California Driver Handbook - General Information
This handbook provides a summary of the laws and regulations outlined in the California Vehicle Code (CVC). The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), law enforcement, and the courts follow the full and exact language of the CVC. The CVC and DMV fees are available online at www.dmv.ca.gov. You may also buy a copy of the CVC at any DMV field office. The fees listed in the California Driver Handbook are subject to change.
This handbook is primarily for a basic Class C driver license (DL). For detailed information on other DL types and endorsements refer to the California Commercial Driver Handbook, Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook, Ambulance Drivers Handbook, California Parent-Teen Training Guide, and California Motorcycle Handbook.
The reliability, integrity, and confidentiality of all California DL/ID cards are of prime concern to all levels of government, the private sector, and general public.
It is critical that these documents be completely authenticated and accurate. California law requires that all applicants who apply for an original California DL/ID card submit proof of legal presence in the United States (U.S.) or an identity document and California residency document. Your true full name as shown on your legal presence or identity document will appear on your DL/ID card.
EXCEPTION: Effective July 1, 2016, all original DL/ID applicants will be required to submit satisfactory proof of California residency.
A California DL shows that you have been given permission by the state to drive on public roadways. You may apply for a DL at most DMV field offices (refer to this page for more information).
It is a misdemeanor to drive in California without a valid DL. If you do, you can be cited, your vehicle may be impounded, and you may have to appear in court.
If you do not have outstanding actions on your record, you will receive a DL after you pay the application fee, pass all applicable knowledge tests, show that your physical and/or mental condition is satisfactory, and demonstrate your ability to drive safely. If you have a medical condition or a disability, DMV may require you to take a driving test. You may also have to provide a statement from your physician regarding your current health condition.