t just feel guilty and let it slide because of these blatant attempts to manipulate the good and honest people.

    Enough said. This issue is total — oh you know they won’t let me use the right word – but there. That’s what this all boils down to.

  8. Dan Delgado says:

    Maybe this will put an end to it. Section 12500(a) provides, “a person may not drive a motor vehicle upon a highway,
    unless the person then holds a valid driver’s license issued under
    this code, except those persons who are expressly exempted under this
    code.” So who are those persons exempted? Section 12502(a)(1) exempts “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.” Section 12505 sets forth several factors used to determine when residency is established. Section 12505(c) grants a ten day grace period in order to obtain a license once residency is established. It would thus appear that residency is the key since the exemption only applies to a nonresident. There may be case or regulatory authority that would alter the conclusion, but it would appear from a reading of the statutes on their face that once residency is established, a California license is required.

  9. Dan Delgado says:

    I suppose that’s one interpretation. And you may be right. Without citation, however, it hard to know what weight, if any to give it. Thanks all the same.

  10. Graeme Wellington says:

    “I believe you are correct, but that doesn’t address the question I raised. What is the legal act that invalidates an otherwise valid license from another jurisdiction?”

    What invalidates it is the California law that requires you to obtain the California license upon becoming a resident. The law says how long your old license is good for directly. His old license is only valid for the specified period – in California.

    “If I move to and establish residency in Oregon and fail to to timely get an Oregon license, does that make my California license invalid?”

    In Oregon, yes. California also has reciprocal agreements with Oregon on this issue. Most states have adopted near word for word copies of the California Vehicle Code in their own vehicle code or revised statutes because of all the legal tests California laws have been put through by sea lawyers such as yourself.

    Another thing people defending illegals forget about are the numerous levels of review and the police policies on towing and they likewise don’t know the difference between a criminal offense and a storage authority in the vehicle code.

    Before an officer does a 30 day tow, a supervisor will have to approve it. Within 24-72 hours the driver can come in and have an administrative hearing at the police department and talk with the traffic supervisor and argue his side of the story. If anything was wrong with the tow or it turns out the license is valid – the guy gets his car back and doesn’t pay the tow man. I’m sure quite a few tow companies have eaten the costs of a bad tow even when the officer makes a mistake — it’s in their contract with the police.

    Of course, the illegal advocates don’t talk about all the reviews and all the chances and all the means the police already use to circumvent police arbitrarily towing cars and “profiling” illegals. And the newspaper won’t go through the details and the facts because that’s just too boring.

    The vehicle code has a laundry list of situations that allow the officer to tow the car. One of them is when they they issue a citation for driving without valid driving privileges. They can also tow a motorcycle if they cite the operator for not having a motorcycle endorsement even though they may have a valid driver license. There’s a long list of situations written into the law.

    A crime and defending it is different than a storage authority that allows an officer to tow a vehicle.

    The public and the immigrant defenders are completely ignoring the length and breadth of what actually is occurring when one of these 30 day tows occurs. The defenders want to paint a picture of jackbooted thugs hassling the poor and downtrodden for sport. It’s not true or even close to true.

    The Press Democrat won’t print the boring, mundane truth because making the police look good or writing a story about how fair and equitable the system is and how comprehensive the instant remedies are isn’t interesting enough. If there is no controversy, it must be manufactured. That’s all that’s going on here.

    This case is in court strictly as a publicity stunt. It is intentionally designed to manipulate public opinion in favor of illegals and the Press Democrat is a willing participant in this dog and pony show.

  11. Shelby says:

    Looking Forward Sonoma County and California will be over 50% Hispanic within a decade (assuming the current rate of 1% a year decline in white population and exponential increase in the Hispanic) by 2035 we will likely be 80% Hispanic. At that point they will be calling the shots and dictating policy.
    As they are bringing there culture and language with them. I recommend directing
    your efforts to learning there language and customs. This is a democracy so they will be changing the laws to suit THEM.
    If you want to see what the future of California will look like one only has to look south.

  12. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Common Sense
    “Mexico’s problems with violence and gangs is deep seeded in their culture, government and history.” Have you been watching the news lately!? The violence there is unprecedented. It is the result of their government’s losing battle to crack down on the drug cartels, whose money and guns come from us.
    “There are ways to obtain a work visa, but the majority who come here illegally can’t because they do not possess most of the even the basic skills required to obtain one, i.e communication skills discussed above.” They seem to have the skills needed to get hired by our businesses… Funny, I’m not hearing any cry from the various business organizations to stop illegals from coming in. They want the cheap labor. Why not go after the businesses? Just be ready to pay the extra cost for food.
    “Third, having a large population of people who are isolated by language, culture and customs, creates a national security risk and a local public safety risk to themselves and others.” This is the United States – a blend of all sorts of languages, cultures and customs. There are millions of legal residents who do not speak English well. Many countries have multiple languages. I think it wise to learn English, but I’m not ging to force my culture on someone else.
    “They don’t speak, read or write english and many can’t read or write their native language. They aren’t likely to obtain a license for those reasons and for financial reasons. A license means paying yearly registration and insurance premiums.” The ones I know would love to be able to get a license and insurance, especially if that meant they didn’t have to get their car’s impounded and have to paye $1,000 to get them back. The DMV prints everything in Spanish, as well as a number of other languages. We have a number of citizens born into English speaking families who’ve been failed by our education system and can’t read/write well, yet they seem to be able to get licenses.

  13. Skippy says:

    OK, let’s go for it.
    I am ready to pay whatever it takes to deport all the illegal invaders who are here for the goodies but not for the responsibilities.
    I am prepared to destroy that portion of the agricultural industry that depends on illegal invaders to turn a profit.
    I am prepared to require all public business (DMV, voting, schools) be done in English only, as only citizens are qualified, and all citizens are required to be functional in English.
    I am prepared to seal the border and employ thousands to build and enforce the wall.
    I am prepared to do battle with all those traitorous Americans who support the madness of rampant invasion, in whatever manner is most effective.
    If the Red Chinese were invading, we would defend our lands from them.
    How is the racist sewer of Mexico any different?
    All are welcome to become Americans.
    Anyone wishing to remain a Mexican should remain in Mexico.

  14. Common Sense says:

    The arguement that they are here and so we should just excuse the violation of entering the country illegally and grant them the ability to obtain a license and drive legally in the U.S., is a weak one in my opinion for many reasons.

    First, the argument assumes that most who cross into the country illegally, if given the opportunity would get a license. In my personal experience, many who come here illegally do not want to be citizens, they travel here for a limited purpose and then intend to travel back and forth across the border. They don’t speak, read or write english and many can’t read or write their native language. They aren’t likely to obtain a license for those reasons and for financial reasons. A license means paying yearly registration and insurance premiums.
    Second, this argument does dimish the laws of this country and those who followed them to obtain citizenship. It does treat them differently under the law and is inequitable to those that follow it.
    Third, having a large population of people who are isolated by language, culture and customs, creates a national security risk and a local public safety risk to themselves and others. It creates a large population that is more likely to be victimized and less likely to report it.
    We should enforce our laws and when people are discovered here illegally, they should suffer the appropriate consequences, including potential deportation. Otherwise, there is little point to the law. When those that follow it are unfairly treated compared to those that do not, it also creates anger and frustration which can be directed in the wrong way. There are ways to obtain a work visa, but the majority who come here illegally can’t because they do not possess most of the even the basic skills required to obtain one, i.e communication skills discussed above. There are so many other reasons, I could keep going, but those are some of the main reasons.
    As for the argument that America somehow owes a debt to South American Countries such as Mexico, I disagree. Neither American or Mexico can claim the other is the reason for any of their problems. We create our own issues when we don’t secure our border or enforce our laws. Mexico has no problem doing either of those. Mexico’s problems with violence and gangs is deep seeded in their culture, government and history. We should start enforcing the law as to businesses in this country, just like our other laws. No one group should be above it.

  15. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Kaitlyn – you’re still missing the point. They are here. They are driving on our streets. If they were allowed to get a drivers license w/o threat of deportation, then they would do so. And they would get insurance if that also meant they would not be deported. Our roads would be safer.
    Your comment (“if you are found to be here ILLEGALLY then the argument should stop there and you have the right to be deported end of story”) is naive. Because of conditions in Mexico, they will come here regardless. If you were able to deported them all (which you can’t) and don’t put some kind of temporary worker system in place, then you destroy any agriculture business in the USA that requires hand labor. Also most food processing plants would no longer be able to compete. Many other goods and services would become more expensive, or would be shipped off-shore.

  16. Dan Delgado says:

    I believe you are correct, but that doesn’t address the question I raised. What is the legal act that invalidates an otherwise valid license from another jurisdiction? The guy in this case did not get a CA license so the DMV never took away the old one. No doubt he was in violation of the statute requiring him to get a CA license, but that is an entirely different matter from whether his valid foreign license was somehow rendered invalid. If I move to and establish residency in Oregon and fail to to timely get an Oregon license, does that make my California license invalid?

  17. Kaitlyn Jones says:

    @ lets be reasonable…You are right to point out that if you aren’t native american then sometime your family immigrated here. I know my family did and it took 12 years in a oppressive country to get here but they did it the right way and became citizens affording us something no one can take away. It is wrong to say border jumpers should be given the same. If they are here ILLEGALLY then it is ILLEGAL a crime has been committed, and in my opinion if you are found to be here ILLEGALLY then the argument should stop there and you have the right to be deported end of story.

  18. Terry says:

    When you move here, get your CA license in the correct amount of time and register your car here. We lose $$$ when you don’t. This state can NOT afford to be losing money on illegals.
    If you can’t be legal, and apparently a lot of ‘foreigners’ can’t, Get OUT of CA and quit wasting our money on you.

  19. Graeme Wellington says:

    j.c. — go to Ukiah DMV. No lines usually and fast service. You can turn in your foreign license and walk out the same day with a temporary license. If you’ve never had a license ever, then it takes a little longer obviously so you are a little confused about the issue we’re talking about here.

    And… you don’t have to have a driver license to buy car insurance. But, of course, they still don’t buy it.

    How come the illegal defenders are willing to overlook the counterfeit resident alien cards and counterfeit social security cards and all that stuff? How far backwards are we supposed to bend over? How many laws must we disregard to avoid being racist anyway?

  20. Graeme Wellington says:

    The vehicle code language doesn’t get into licensed or unlicensed. It says driving with a valid license. If your foreign license is no longer valid because you’ve been a resident beyond 30 days, then you’re driving without a valid license and your car is subject to impound. They already thought of that trick when the vehicle code was written Dan, but at least you are thinking logically about it.

  21. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Sleepless – Funny, that wasn’t mentioned much in History class, maybe because it happened during pre-historical times… There are theories about where/when they came, but nothing definitive. Regardless, they were the first group that came here and survived. Speaking of coming here first, Mexicans were here before USA folks as well, and part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo protected the property rights of Mexican citizens living in California, which we promptly ignored. I’m sorry, but if you are going to bring up history, the USA doesn’t always look so good (purposely spreading disease among the Native Americans, overthrowing elected governments in Latin America, etc). And let’s not forget about the violence in Mexico now, caused by the drug cartels – they are in business to sell drugs to Americans, and they get their guns from us too. Apparently even the ATF is giving them guns. And then there is NAFTA, which has hurt the Mexican rural farmers. As Ricardo said – “(The crap) Must be far better than what they’re eating from the country they left, or they wouldn’t come here.” Of course people want to better themselves and escape the misery in Mexico, much of which is our fault. If you want to deal with our immigration problems with Mexico, then you need to work on the underlying issues causing it. First, we should legalize marijuana and probably cocaine as well to take the money out of the drug trade. We then need to create a way for Mexicans to work here on a legal basis, since there are many jobs here that even in this economy US citizens are unwilling to do. Either that, or you need to raise wages, but that will make our farm goods too expensive. In terms of enforcement, why are we not going after the businesses that knowingly hire illegals? In the mean time – these folks are here, and I would rather our roads were safer, thank you.

  22. FYI says:

    Dan, when you move to another state including Calif and establish residency you have 30 days to get a new DL and they TAKE your old one! Otherwise you have to apply and test just like you Never had one!
    So the judge is correct in his decision.

  23. Matthew S says:

    I teach Comedy Traffic school – to clarify the time frame for Graeme for getting a CA lisence: From the DMV website: “If you become a California resident, you must get a California driver license within 10 days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner’s property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.”
    And J.C. definably might want to brush up on her civics and current law. I don’t understand why “advocates” are always omitting & mis-quoting to make their point.
    I get questions like this in class all the time. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on anything “political” in nature. But many citizens have similar questions on this topic.

  24. Dan Delgado says:

    It would be interesting to read Tansil’s tentative ruling (if written). While California may require someone to get a Ca license within X days of residency, that doesn’t necessarily invalidate an existing license from another jurisdiction. Seems like two separate issues to me. Go ahead and fine the guy for failing to timely get a Ca license, but being unlicensedat all is another matter.

  25. Kim says:

    Right on Ricardo! Granting them a drivers license is NOT the answer. The number of illegals that would obtain insurance would be in the single diget percentage. Why spend that money of stupid insurance and deprive that money to family members in other countries?

    Think about it…they just passed and Brown signed the California Dream Act. Does anyone have any doubt that Brown would also sign legislation that would allow illegals to obtain a drivers license? Its gonna happen, wheather you like it or not! (To quote Lt Governor Newsome)

  26. Sleepless on Stony Point says:

    Let’s be reasonable: Where were you during history class? “Native” Americans came from elsewhere too…

  27. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Lets be Reasonable – “Unless you are a Native American, everyone posting here came from somewhere else. Now that you’ve got yours, let the rest eat crap.”

    I think the distinction here should be all the people who came here legally, vs. the people who come here illegally. So maybe it’s the ones here illegally should be, in your words, ‘eating crap.’ Must be far better than what they’re eating from the country they left, or they wouldn’t come here. Seems that giving people here illegally a drivers license is just another slap in the face to those that go through the process legally.

    And just what statistic shows that people here illegally, if given a drivers license, would in fact carry auto insurance? If they can’t (or more like ‘don’t’) pay for their children’s school lunches, medical and dental insurance, for example, what makes you think they’ll spend money on auto insurance?

  28. j.c says:

    Graeme Wellington
    July 28, 2011 at 9:56 am

    j.c. is leaving out the part of the vehicle code that gives you 30 days upon becoming a resident to obtain a California license.

    have you ever been to the DMV? can you honestly tell me that you can apply and get a driver’s license in thirty days? you can’t even get a test for 2 months sir,


  29. seen it all says:

    “Recently, some Sonoma County police agencies said they would soften impound policies for people whose only violation is driving without a license. And a bill from Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, would limit when officers can impound cars at DUI checkpoints.”

    MIchael Allen is a lawbreaker so I guess this is what we can expect from him.
    Kudos to those who enforce the laws.

  30. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Steve – sorry to break your bubble, but I don’t agree. I personnally would rather illegals be able to get a drivers license and get insurance. They are here. we can debate the whys and hows, but they are here in large numbers. That’s a fact. I would rather they take a drivers test and have insurance, so that our roads are safer. If that were the case, then those without a license and caught can get their cars impounded and be deported. The way it is now, you have a bunch of folks on the road who may be dangerous and if they cause an accident, the other guy pays. Unless you are a Native American, everyone posting here came from somewhere else. Now that you’ve got yours, let the rest eat crap.

  31. STEVE HUMPHREY says:

    It’s nice to hear the general consensus on this board. Now if only our legislature would listen as well.

  32. John Cheney says:

    John Cheney
    This illegal has been stopped four times without arrest, Then he show up in court and his status as a illegal must be know to courts and he has not been arrested and deported ENFORCE THE LAW.

  33. DeeDee says:

    Where do I sign up? I want to enjoy the enhanced rights illegal aliens too.

  34. LEVI says:

    Isnt there a law against illegally entering the country?

  35. srk says:

    This is such a no brainer. If you are visiting from Canada or Mexico driving with your nation’s license plates, driver license and insurance, no problem. Same if you came here to visit and rented a car. But if you actually live here and are driving a car licensed in Oregon (or some other country) you are breaking the law. Same applies to driver licenses.
    Now if the DMV wanted to get tough they would make sure every trailer parked or pulled through California with Oregon license plates was owned by a resident of Oregon.
    Want a balanced budget? Do a survey of permit trailers in Palm Springs. If they have been parked for over 6 months they should have California plates.

  36. Kaitlyn Jones says:

    Oh God Just because you are here illegally doesn’t mean our laws don’t apply to you!!! It means you shouldn’t be entitled to the benefits of being a citizen ie: social services, drivers licence, land ownership, ect. If you don’t agree then go look up the word ILLEGAL.

  37. Graeme Wellington says:

    j.c. is leaving out the part of the vehicle code that gives you 30 days upon becoming a resident to obtain a California license. The judge’s ruling is absolutely correct on the vehicle code. Your out of state or valid foreign driver’s license is not valid indefinitely if you become a resident of California. Just as the judge stated, the rules are different if you are visiting. The judge didn’t get a thing wrong. I mean really… is the judge going to declare California’s Vehicle Code unconstitutional? What did this guy expect? This “case” is total and complete grandstanding and a clear political stunt to get the “issue” in the media. Nothing more.

    The illegals can get a counterfeit social security card and a counterfeit resident alien card but they can’t get a proper counterfeit international driver’s license? What are the coyotes thinking?

    This whole issue is completely absurd. This is the United States of America. No counterfeits accepted.

  38. Joseph Donegan says:

    JC like your sound bite, you ommitted most of the relevant code, thus are misleading the readers.
    There is no such thing as dual residency in this country as defined in the forteenth admendment.
    The issue is he is trying to go around our laws, it would be like me using my Arizona license to drive in California, while residing as a resident here in California. It just does not fly in the face of logic.
    Another judge put it this way,
    “There are occasions in the course of judicial decisionmaking when it becomes necessary to stand athwart the relentless march of logic and shout, “Enough already!!”” Fluharty v. Fluharty (1997) 59 Cal. App. 4th 484 [69 Cal.Rptr.2d 244]

  39. Jeanne says:

    J.C. If you look at the law you are quoting it states “Non-Resident” the guy moved here permanently which makes him a resident, therefore he must get a California Drivers License.

    Lets Be Resonable as long as they are still a resident of Oregon, no they will not get their car towed, they are here a student and can keep their Oregon license because they are still a resident of Oregon.

  40. Ian D says:

    We have public transportation. Need to get from A to B? There ya go.

  41. truth in news says:

    Why don’t we make it a felony to sell a car to anyone who doesn’t have a valid drivers’ license? We should also CRUSH any vehicle taken from an illegal alien, just to pay for the bus ticket to send them back to their respective countries. It is way past time to start pushing back this invading army draining our social resources.

  42. Holly says:

    Commen Sense – I understand your point about unlicensed drivers should be required to have a valid CA drivers license before purchasing car insurance. I mainly wanted to highlight the problem of being involved in an accident with an uninsured, unlicensed drivers. I know of several people who have confronted that headache. The fact that there are so many uninsured is a hazard. An additional question I have is when a person who is unlicensed is cited, or involved in an accident, how is their driving record tracked if they have no license on file? CA licensed drivers have their driving history recorded. When one cannot provide an acceptable DL, who keeps track of their driving history?

  43. Common Sense says:

    I really don’t understand the logic of some of these advocates, as they seem to be pushing the theory that those here illegally should be in a better position within the law then those who are citizens. If I move to another state, as I’ve done a few times, in each state there is generally a grace period for me to obtain that state’s license (as a student, I was able to retain my license from my home state as long as I continued to “reside” there, using it as my home address and didn’t “reside” in the state in which I was attending school, i.e went home when classes were out). Each states laws are generally easy to read and understand on this subject (assuming one reads english), so there is really no excuse. As a licensed driver, I’m required to know these laws to obtain and keep my license, but those here illegally, aren’t required to know these things and are somehow due a special pass from these laws. There are plenty of citizens who have their cars impounded for traffic violations, myself included once in SF for a parking violation, and who are forced to pay to get their vehicles back. They also need their vehicles to support their families, but no one excuses them. This is unequal treatment under our laws quite frankly and shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone or adovated by anyone and the fact that it is, quite frankly, is shameful.
    Also, there is a public safety issue for those here illegally, and who don’t read or write english in regards to obtaining driver’s licenses. If they are unable to know and understand our language, our laws and our road signs then they are a public safety risk. And the poster who indicated they can obtain insurance, if that’s true it’s alarming and should be changed. If you can’t legally obtain a license, you shouldn’t be able to obtain insurance or buy a car legally.

  44. j.c says:

    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…

    this judge should be ashamed of himself and fired, ALSO everyone knows that it takes way more than a month to get a CA drivers’ license because the hippos at the DMV are SLOW AND LAZY not to mention the horrible service. Shame on you judge for not taking the time to read the California vehicle code….

  45. Fiscal Conservative says:

    Lets hope a Federal judge see’s this logic and requires legal documentation to register to vote.

    Superior Court Judge Mark Tansil.This gentleman knows and understands our laws.
    Well done Sir!

  46. Graeme Wellington says:

    Even an illegal immigrant can obtain an international license in Mexico and it would be good for up to six months – the length of a legal tourist visa.

    But look this guy apparently has an identity, some resources to hire a lawyer — what about the thousands of illegals who give false names or different versions of their “real” name every time they are stopped?

    The law must apply to everyone equally all the time or it applies to no one. It is not racist simply because illegal immigrants from Mexico are the ones violating the law with such regularity.

    Another issue where I agree with Hudson. What is the world coming to!?

  47. Holly says:

    If my understanding is correct, even an unlicensed driver can insure a vehicle. For me, the bigger problem is that many who are unable to obtain a license due to being here illegally, also do not insure their vehicles. This is not fun to deal with if you are in a fender bender with them. Aside from the licensing issue, I think people in general would feel better if all drivers carried car insurance, CA drivers licensed or not. How about someone advocating on behalf of the rights of all insured drivers?

  48. Observer says:

    No, you can’t.

  49. Joseph Donegan says:

    Finally, a voice of reason.

  50. Lets be Reasonable says:

    So, if a student from Oregon comes to a school in California, but wants to retain their Oregon residency and keeps their Oregon License, they can get their car impounded…!?

  51. Kirstin says:

    Judge Tansil was absolutely right when he “drew a distinction between people visiting and those who have moved to the state permanently” and when he “said drivers are obligated to get licensed within a certain period.”

    Tourists/short-term visitors may use the licenses of their home countries (or other states) but that if someone moves here, they must obtain a California license to continue to drive legally here. And it is also perfectly correct and established under the law that Calfornia driver’s licenses be denied to those who are here illegally. People who do not abide by our laws therefore risk the consequences — such as impoundment of vehicles.

  52. GAJ says:

    This is rich!

    From the story:

    “The problem is caused by the fact that illegal immigrants are not allowed to obtain licenses, advocates said.”

    So if I’m in Mexico illegally can I get a Mexican driver’s license?

  53. John Hudson says:

    Illegal aliens think that they can come into our country, violate our laws, and nothing will happen. Why should they think that anything will happen when they can sneak in, go to a public university paying in-state tuition, and then get financial aid? Hooray for Judge Tansil on this one!